When I teach beginners how to windsurf I usually have them grab the mast with the front hand first as this helps maximise their control over the rig. Then, once they get better and start really leaning backwards into the wind I have them change their hand over on to the boom.
From time to time I get asked how one should grab the boom: with the palm of the hand facing down (overhand), or facing up (overhand). Let’s start with the easy answer: (more…)
While the waterstart has a lot (and I do mean a LOT) of subtle details that will make an impact on whether you succeed or not, the actual getting up and out of the water can be summed up in 3 components of our body movement and position. Positioning the kit correctly, then getting the sail out of the water and putting our feet on the board are all part of preparing for the waterstart and there are a lot of little things that go into doing these steps correctly and in a way that saves energy. However, when it comes to actually getting lifted out of the water by the sail, there are only 3 things that, if ignored, will sabotage the waterstart. (more…)
The centreboard (or skeg) is a tool which causes some confusion after a few hours of heaving learnt how to windsurf. Many people are unsure about when it is necessary, useful or a hinderance. This article aims to explain how and when to use the centreboard to get the most out of it.
One consistent theme I see recurring nearly on a daily basis is spending too much time on the water. I am naturally guilty of this as much as anybody else. I have spent many more hours on the water than I should have.
What do you mean? you may ask.
It is actually quite simple. We are doing a sport that requires quite a lot of coordination. Most of the movements become intuitive and reflexive over time. There are a few things which are constantly changing however: wind, waves, other windsurfers, etc. then come all the manoeuvres such as gybing, jumping, wave riding and all the other wonderful things that make this sports so great.
These all require our concentration which in itself already depletes our capacity to continue concentrating. However, as our energy gets used up, our concentration reduces also. You might remember a situation in which you were so exhausted physically that you could no longer think straight but could only focus on breathing and not falling over like after a long sprint or after fighting to get out of a strong beach break.
As our concentration decreases we start making more mistakes which inevitably causes us to fall in more often, wasting more of our precious energy… and so the vicious cycle continues. (more…)
Pumping in windsurfing is a technique that is not really talked about much. Many people do it intuitively, others can’t seem to get the hang of it, and the rest have no idea how to explain it properly. I was only made aware of this recently and noticed that even in the vastness of the internet there is not much information on pumping. So here goes:
I like to break pumping down into four types as the techniques varies on the wind available to us and the purpose of pumping.
Pumping in near zero wind
In my post on how to get back if the wind drops, I describe how to move the sail in a way that pushes the mass of air to the stern, thereby pushing the board forwards. Then moving the sail forwards with the sail surface in line of movement to reduce the surface causing drag
Pumping in low winds
One of the most fun parts of my beginner lessons is getting back to the beach at the end. No, not because I am desperate to end the lessons but because it gives my students the chance to ride a wave with a windsurf board. There is very little else that will get a beginner hooked to windsurfing than the sensation of gliding down a wave (except for when I pull them so that they start planing, which is basically the same sensation). There is however a very important element to riding a wave with big boards which will make or break the ride and that is making sure that the board does not dive underwater with either the nose or the leeward rail.