I’ve tested a lot of windsurfing gear (a lot of watersports kit in general). But when it comes to teaching your kids how to windsurf and getting them afloat there are a few things you need to consider (age dependant). Hard windsurfing boards are all well and good but for younger riders, hard boards of any kind can be unkind to skin, limbs and bodies.
Kids tend to throw themselves about quite a bit. Often overexaggerating the falling process. They won’t think twice about slamming themselves into something hard. But later, back at home, those bruises will certainly start to show. From this point of view alone an inflatable board (of any kind) is going to be less harsh – to kids and adults alike.
Inflatable windsurf/windSUP boards.
There are plenty of inflatable windsurfing and windSUP boards on the market. All do an admirable job of getting riders up and sailing in mellow conditions. They’re not really designed for ripping and shredding. That’s not the point. What you do need from any kind of beginner/improver windsurfing board is the ability to track upwind efficiently. And a lot of air windsurf boards don’t do this so well.
McConks 9’8″ Go Free Wind | crossover wingsurf/windsurf board | With UJ / sail mount
McConks’ windsurf ready Go Free 9’8 bucks this trend. The inclusion of the hard release rubber edge affixed to the board’s rear underside helps with grip and driving the board on close hauled points of sail. And that’s even with small fins attached. Smaller fins mean shallower water can be said, which is much more confidence building than being in the deep.
The McConks Go Free 9’8.
Tracking back and forth across the wind the Go Free 9’8 keeps position and reacts to sail sheeting angles and pressure. In a bona fide windsurfing way. This authentic feel is exactly how kids and adult beginner windsurfers will develop windsurfing muscle memory and the skills to progress.
For my youngest (2yrs at the time of learning) pairing the Go Free 9’8 with the XS inflatable Go Sail sail is gold. The combo works extremely well for little riders. But the kit still delivers proper windsurfing performance. Which is key for efficient progression – even with such littlies.
When it comes to moves and maneuvres the Go Free is a reactive and nimble platform. It’s more than possible for some whirly twirly light wind windsurfing freestyle. The board’s stability ensures as stable a ride as possible whilst moving proactively around the deck. It’s a good one developing deft footwork – which is another essential ingredient for stomping windsurf moves. Including more advanced tricks that could become a focus later down the line.
Go Free versatility.
One super nice trait of the McConks Go Free 9’8 is its paddling versatility. The board in SUP mode is a nimble and fun platform for chucking about. It’s a nice SUP for some wave riding shenanigans as well as general recreational messing about. Even with its short length, there’s a lot of reason to own a board like this as an intermediate SUPer. It’ll elevate your paddle fun no end.
You can also wing (if that’s your cuppa) atop the Go Free 9’8. That hard release rubber edge coming into play once again. It helps keep the board upwind and gives the rider time and space to develop their wing skills. This is essential if looking to progress into the world of wing foiling.
All in the McConks Go Free 9’8 is one of the most fun (truly) all round boards of this type I and my family have used. If you’re looking to maximise your water time every which way this summer then you’d do a lot worse.
For more windy related articles hit up the McConks guide here.