The correct windsurf boom position is often a source of long debates.
In the beginner phase it is a general consensus that the boom should be somewhere around shoulder height. Basically, when you stand upright next to it you should be able to put your arm on the inside so that it fits neatly under your arm pit.
When we progress however, things start to get a little more complicated. Some say put it high, others insist that you should bring it down. So what is it? (more…)
I don’t know how many feet I have looked at in the last few weeks. No, I don’t have a foot fetish… sorry to disappoint 🙂
No, it was because I was asked if the foot straps were the right size. So here is my take on how big/wide the straps should be.
Foot Strap Screw Placement
When you put your foot in the straps, the sides should be touching. Not too tight as you want to be able to get in and out easily. Also, you don’t want them too wide. I have seen many who have them too wide and to make up for them being too loose they have to set them up very tight so as to only allow the toes to fit.
Foot Strap Width
You want about half your foot to fit in the strap. The idea is to be able to get in and out easily when you want but also to stay in securely when you need it. The consequences of them being either too wide or too narrow are both very unpleasant.
If the straps are too wide we risk two things. The first is not that problematic: being pulled out in a catapult. The second is pretty dangerous as if the strap is too wide we can end up with the entire foot slipping through the foot strap be it after a sideways landing of a jump or too much pressure on the back foot in choppy water. In that case I would definitely prefer a spin out.
If the straps are so tight that we barely get our tows in we lose a lot of control over the board on one hand, and lack of security against catapults on the other. The first is due to the fact that we can’t lever the board with our foot to keep in flat as we could with a wider foot strap. The second come front it being really difficult to resist the pull of the sail with only our toes as opposed to the whole foot. It is like wanting to do pull-ups with only your fingers instead of with the entire hand.
Ultimately the straps should fit around the foot nice and snug. As a rule of thumb, place your hand in the strap and have it fit loosely. This is a good width to start off with. I would begin with the straps being a little too tight and try going wider and wider after each tack until you find the width that you feel the most comfortable with.
Most people who get a new board will be stuck when it comes to screwing on the foot straps. There are plenty of options to choose from but the correct one depends on our level and the conditions.
When you start with the foot straps I recommend putting them as far forward as possible. Since we are doing the transition from having our feet near the mast foot to putting the feet into the straps further back, we want to make the difference between these two stances as similar as possible.
Big boards (slow planing)
In the initial phases of windsurfing in the straps we will still be standing pretty upright even while planing. For this case it is good to have the straps pretty centred so as to keep the pressure into the board more over where most of the volume is. Planing slowly with the straps close to the rails will only sink the boards side and slow you down even more.
Big boards (fast planing)
As we pick up speed, the fin will start to act as a foil and begin to lift the board out of the water which then tilts downwind. If we have the feet in the foot straps close to the centre of the board we will not be able to avoid this. Therefore, as we begin to achieve high speeds consistently (and have the board lift up every now and then) we know we have to put the foot straps closer to the rail.
Just a small note here: when you get into the straps in this set up, try to do so before you start planing. The straps on the side will force out feet to be close to the water and it will happen every now and then that the heel catches the water. The faster you are going, the more it will trip you up and the more likely you will have a pretty little catapult.
Usually the small boards are used in choppy conditions or in waves. Personally I have always felt more control over the board with the straps closer to the centre in these situations. Especially when wave riding where you have to put pressure on the downwind rail while in the straps of the upwind rail.
For more control ver the board in general i recommend putting the straps further apart. This creates a large lever for us to control the board with our feet.
I hope this has given you a bit of a better insight as to where you want to put the foot straps. Naturally our body size and weight will have an impact on where we will feel most comfortable and in most control over our board so you will have to try out different options to see what works for you. However, these guidelines should give you a better idea of what you need to change instead of shooting in the dark. For more tips and tricks from Boardseeker Magazine and pro riders check out their page here.
Let me know how you get along in the comments or if there is any other observation you think should be included.
This question has and is plaguing a lot of intermediate level windsurfers. It gets a lot of debate thrown at it and is often given as the reason for some maneuvers not working or the windsurfing experience being unpleasant. Let me try to shed some light on the matter.
There are mainly two reasons for which we might put the mast-foot further forward or backward. Both are related to board handling. Here they are:
1. Beginner to intermediate planing: up until the point where we are just getting the hang of planing, the mast-foot position will determine how easy it will be for is to bear away from the wind and how much effort we have to put into going on a closed haul. The further forward the mast-foot is, the further forward the whole sail will be, and with it the sails pressure point. By moving the mast foot forward we are in essence moving the sails pressure point away from the fins (or skegs) pressure point which makes it easier to bear away from the wind. This is a good trick for those who have trouble with the board turning into the wind when they get into the foot-straps.
2. Advanced (fast) planing: once we are planing at high speeds we will be at a level where we no longer have to make use of small adjustments to the mast-foot position in order to get going or feel comfortable while sailing. At that point we need to find the position which give the most speed and the most control for the conditions. When we position the mast-foot towards the back we are able to get more speed (at least according to slalom racers, I still haven’t found the physical explanation for this) whilst the further forward we position the mast foot, the more control we have over the board as the pressure of the sail is transferred into the board further forward, keeping the nose down. Therefore, on flat water the mast-foot will do better more towards te back whereas in choppy conditions, putting the mast-foot further forward will provide us with more control.
We shouldn’t forget that these are only guidelines for gaining more control over the kit when sailing. Our size will also have an impact on where we will feel the most comfortable so try out different positions for each sail size in different water conditions and see which is the one that offers you the most enjoyable windsurfing experience.
I hope this helped. Let me know your experiences with testing various mast-moot positions.
I often see a lot of people rigging and de-rigging their sails at the Surf Center, and every now and then I see someone who has very little idea of what they are doing. In this post I aim to provide a step-by-step guide for those who are a little lost.