I have already written an article on what to look out for when buying a windsurf board. However, aside from the fact that you will always have more sails than boards at any given time, sails also wear easier and so have to be replaced more often. Therefore, I thought a windsurf sail buying guide might be in order. Here are the things to look out for when buying a sail. (more…)
Sail tuning is one of the skills that gets overlooked during the learning process of windsurfing. Most people can kind of rig the sail correctly but are either unsure, or just plain don’t know how to tune a windsurf sail. A badly tuned windsurf sail can make the experience of windsurfing unpleasant. There are only a few parameters you really have to look out for, depending on the sail. This guide should help for most windsurfing sail types although it will vary (or be missing aspects) for sails that have cambers for example. (more…)
Over the years I have been able to differentiate the 3 stages of sail control that people go through in windsurfing before one can say that they have control of their sail. I call them the step-dance, the hula-hoop and the windsurfer. They basically describe how you react to the changes in your body position that is affected by the wind and waves. I will go through these to help you determine at which stage you are at and what you need to do to get to the next level.
Level 1: The step-dance
This is the first stage. This stage describes the most natural reaction we have to getting pushed or pulled around as is the case on a windsurf board in the early attempts. Every change in our body position is corrected by moving our feet around. So if a gust hits us we get pulled forward and to compensate that displacement we move one foot or another. Good thing that we start off with a big, wide board. Overcoming this stage is the greatest limiting factor to being able to move to a smaller board.
Level 2: The hula-hoop
Once we learn to feel the changes in the sail pressure and our body position sooner we no longer need to move our feet. However, while we keep the feet in place, we still haven’t got the reaction to a gust or a lull down fast enough and so we move the hips either forward or backward to maintain the centre of gravity over the buoyancy of the board. In this stage we are still using the sail only for forward propulsion and not yet for stability.
Level 3: The windsurfer
The final stage and the way we should be windsurfing. People that have reached this level are easy to spot as they show no hectic movements on the board. As the gust hits them the simply sheet out in time to release some of the wind pressure in the sail so that they don’t get pulled over. They may even lean back with a straight body and sheet in to use the extra power.
So there you have it, the three stages of sail control that I have been able to differentiate. It is one more aspect that I can point out to students to show them that they are progressing when they feel that they haven’t improved. If you have any other subtle differentiation that you have noticed I would like to read of it in the comments.
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.
Windsurfing battens nowadays are pretty resistant. The materials that are used make them more lightweight but at the expense of them becoming more fragile. Normally the fragility is no problem as we rarely subject them to forces great enough to snap the battens. However, if we fall on the sail or have a wave break on it, there is a large possibility of a batten snapping.