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TOPIC: Lessons near the chicagoland area

Lessons near the chicagoland area 9 months 1 week ago #1

  • Michael
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Hey All!

I was looking for some recommendations for lessons. I have never windsurfed before and over the winter my uncle gave me his old O'Brien Sensation. Before I jump on it by myself I figured some lessons would be a good place to start. I am a snowboarder so not sure if that helps with any skills. Anyways if anyone has recommendations of people who give lessons preferably early in the season. I saw that the Northwestern Sailing club doesn't start lessons until June and i was hoping to get out there sometime this month (April).

Lessons near the chicagoland area 9 months 1 week ago #2

call bob bechstein (evanston area) 847-477-3578. he is a well known local instructor, with like 20years experience.
fyi-lake michigan water is still very cold (low 40's) , so your wetsuit is a real priority. I was in the water yesterday with my 6mm suit and was not overheated. Local lakes are a bit warmer though.

Lessons near the chicagoland area 9 months 1 week ago #3

  • Mike
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Call Bob.

Lessons near the chicagoland area 9 months 1 week ago #4

  • Ady
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Welcome to Windsurf Illinois! I like your enthusiasm and in order to not cool it down quickly Ill second Alan in advising you on a purchase of a wetsuit AND booties. Most of us have a couple of wetsuits and booties of different thickness for colder and warmer temperatures and also different accessories like hoods, mitts and vests.
PS: There are not too many beginner-friendly spots around Chicago, but I can recommend you Lake Andrea in Kenosha, WI if you live north or Wolf Lake in Hammond, IN if you live south of the city. Windsurfing is allowed on both lakes year around and there are free parking lots close to the water. The lakes are small enough to stay relatively flat even in stronger winds and the near shore is sandy and shallow all around so you can walk your gear to the parking lot easily in case you can't sail back. If you want to progress quicker you need all the time on the water TOW you can get with or without instructor while searching for and reading all the info and watching all the videos you can get on the web.
Also don't be shy to ask questions and share your experience here, active members are in demand since we have a bunch of silent ones already .

Lessons near the chicagoland area 9 months 1 week ago #5

  • steve
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Greetings All

I thought I might offer a real world experience regarding contacting Bob for lessons. Based on what I read on this forum I contacted him and tried to get set up for some lessons and he said I need to go to the Gorge for lessons. I countered that northern Illinois is a little closer than the Gorge (200m vs 2000m) but he insisted that I pursue lessons elsewhere. I hope you have better luck than I did with him. Surely the forum has the resources to refer someone else to beginners as "Bob" is a waste of time and not a great promoter of the sport.

Steve

Lessons near the chicagoland area 9 months 1 week ago #6

  • Gregory
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Michael wrote:
I was looking for some recommendations for lessons.

So, this is not in Chicago, nor it is The Gorge but rather in Fond du Lac, WIsconsin, where there is a great place to learn windsurf: WindPower. This is a windsurf and kitsurf shop that has been in operation for ever. They have tones of equipment they can teach on so you wouldn't have to carry all your gear initially. Ben, is an accomplished windsurfer and kitesurfer and teaches the sports to many in the area. They've been teaching for a long time and they know how to best get you going in no time! You would be learning in the shallows of Lac Winnebago were the water gets warm pretty quickly in the season and at least a lot faster than on lac Michigan. You'll still need a wetsuit if you plan to learn in April but it will be more tolerable than on the Great Lakes. You should give them a call and maybe during an extended weekend, you could squeeze 3 or 4 days of learning if the weather cooperates. From Chicago it's about 2:45h north. WindPower is a great option for professional windsurfing lessons in the area. ...and I'm not being paid for this outstanding commercial!
Seriously, check them out. They will make you love the sport!
www.windpowerwindsurfing.com/lessons

Lessons near the chicagoland area 9 months 1 week ago #7

  • Gregory
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Woohoo! I posted one hundred times! ...this deserved its own post. Ha!

Lessons near the chicagoland area 9 months 1 week ago #8

  • Ady
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Great tip from Gregory! Lake Winnebago looks like a nice place to learn windsurfing indeed. I just want to add the option of self coaching, without any intention of trashing the professional help, I'm sure there is a lot of merit in it. A lot of windsurfers /including me/ have learned the sport on their own and we turned out mostly OK I think. I mean in this day and age it's quite easy to do it on your own. There is a huge amount of information-articles and videos on the web, a great cheap application for smart phones called "Windsurfing Tricktionary " and of course this forum ;) so all one may needs is : educating themselves, asking questions, having a big board and a small rig /anything works, but one of those 10' inflatable Windsups and the rigs they sell for them will be awesome/ and a nice, safe, unintimidating body of water-like a small lake. I personally got amazed at the speed of progress a guy who I became a friend with made a few years ago on Lake Andrea with an 80s equipment in a bad shape /200$ garage sale/. Before I met him, he has been close to giving up after having been beaten up badly in the Montrose shore break , but after a colleague introduced us and I told him abot Lake Andrea and Wolf and gave him a few pointers he took off and made an incredible progress on his own.
Also I personally like to learn at my own pace /a classic case of undiagnosed ADD I guess/ and probably a professional coaching will be a waste of time for me because Ill be too distracted and overwhelmed to be able to keep anything from the lesson.
In the picture below: one of my first short boarding sessions on Lake Andrea, April 2011 /if you can call Bic Core 160D a short board/
IMG_0159.jpg



And this is the 80s Tiga I first learned to windsurf on /without a harness/

IMG_0172.jpg

Lessons near the chicagoland area 9 months 1 week ago #9

  • Mike
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I agree with Ady. And some skills require you develop new muscle/balance before you can succeed. You get out what you put in. Ady is one of the best sailors here because he practices skills all the time.

That said, if you can't find anyone else in Chicago to teach the very basic stuff, then I will gladly teach you those fundamentals (at Andrea or Wolf lake). It will enable you to get practicing on your own time. You should avoid lake michigan on most windy days until you can sail the board away and return to shore without issue. Message me here if interested.

Lessons near the chicagoland area 9 months 1 week ago #10

  • Ady
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Mike wrote:
I agree with Ady. And some skills require you develop new muscle/balance before you can succeed. You get out what you put in. Ady is one of the best sailors here because he practices skills all the time.

That said, if you can't find anyone else in Chicago to teach the very basic stuff, then I will gladly teach you those fundamentals (at Andrea or Wolf lake). It will enable you to get practicing on your own time. You should avoid lake michigan on most windy days until you can sail the board away and return to shore without issue. Message me here if interested.
:blush: :blush: appreciate the compliment, but I pride myself on crashing the most. Im the master of crashing and nobody can challenge me on that :P

IMG_0371.jpg

Lessons near the chicagoland area 8 months 3 weeks ago #11

  • Robert
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Micheal and Steve,
I normally sail at greenwood beach in Evanston.Being that it is an intermediate windsurfing location it does not give a beginner the correct conditions.
I highly recommend the northwestern sailing clubs program. One weekend of instruction and one month of gear usage at the NU boat house.This will allow you to understand sailing and rigging. Modern gear is key to learning quickly.Nu also has power boat rescue for when you are in over your head.Once this course is completed an assessment can be made on what modern windsurfing gear should be purchased.! Then decide if you want to invest in a board ,saIL roof rack,wet suit,stoarge garage.
Best place to learn? Silver lake,wolf lake,lake andrea,lake Geneva,Corpus Christi,Cape Hatteras.
Boards with center boards and 100cm+ width will give you the platform to learn you tacks and jibes 4.0m for women,6.0 for men.
I`m glad you guys are stoked about this sport,take lessons and practice!!!! I`m trying to keep this sport alive !!!!
Cheers,
Bob
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