One of the most exhausting parts of windsurfing in the initial stages is getting on the board after every fall in the water. And it wouldn’t even be all that frustrating if we were just falling in when windsurfing at speed. However, when we fall in because of a stupid little detail when lifting out and positioning the sail, then annoyance is piled on top of exhaustion.
One of the most common senseless falls I have come to witness time after time is when people try to lift up the sail with their body weight but not in line with the mast. Let me show you in this image:
If we lean backwards, we will need something to hold us in the same line but in the opposite direction. In the basic T-position this is usually no problem.
The problem tends to arise when the sail is lying with the mast nearly parallel to the board. Often I have seen people try to lift the sail out from this position with the same foot stance as when the mast is at 90 to the board. While this is possible with a little experience or luck, it is hardly the correct way to cope in this situation.
Imagine the blue arrow is our body weight leaning backwards and the red arrow is the weight of the sail pulling downwards. If these two are aligned we are in equilibrium. However, if they are not aligned, we are leaning backwards with nothing pulling us in the opposite direction yo hold us. We are expecting the sideways pull of the sail to hold us which it can’t.
The solution is to turn our foot position so that our body and feet are facing the mast. Only in this way will the sail allow us to balance by leaning back.
It is important to remember that this foot/body position must change as the sail position changes. The second error I have seen is when the first part of the foot position was adopted well, but when the sail got flipped over by the wind, they didn’t follow the mast with their foot orientation and were knocked off balance and into the water again.
In short, have your feet facing the mast at all times and be prepared to adjust when it is moved by the wind.