One of the great things about windsurfing is you never stop learning. The windsurf learning curve can be a lifetime adventure or a fun morning.
The basics can be cracked in a few hours so you can be enjoying windsurfing very quickly, if you go about it the right way.
The best way to start is to get some windsurfing lessons from an RYA Windsurfing Centre. A proper accredited windsurf school will have the right equipment, a good location for learning and a qualified instructor with access to learning aids, such as a windsurf simulator. Put these together and in a couple of hours you will be up windsurfing and turning around. You may not have that much control in such a short time period but you will be windsurfing. Add another few hours and some basic control will come and you confidence will grow.
The RYA recommend the Start Windsurf course which is 8 hours. At the end of this course you will be able to:-
get up and windsurfing
sail to a chosen point on the water
return to where you started in light winds
set the equipment up
perform a basic turn
You might think it would be quicker for a friend to teach you. Bear in mind whether or not they really have the right equipment, the patience, the experience and the time. It can be a bit like learning to drive so taking windsurfing lessons at a school can make things smoother, faster and more fun for everyone.
You can take your enjoyment of windsurfing much further than the basic level and with practice you can progress quickly to blasting across the sea like the windsurfers you see off Brighton Seafront. To get to this level will take you about two years of pretty regular windsurfing. That may sound like a long time but it will fly by. Every time you step on the board is a new adventure where you will challenge yourself in different and increasingly demanding weather conditions. For those of us that love windsurfing this is the great thing about it. It is challenging, and you never stop learning.
The key to progressing is practice, practice and practice plus guidance. You can just practice and not have any more lessons. Some additional coaching will really help fast track your windsurfing. It is like any sport in that you can pick up bad habits which will slow your progress down and hinder you for years. If you start with a solid foundation you really will progress much quicker.