Can windsurfing be a lifestyle and why does that matter? Henrik Beyer, windsurfing author and health promoter answers an eternal question.
We have all heard it and used the word "lifestyle" to describe windsurfing. It is apparent in the eyes of a newly-hooked sailor that there is something special in windsurfing. But is it a lifestyle on its own?
The word "lifestyle" is used to describe a way of life, a manner, a behaviour or conduct that an individual or a group of people has when living and existing. A lifestyle is characterized by vitality and energy since it is closely connected with life itself. Not even a windsurfer can have a lifestyle when he or she is dead. However, lifestyle will forever be a collection of intangible factors, too.
So why is it important if windsurfing is a lifestyle or not? A lifestyle can be an important way to establish a sense of self and a personal identity that may be vital to building blocks for good mental health and happiness.
To know if windsurfing is a lifestyle we need to understand if windsurfers have a shared way of life, frequently occurring patterns, values and behaviors, and whether they are characterised by vitality or energy.
In the best-case scenario, windsurfers do get to sail regularly, which is a key criterion for establishing a lifestyle. Windsurfers who do not get to sail frequently may struggle to consider windsurfing as a way of life. But do windsurfers have a particular conduct/etiquette that would add up to a lifestyle structure?
"This is the hardest one to answer. There are clear signs of a behavior that can be seen through the common bond between sailors, that they all want to have fun in the water and try to spread that energy through their manner, via words, expressions and gestures,"considers Beyer, author of "Health & Fitness for Windsurfing."
These behaviors are easily spotted when beginners show signs of being hooked to windsurfing. By adding the energy aspect when we try to define windsurfing as a lifestyle, it is blatantly obvious that windsurfing is a sport characterized by vitality and energy.
All in all, windsurfing is likely to be a lifestyle for sailors who get to sail frequently, feel the power of the sport, share it with family and friends, and connect with it. A sailor who feels that windsurfing is a lifestyle certainly does not have to be a competitive sailor.
"However, an example of a professional windsurfer who is showing true characteristics of representing windsurfing as a way of life is Victor Fernandez Lopez. He continues to share the stoke with vigorous energy and always underlines the importance of having fun," concludes Beyer.
"If we continue to highlight windsurfing as a lifestyle many more sailors - young and old . may enjoy its healthy way to establishing a sense of self and personal identity."