How to Windsurf – the Planing 360

How to Windsurf – the Planing 360

The oldest person I have seen learning the planing 360 is an 80 year old Swede. Just in case anyone was wondering whether they are getting too old to learn new manoeuvres…

In essence, the planing 360 is a transition from a planing gybe into a helicopter-tack that is backed out of.

Planing 360

Here is the step by step breakdown:

  • Start off planing at speed.
  • Take the back foot out of the foot-strap (as you get more advanced you can attempt to leave it in the foot-strap throughout the manoeuvre)
  • Put pressure on the downwind rail with the back foot to start bearing away from the wind. Make sure you transfer your weight over the front foot..
  • As you bear away, sheet in the sail, keep the front arm straight and lean the sail to the back of the board.
  • As we turn through the downwind course, the power should start to increase on the other side of the sail. At this point we will probably have to move some of our body weight onto the back hand to be able to hold the power that increases in the sail.
  • Keeping our front arm straight and using the back hand to control the power of the wind in the sail we keep pushing the clew to the back of the board to make it luff up into the wind again.
  • Once it has gone through the beam reach we must continue pushing the clew to the wind instead of to the back of the board, mainly for our stability. If we were to continue pushing the clew to the back we will end up with no wind in the sail and just falling in. As we push the clew towards the wind and away from the back of the board it is important to get our weight on the front foot to avoid the board sinking and shooting out from under us.
  • Once the board has turned back into the wind (i.e.. the mast has come over the board again) it is time to sheet in again to push the board back onto the original direction. At this point it is important to push into the board horizontally as we sheet in to ensure we don’t just end up in a water-start position but upright and can start planing again as quickly as possible.

Planing 360

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Which Up-haul Rope to Use

Which Up-haul Rope to Use





Depending on your level you should be using one type of up-haul or another. In the initial stages, when we rely a lot on the up-haul to maintain our stability on the board when lifting the sail out of the water, we need a rope that is not elastic. If we lift the sail up with and elastic rope, the control over the sail will be greatly reduced as when we pull the sail towards us, some of that energy is lost in the elasticity of the rope.


Beginner Up-Haul

Beginner up-haulThese are a rigid rope that is attached to the boom and has an elastic rope that goes from the center of the up-haul rope to the mastfoot. Since there is a loose piece of rope dangling near the mast base they are not practical for high speeds, especially with choppy water as the loose end will be flapping around and hitting the sail all the time.

Beginner up-haul lifting


Advanced Up-Haul

Advanced up-haulOnce we can do the water-start we are less reliant on the up-haul. We may only need one in circumstances where the wind drops so much that we cannot do a water-start any more. For these cases we use an elastic rope as it will be close to the mast the whole time that we are sailing and not be a nuisance.
The downside to this is that when we lift the sail we don’t have a direct response of the sail. This means that when we start to lift the sail, the rope stretches first and then starts to lift the sail out of the water. If as we are lifting up the sail, a bit of chop hits us, or a small wave, or we just lose our balance a little bit, we have a harder time to stabilise ourselves with the weight of the sail because as we pull, we first stretch the rope instead of the rope being pulled taught right away and helping us catch our balance again.

Advanced up-haul lifting



Until the water-start use a non-elastic rope as it will provide you with more control over the sail when hauling it up. After learning the water-start you should get an elastic one just in case you need it.





How to Windsurf – The Duck Gybe

How to Windsurf – The Duck Gybe

How to Windsurf - Duck Gybe

The duck gybe is one of the easiest extensions to our free-ride repertoire as it shows class without being very difficult. In essence we just take advantage of the relative wind being zero on the running course in order to flip the sail around the clew. Let me go into the step by step:

  1. Grab the boom a little bit further back with the back hand
  2. Bear away like you would for the power-gybe
  3. Once you are nearly on the running course (when your relative wind speed is 0) instead of releasing the back hand to shift the sail, release the front hand and simultaneously bring the clew of the sail forward with the back hand
  4. Move the front hand to the back of the boom, closer to the clew than the back hand so that you can let go of the back hand
  5. The sail should now already be with the mast on the correct side only that we are still holding on to it on the old side of the boom
  6. The back hand (now to be the front hand) grabs the boom on the new side
  7. The old front hand comes on to the new side of the sail and grabs the boom further forward than the previous hand
  8. The new front hand grabs the boom close to the mast and we prepare to shift our feet
  9. We Finnish positioning our feet correctly as we start to catch wind again on the new side
  10. Push your hips forward and lean back with your shoulders to continue planing on the new course

The idea is to do all this sequence of steps with no wind in the sail. For this we must be going as fast as the wind so that the relative wind in zero. You can start practicing this manoeuvre by just bearing away onto a running course, shifting the sail around the clew and then continuing to shift it around the mast so that we can continue sailing into the same direction. This will allow you to focus only on the sail control and add the foot position and weight transfer once the sail handling is under control.

Duck-Gybe Sequence

One last tip:

Don’t let the mast touch the water as it will get stuck in the water, make the kit come to a sudden halt and send you flying forwards, possibly getting hurt in the process. I call this the involuntary superman.

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How to do a Windsurfing Jump

How to do a Windsurfing Jump

I grew up and learned to windsurf in El Médano. Here we have waves nearly every day and the stronger the wind, the bigger the waves. In other words, for me it came naturally to pick up speed and at some point hit the wave right to tale off into the air.
Most people who pick up confidence to windsurf at speed here end up doing a windsurfing jump sooner or later, mostly by accident. Let’s look at how to make a controlled jump so you can enjoy some air time without risking a crash. (more…)

How to Windsurf – The Planing Gybe

How to Windsurf – The Planing Gybe

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Disclaimer: I will refer to both gybes as planing gybe so I don’t have to keep writing “power-gybe and carving-gybe” all the time. Basically the thing that differences them is at the end anyways and I will mention it when I get to it.

We have arrived at the holy grail of windsurfing. Sailing out on a plane, turning around and coming back to the beach with dry hair. Once the waterstart is a struggle of the past an no linger a big deal, it also becomes a bit of a nuisance having to let ourselves fall in the water to turn around and waterstart back to the beach. It is time to learn how to do the planing-gybe.

Power Gybe - Carve Gybe

First off, the technique of the planing-gybe has little to do with that of the beginners gybe. The first is for small boards with little volume that sink when they are not planing. The normal gybe is for large volume boards which float even when at a standstill. For this reason I recommend learning the planing-gybe with a board no bigger than 120 litres, less if you are a lightweight.

So let’s get down to it:

Start by planing

As already mentioned a few too many times before, we want to be planing for this gybe. The one thing that will make or break the success of this manoeuvre is speed. Having it when we go in and keeping it throughout. The faster we go, the easier the entire sequence of motions is going to be since the board will be more stable at high speed and the sail will be easier to handle. Our immediate goal is to arrive in the downwind course having the same speed as the wind since then the relative wind is zero and the sail can be handled much easier.

Take the back foot out of the strap

We take the back foot out of the strap and place it on the downwind rail and begin to put pressure on that rail.

Move our weight forward

As the board starts to turn we shift our body forward, over the front foot to make sure that the board remains as flat on the water as possible instead of having too much weight over the stern which would cause the board to sink and slow us down quickly. Keep the front arm straight and the sail sheeted in

As we start to bear away, the relative wind changes also. At one point the board speed is going to be faster than the actual wind and the relative wind will be coming from the downwind course. To use this relative wind to the fullest extent we must keep the front arm straight and the back hand sheeting in the sail to keep an optimal angle of attack on the sail.

Keep the weight over the front foot

Resist the temptation of leaning back as you pick up speed on the downwind course. You want to lean forward with your shoulders without sticking your bum out. Leaning back will only slow us down or make the board shoot out forwards from under our feet and stcking our bum out will rob us of stability.

Keep steady pressure on the rail

If we stand on the board unsteadily we will be applying varying pressure on the inner rail which will result in the board to not make a smooth arc through the water but snake lines which will reduce our stability even more.

Once we arrive at the downwind course we will do one of two sequences that will decide whether your planing gybe is a power-gybe or a carve-gybe. Taking advantage of the relative wind being close to zero, and so hardly having any pressure in the sail we:


Power Gybe Carve Gybe

Change our foot position taking care to keep them positioned along the centreline of the board and putting a little more pressure on the heels to keep the board durning. First we change the front foot (of the old side), basically just rotating it on the spot and moving slightly to the centreline of the board so it comes out of the footstrap. Then we move the back foot (of the old side) and move it just behind the mastfoot so that the board remains flat over the water and so that when the sail is shifted we can transmit the power of the sail into the board again.

We then we shift the sail making sure that we bring the mast forward again as quickly as possible as the clew can get caught in the water when it arrives one the new side resulting in the sail getting pulled out of our hands. Once the mast is brought forward we can also grab the boom again with our back hand.

Shift the sail making sure that the mast is brought forward again once it has shifted so that we can grab the boom on the new side and so that the clew doesn’t get caught in the water and the resistance in it pulling it out of our hands.

Now it is time to change our foot position: first the front foot which is taken out of the footstrap and placed just behind the front footstraps and on the centreline of the board; then the foot that is on the rail is moved forward just behine the mastfoot ready to transmit the sail power into the board again on the new side.)


Once on the new side with the feet and sail set up correctly again we need to continue the plane (or get back into it in case we slowed down too much). In other words we must lean back, close the sail and push our hips forward.

I personally do vary on the gybe I do depending on the side I do it in. I feel most comfortable with my right foot in front as I have a goofy stance when surfing or skateboarding. For this reason I do a power-gybe when starting on a port tack and a carve-gybe when I start on a starboard tack so that I stay as long as possible with my right foot in front as I feel I have more control. People with a regular stance will probably prefer to keep their left foot in front longer. In any case, try out both ways and see which one comes more naturally to you.

PLaning Gybe Sequence

To recap:

– Important is to be planing

– Back foot out f the footstrap

– Start putting pressure on the rail

– Weight forward

– Front arm straight, close the sail with back hand

– Keep body vertical: no sticking our bum out in a sitting positiion, no leaning back with the shoulders

– Keep steady pressure on the rail throughout the manoeuvre

– Switch feet first, then shift the sail (power gybe)

OR (Depends on preferred stance)

– Shift sail, then switch feet (carve gybe)

– When shifting the sail, bring the mast forward again quickly so the clew doesn’t get caught in the water

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