One thing that happens almost at least once per lesson is that my student is pulled by the sail more than expected, rather than letting go holds on to the back hand and is forced to step towards the rail with one foot. This sinks the rail and ends ups tipping the board over and falling in.

This leaves them in the water and with the board upside-down. I have seen endless combinations of how people have tried to flip the board back the right way up. From the correct and effortless way to completely inefficient passing through only managing through raw strength. Here I will explain the ways to avoid and the best way to do it.

How not to do it

Push upwards from the water

Board Flipping 6

This is the least efficient way as we are trying to lift a heavy board around a large axis against its buoyancy without having solid ground under our feet. Thats a bit of a mouthful to say that all we really do is push ourselves underwater since we sink easier than the board.

Rotating the board with the arms like a steering wheel from the bow or stern

Board Flipping 5For those strong enough this one has worked. It is still by far not efficient since we waste a lot of energy just for this petty task.

The correct way

Here is how to do it properly:

  • Turn the board so that the mast is at 90° to the board
  • Go to the center of the board (at the position of the mast foot).
  • Get onto the board (yes, on the bottom side of the board)
  • Grab the far end and put your knees onto the close end
  • Lean backwards onto your knees, pulling the far end towards you util the board has turned

Board Flipping 1

Board Flipping 2

Board Flipping 3

Things to avoid in the correct way

Do not try to turn it towards the mast

Board Flipping 4If the mast is in the way, no matter how heavy we are leaning onto our side with the knees, the board will not turn. Also, make sure the mast really is at nearly 90° to the board. If it is in line with the board it will make turning it more difficult than it has to be.

Don’t let go of the board before it is turned completely

When we have turned it more than half way, some consider the job done and just let go. I recommend to hold onto it until it has flipped over completely with us under water and then just pulling ourselves to the surface that 0.5 seconds later. By letting go of the board you lose control of its position with respect to you. This means that it can either flip back into the wrong position or even worse, keep turning towards you faster than you expected and hit you on the head. Just hold on all the way.

A tip for the correct way

As in all aspects of windsurfing, we want to see how the wind can help us save energy. In this case this occurs if the mast is pointing into the wind. In this instance, when we lift the far rail, the wind pushes against it from the other side, making it flip over easier and faster. This is a useful tip for the lighter sailors like children.