Once a windsurfer has found their footing and has mastered the basics of standing up and cruising along the water, their abilities can morph into a variety of different styles. Many windsurfers find that their individual style goes hand in hand with their favorite locale, as some sound or ocean beaches may be more conducive to one style of windsurfing than another may be. But, no matter where a windsurfer sails, there are plenty of ways to stay entertained in the water.
The most basic style of windsurfing is the free ride. When a beginner first sets his board into the water, the sailor is automatically a free rider, enjoying the easy going fun of cruising across the Pamlico or Albemarle Sounds in a light summer breeze. Not for the competitive, free riders just love being out in the water.
As a beginner hones their skills and advances, the sailor may favor a racing style. This style is classified as challenging and rigorous, but also very social, as windsurfers test their abilities against fellow sailors. At this level, some windsurfers may decide to pursue competitions, while others might just enjoy competing with other skilled windsurfers in their region. There are numerous windsurfing regattas held each year for all classes of windsurfers, so new sailors can meet and greet their fellow windsurfing enthusiasts.
One of the newest forms of windsurfing is freestyle, which can be described as graceful and explosive, but very technical. Freestyle windsurfers are known for pushing the limits of what can be done on a sailboard and have spent recent years introducing a complicated array of tricks on the sound waters, or more frequently, in the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Freestyle windsurfers are happiest in the air, sliding across the water or pirouetting on the board, making it a fascinating form of windsurfing to watch.
Wave sailing requires windsurfers who like powerful and artistic rides and who love the complicated and ever-changing terrain of ocean conditions. The balance of negotiating waves while sailing offers these riders an extra boost of excitement and produces some of windsurfing's most impressive sights. However, beginners take note - it is a good idea to tackle calmer waters and progress to the intermediate or even advanced level before attempting ocean rides.