GALLERY + VIDEO: Crowds flock to windsurfing regatta in Worthington – The Globe

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WORTHINGTON – The 2022 Worthington Windsurfing Regatta and Music Festival enjoyed an absolutely glorious weather day on Friday, with no wind, but the waves came in just in time for the race on Saturday – in addition to a few spotty rain showers and sweltering humidity – proving that Sailboard Beach was still the place to be.

On Saturday morning, windsurfers skidded across the lake, propelled by the wind and waves, and around noon a drizzle set in, forcing some of the early festival-goers to take shelter in the beer tent.

Eventually, however, the rain stopped and the beach started to fill up with people for music, food and the show too. Children were playing on the shore under the watchful eyes of their parents, and apparently everyone had a pile of ribs, a cold drink or a funnel cake.

And the windsurfers came back in the waves.

One of them was Jeff Adamski of Otsego, who has been windsurfing since 1983 and teaching people how to do it since 2000.

“I can teach anyone to windsurf in an hour,” he said.

During the regatta, he offered lessons for free in hopes of bringing people to the event and getting them involved in the sport. He taught children as young as 5 to windsurf independently, and his oldest student is around 75, although he knows people who windsurf into 80 years old.

For his learners, he uses a set of wide boards, which are a bit more stable than the narrower boards experienced windsurfers may favor. Which sail to use depends on the individual, to some extent – there are smaller ones designed for children, and windsurfers need to be strong enough to lift the sail out of the water without difficulty.

Jeff Adamski teaches a girl how to windsurf during the 2022 Worthington Windsurfing Regatta and Music Festival on Lake Okabena.

Tim Middagh / The Globe

Normally, his windsurfing lessons last about three hours, but during the regatta, Adamski tries to master the basics in an hour. At one time there was a land-based windsurfing simulator, but Adamski thinks it’s easier to teach people in real water.

“I put them on the board right away,” he said.

He teaches the students how to get on the board, then shows them how to get the sail up or out of the water. Then, before they go out for a run alone, he shows them how to turn left and right.

This helps students learn in a lake, as the water is much flatter, and while experienced windsurfers likely prefer the windier conditions on Saturday morning to calmer breezes later in the day, Adamski said he was best learned when the wind is only about 5-10 miles per hour. By the end of the lesson, however, his students want to fly over the waves as fast as they can.

Students should be prepared to get wet, as most people learning to windsurf fall into it at one point or another.

The lessons from the regatta are “mainly meant to give people a feel”, said Adamski, who has been attending the regatta since it started.

To go windsurfing, a person only needs a board, a sail, a mast and a boom – the part you hold to steer. Boards and sails come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and while there is plenty of used equipment out there, buying just one new set can cost around $2,000.

“People think you have to be athletic for (windsurfing), and you’re not,” Adamski said. “It’s a lot more finesse than strength. The wind does the work; all you do is hold on.

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