Knowing who has right of way when windsurfing is important to avoid collisions, so everyone can feel safer and have more fun on the water. In Jericoacoara, Icaraizinho and other places around the world, these rules change when there are waves involved. If you are new to wavesailing or are not an experienced surfer, the rights of way may be new news to you.
Standard rights of way
A leeward (downwind) windsurfer has right of way over the windward (upwind) windsurfer.
If two windsurfers are sailing towards each other from opposite directions, the port side windsurfer must always give way to starboard. When your right hand is closer to the mast, you have right of way.
Any overtaking windsurfers must keep clear and avoid collisions.
The windsurfer who has right of way must maintain direction and speed, while the sailor who does not have right of way has to change direction to avoid collisions.
If another windsurfer looks like they are struggling to keep control and/or learning, be kind and give them a lot of space and right of way.
In the waves
The windsurfer heading out always has right of way over any windsurfer riding a wave.
If two windsurfers are on the same wave, the windsurfer closest to the peak (breaking point of the wave) has priority.
Surfers, paddleboarders and bodyboarders always have priority over windsurfers.