Tom's Windsurfing Notes
". . . because every day of sailing is a GREAT day of sailing."

Tom's consolidated notes from all sources and
borrowing liberally from the ABK Handbook.

Comments, changes or additions to:
View this page on the internet at:

Tom and Andy Brandt

CONTENTS (Click on any lesson title to jump to that section)

  • ABK Clinic – A Typical Day
  • Rigging
  • Rules of The Road
  • The Three Worst Habits
  • General Sailing Tips

  • Shortboard Tack. . .p8
  • Beachstart. . .p10
  • Non-planing Pivot Jibe. . .p11
  • Harness . . .p13
  • Getting On A Plane. . .p14
  • Getting In The Straps. . .p20
  • Pumping
  • Butt Sailing. . .p21
  • Waterstart . . .p21
  • Planing Jibe . . .p31
  • Miscellaneous Golden Nuggets . . .p32
  • Some Great Exercises . . .p32

  • Sailing Backwinded. . .p33
  • Clew First Sailing. . .p35
  • Clew First Beachstart. . .p36
  • Helicopter Tack. . .p36
  • Sail 360. . .p37
  • Sail And Body 360. . .p37
  • Low Wind Duck Jibe. . .p38
  • Duck Tack. . .p39
  • Fin First Sailing. . .p39
  • Boomerang. . .p40
  • Backwind Tack. . .p41
  • Backwind Jibe. . .p42
  • Pirouette. . .p42
  • Body Drag. . .p42
  • Planing Duck Jibe. . .p43

  • Aphorisms
  • Links (Under Construction)

    » A standard ABK day. . .p2
    » ABK Student Groupings. . .p3
    » Windsurfing Zen. . .p7
    » The Four Parts Of The Waterstart. . .p21

    Abbreviations Used In The Text
    CE   Center of Effort (of the sail)
    CG Center of Gravity (yours)
    CL Centerline (of the board)
    CLR   Center of Lateral Resistance
    GT Greater Than
    MF Mast Foot
    MFP   Mast Foot Pressure
    SLR San Luis Reservoir
    WRT With Respect To

    —— Click on underlined words to go to that section or web page. ——

    ABK Format — A Typical Day At An ABK Clinic

    ABK Clinics
    You can learn more in a 1 week intensive ABK clinic than in years struggling on your own. Just DO IT!
    ABK clinics are held throughout the country at various windsurfing locations such as Hatteras, South Padre Island, Hood River and many other sites on both the East and West Coasts. The clinics are available in the US for 8 months of the year, April through November. The ABK staff are in Bonaire and Aruba for the winter months of December through March.

    The clinics are held for 3, 4 or 5 days. 5 day clinics, such as Bonaire run from Monday through Friday but are listed as 7 days in the ABK Schedule to allow for 1 or 2 days travel time on each end (getting to Bonaire usually requires a red eye flight). 3 day clinics are scheduled over the weekend -- Friday, Saturday and Sunday. An added side benefit of the clinics is a supervised introduction to new sailing sites if you haven't been there before.

    A standard ABK day begins at 9:30 and goes until 5:30. The format is:

    lecture → land practice → water practice → lunch → lecture → land practice → water practice

    The typical schedule for each day for all groups is:

    The sailing day begins winding up about 5:00 when the instructors come in for de-rigging and clean up; students can free sail until 5:30. Video analysis is at 6:00 at the non-camping clinics like Bonaire, and after dinner (8:30) at the camping clinics like San Luis Reservoir (SLR).

    The first day starts earlier, usually 9:00, to allow for registration, signing the waiver form (bring a pen) and handing out the tee shirts and note books. Registration is followed by an Introductions Session which starts about 10:00 on that first day, where each instructor and attendee introduces themselves and gives a short summary of their windsurfing experience, skill level and goals. Typically, half or more of the students have attended several prior ABK clinics, many to 4 or 5, some to 8 or 10 or even more ABK clinics.

    A short land class at about 11:00 follows the Introductions and then a brief on the water session in which the instructors assess and validate the students' on-the-water skills. During lunch, the instructors compare notes and decide on the placement of the students into appropriate groups. ABK tries to maintain a ratio of no more than 5 students per instructor. There are typically from 10 to 25 clinic attendees who are divided into 3 or 4 groups with 3 to 10 people assigned per group according to the following general groupings:

    ABK Student Groupings
      Level 1 - Beginner. Never evers and people with just a week or two or many years since they did it.
      Level 2 - Low Intermediate. Broad category. Working on fast tacks, jibes, waterstart, beachstart.
      Level 3 - Hi Intermediate. Comfortable in harness and beach/waterstart. Working on planing/straps.
      Level 4 - Advanced and freestyle. Comfortable planing in straps. Working on carve jibes & freestyle.

    The middle (third) day of the 5 day clinics, such as Bonaire, only has a morning session to allow an afternoon for rest and shopping. On the last day, after lunch, a wrap up group session is held; drawings are made and 3 or 4 gifts given out from the ABK sponsors (t-shirts, uphauls, etc). Group pictures are taken and each attendee fills out an assessment form (grade sheet) of their rating of the clinic. The last day of the 3 day clinics, such as SLR, wraps up an hour early at 4:00 and doesn't include a video analysis.

    Clinics or not -- the pros and cons

    ABK clinics are a truly, really super experience. But they do go very fast and cover a lot of ground. So they can be overwhelming. Take that back -- they ARE overwhelming. To the passionate intermediate, working on planing stance, footstraps and the carve jibe, those windsurfers will welcome "overwhelming" and embrace it. They'll go back to their home waters to practice what they were taught but didn't achieve at the clinic, but took diligent nightly (and daily) notes so they could remember the hundreds of special tips and visual cues, and instruction snippets that they received, both personally on the water, and in the land classes.

    For the advancing beginner, who has not yet gotten hooked by the adrenaline rush from their first plane, not yet been introduced to the harness, and not yet with the skill to conquer "the 12 knot barrier", "overwhelming" can be just that, a not so rewarding experience of already being in over your head (pun intended) and then still being thrown new technical material on top of that with each new session).

    Most of the people in the clinics, usually, though not always, are further along than the beginner stage. Andy arranges to have on hand the number of instructors needed so that there is a 5 or 6 to 1 instructor to student ratio. They divide however many total students there are into groups of five or so and gradate into that many different student skill levels accordingly.

    It can happen that someone, particularly at the beginner level, might have to be assigned to a group where all the rest in the group are a little more advanced, in which case, sometimes the class can go a little too fast for that person. In that case, you might not get the proper attention, and could feel "left behind" which could be frustrating. It really all depends on how many people sign up and how their skill levels fall out.

    But, this is a relatively rare event. The bottom line is that the ABK clinics are an all around fabulous experience both from the lessons and learning standpoint and also, from the making new friends and camaraderie of sharing the experience with other windsurfers.

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    Between the mast, sail and boom, the most important thing you can invest in is the mast. There are three types depending on the carbon content, 0-30% (cheapest), 50-70%, and GT 75% (most expensive). Best value is to go for the middle level, 50-70% carbon content.

    Sail Downhaul tips

    Threading Downhaul Line So It Doesn't Cross (Windsurfing Mag; May 2004 p79) Sail Outhaul tips

    Some Rigging tips Some equipment tips

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    Rules of The Road

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    The Three Worst Habits

    1. Moving arms together instead of independently — In trying to save a fall, pulling in with both arms together does NOT change the power in the sail; the sail set is the same WRT the wind. The way to get more power is to pull in with the power hand leaving the mast hand stationary, or push out with the mast hand leaving power hand stationary.

      The back hand, the power hand, regulates the sail's power. The front hand, the control/steering hand, directs the rig forward or back to control steering. Practice independent arm movement. Fight the instinct to move the arms simultaneously.

    2. Pulling hips in over board to save a fall — This inclines your head and upper body outboard, away from the board, just the way you DON'T want to step up on a high object. Instead, drop your body with hips and butt out; push hips away from the board and push your head and upper body in OVER the board. It's the same action as when you step up on a high object with your head and upper body first.

    3. Taking back hand off sail and placing it on the mast or uphaul to try to save a fall — This forces the head down and butt out with upper body bent over, out of balance, on the verge of a fall. It also makes you look like a MAJOR bozo. Instead, do a tennis back hand or rodeo wave with the back hand, i.e., swing the back hand way outboard, upwind, away from the board. When you unwind from this position, it gives you leverage to pull the rig out of the water and across the board.

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    General Sailing Tips

    Okay, NOW PAY ATTENTION, windsurfing breath -- here is the whole windsurfing thing in a nutshell. It's two words "Finesse Sailing", or, for you hippy types, "Windsurfing Zen":

    Finesse Sailing = reliance on leverage, center of effort and balance, instead of muscle strength.
    The Stanford University windsurfing Club has a very pertinent quote on their website answering the question, "Is windsurfing hard to learn?", that clarifies the nature of this search for "balance and leverage",

    Is Windsurfing Hard To Learn?

    "No. Most people find that learning the basics of windsurfing in the proper conditions and with the proper equipment is relatively easy. On the other hand, mastering the sport of windsurfing is very difficult and becomes a lifelong venture for many."

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    Shortboard Tack (STEP-CROSS-PUSH)

    1. First, clear the area where you will be turning; look around for traffic.

    2. Rake the sail back SLOWLY, GENTLY with STRAIGHT, EXTENDED ARMS. It's not a fast throw action. Be careful not to oversheet or the sail will stall. You should feel that you are almost sheeting OUT the sail, as you rake it back. For planing - go "head to feet"; look, unhook, hang, then weight heels until carve into wind.

    3. VERY IMPORTANT -> KEEP ARMS VERY STRAIGHT (LOCKED); push rig aggressively AWAY from your body; push it away from you hard. The weight of the rig is all you have for balance at this point (there is no sail pull to balance you). Keep your WEIGHT ON YOUR BACK FOOT, at the same time, PUSHING HARD ACROSS THE BOARD, AGAINST THE FIN.

    4. Wait as the board comes head to wind, move back hand farther back for leverage and move front hand on the mast at WAIST HIGH. Grabbing the mast low, well below boom height, gives better leverage over the mast, and it reminds you to bend at the knees. Keep your CG low, with body weight OVER THE CL to allow for the lessening sail pull.

    5. In anticipation, move BOTH feet forward close to the mast; move back foot up to front foot and front foot up to mast. Initiate the step around at 1 hour BEFORE 12. Wrap front foot around mast (toes around a skoshi extra to make the plié easier), then go with a STEP-CROSS- PUSH near simultaneous action.

    6. Shift weight onto THE TOE of the front foot, lifting the heel as you go around the mast, to make room for the back foot that is coming up quickly behind it. Bring back foot up behind it in plié position, while SIMULTANEOUSLY putting new front hand on the mast (or new side of the boom if you prefer a boom to boom transfer). In the same instant, step back with new back foot, BRINGING WEIGHT BACK WITH IT. But remember, feet and weight MUST BE ON THE CL.

    7. PUSH THE SAIL OUT OF THE WAY (and back) with the new front hand. This will backwind it for a short time, helping you complete the tack. KEEP YOUR FRONT ARM EXTENDED and the sail back and away from you as you go around the front of the mast. This helps keep you from being crowded by the rig as you go around the mast.

    8. Throw the rig forward into a bow and arrow position (fully extend the front arm while sheeting in hard with back hand, as if you were drawing back the string on a bow and arrow) to present the other side of the sail to the wind. PUSH HARD LATERALLY ACROSS THE DECK WITH THE TOES OF THE FRONT FOOT while trying to PULL THE BOARD UNDERNEATH YOUR BODY WITH THE BACK FOOT until the board has fallen off sufficiently on the new tack.

        Hey, have you seen Tom's new freestyle move, the "Tack Plop?"
    Yeppers, you guessed it, — he tacks, then he plops!     NOT!

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    Very important with lesser volume boards, to have good CL control on the beachstart. Put back foot on board slightly on the windward side (rather than directly on CL) when mounting, to allow for your foot rolling up onto the CL.

    If Overpowered On Beachstart:

    If Underpowered On Beachstart: Tips

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    Non-planing Pivot Jibe (Look To The Exit)

    Think of the pivot jibe as divided into three parts: entry, transition, exit.


    1. LOOK. Look around behind you, over your shoulder, downwind for 100 meters (that's where you'll be doing the maneuver) to be sure it's all clear.

    2. Step back onto the tail and shift your weight back with you. This shortens the waterline and allows the board to pivot with less resistance. The farther back you step, the more you raise the board, the less water line you have, and the faster you'll jibe. Also you'll have more leverage to resist the sail's pull. AND, you can help push the stern around with your back foot as with a flare jibe.

    3. While you're stepping back, move BOTH HANDS BACK ON THE BOOM toward the clew. Move back hand WAY BACK on the boom. The farther your hands are back on the boom, the more leverage you'll have to tilt the rig windward and closer to the water.

    4. Position rig to windward and forward. You have 90 degrees of variability in this positioning. Favor more to windward in high winds (less sail area showing to the wind) and favor more forward and bow and arrow for low wind.

    5. Move front foot behind back foot ON THE CENTERLINE, in a plié position. Alternatively, you can move your back foot back first and then bring front foot back in a plié with the back foot (either in front of or in back of back foot). In either case, weight should be WELL BACK ON THE BACK FOOT. Note: for longboards (boards with centerboards), depress the leeward rail (the rail opposite to the turn); this lifts the centerboard and helps pull the board through the turn. For shortboards (and longboards with centerboard retracted) you can depress the inside (windward) rail. Use your feet to help you pull/push board through the turn.

    6. INCLINE UPPER BODY (and weight) way back. Rig will become very powered; you must incline upper body and head way back to counter the pull of the sail with hips in and head up. Feel as if you're holding against a wheelbarrow on a down hill incline. Inch both hands further back on the boom to be able to better move it out to the side to help continue the turn.

    Once you're an hour or so past 6 o'clock, switch your feet; step forward with the new front foot and step back with the new back foot. You'll now be sailing clew first.


    Sail clew first until 7:30 or 8:00 o'clock. LEVEL THE BOOM to bring the mast more vertical by sheeting out (pulling in with front (clew) hand next to your chest and to windward to bring the mast closer), and slide the back hand (mast hand) closer to next to the mast. Stand erect with attitude (lift your chin), LOOK TO THE EXIT (this gets you in the proper position). Jibe the sail by bringing the old clew hand under the front (Italian gesture). Bring mast upright as you sheet in and pop and drop.

    Important points to remember for the pivot jibe Practicing clew first beachstarts is a good way to help the clew first sailing part of jibes. Another good exercise is to make the clew first part of your jibes as long or longer than the rest of the jibe maneuver.

    Clew First Jibe

    Beachstart or waterstart clew first and go right into the jibe. Move the sail forward and out to the clew side. As the board turns through downwind, bring the sail back around you to a close reach. There is no sail flip; it may feel like you are moving the sail to the opposite side.

    Switch Foot Jibe

    Start in regular position and switch the feet. Now FACE TO THE UPWIND SIDE. Turn your head to face into the wind and lean your body a little to windward. Look dead into the wind, NOT the way you are heading. Come out clew first with your feet already switched and go into the next maneuver. Note: this one is a lot of fun.

    Duck Jibe

    ONLY hold on to the clew end in a duck jibe or for a sail 180. That way you avoid the tendency to oversheet with your mast hand.

    4th Type of Jibe

    Under Construction.

    Return to Table of Contents


    Hook in with a forward movement of the hips, NOT by pulling in the sail with your arms. In a quick, smoothe action, and not moving any other parts of your body, bend the pelvis up and forward to the harness lines and then down. Keep shoulders way out over the water while maintaining a STILL RIG and still rest of the body. Commit your body weight fully to the harness; it should feel like you're leaning your back against a wall.

    To unhook, keep your shoulders way out over the water, lift your hips UP and OUT, gently loading the pull of the rig on to your arms. Al lthe action is done with the pelvis and hips, without moving the rest of your body.

    To avoid pulling in the sail with your arms when you hook and unhook, use straight (cantilevered) arms and push DOWN hard on the boom through to the mast foot to support your body and take the weight off the harness. Then pinch your stomach up to the harness lines (pinch your buttocks). To unhook, bring your stomach up to simply let the line fall out from the hook as it becomes unweighted. Pushing DOWN on the boom through to the mast foot does two things, (1) it allows you to take your weight off the harness, and (2) it puts more weight on the mast foot to keep the board down.

    Most important thing in hooking in is DON'T LOOK. Use your thumb to flip the harness lines up and/or down if you need to.

    Use one hand on top of the other to find the CE point on the boom for the harness lines. Boom height should be shoulder to neck high, or even a little higher. Don't spread the harness lines too wide — lines should be no more than about a fist apart.

    As the wind increases, the draft of the sail moves back and the harness lines will need to be readjusted back as the balance point moves back. In lighter winds everything should be moved forward.

    Hand positioning - Place your hands on the boom with the thumbs up, claw like. This helps prevent death gripping the boom, and helps you to hang down on the boom rather than using arm muscles.

    Hand positioning - Place your hands close together on the boom, then relax them; whichever hand must grip the boom first is where you need to move the harness line.

    In light winds, sail with elbows down, body close to boom. In light winds, you hang down on the boom more than out against the sail pull (there isn't enough sail pull to hang out against).


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    Getting On A Plane (Use all 3 of your feet)

    What is it about planing that produces so much adrenaline,

    1. The thrill of going fast?
    2. The fear of dying?
    You know the answer, don't you? The second one wins hands down. Your first time on a plane beats bungy jumping for sheer terror. A pint of adrenalin floods your system.

    Your first time getting on a plane usually happens by accident. A hurricane sized gust comes up and thrusts you up on top of the water despite your doing everything wrong. In an instant you're going 100 mph with your feet just inches above the water, feeling on the edge of a catapult about to slingshot you to the moon.

    But have faith, there will come a point where it becomes a natural act. There will be a gradual accumulation of skill through repetition that will allow YOU to be in control, instead of the board controlling you and whipping you about like an out of balance sack of potatoes.

    It will probably happen first thanks to a rare combination of bio-rhythms, Ibuprofen and an early night. Everything you try will just seem to work out. And you'll come back to the beach, chest puffed out like a stuffed turkey, pretending not to notice all the admiring glances.

    ABK's "Shift through five gears" method to get on a plane in the straps:

    1. 1st gear "Gather Speed".   Face front foot forward astride the mast base; front foot forward helps prevent catapults. Keep the board FLAT, weight on the CL. As the nose of the board begins to come out of the water the CLR will move back due to less board being in the water. Gradually move your feet (and weight) back on the board in concert with the CLR moving back. Rake the sail back with you as you go back on the board.

    2. 2nd gear "Move Back On The Board".   The more speed you have, the further back on the board you can move. As the CLR moves back, move the CE back with it, by moving you and the rig back. As your speed increases, the apparent wind increases; the result is like being headed, so you will naturally be sheeting the sail in closer to the board.

    3. 3rd Gear "Hang Out On The Board".   Thrust butt WAY OUTBOARD more than downish (OUT not straight down), almost in a waterstart position. Then, PUSH LEGS STRAIGHT against and across board, and begin to stand UP AND OUT. Hang out, away from board and rig; straighten legs and PUSH HARD AND FORWARD ON TOES until you're completely upright and WAY, WAY hiked out. BODY IS STRAIGHT from feet to head. PUSH HARD ON TOES to maintain board level. Be sure back foot is astride the CL. TRY TO DEPRESS THE LEEWARD RAIL with toes. THEN HOOK IN. Hook in by coming up from below the harness lines.

    4. 4th Gear "Front Foot In".   Put front foot in the strap. You do this by putting more pressure (body weight) on the harness (lean out against it hard, with your shoulders WAY outboard, at the same time sliding hips over back leg. Put a downward pull on the boom; pull toward your knees, not your chest.

      Use your back foot and the "third foot" (mast foot pressure through the harness) to support your body. Think - PUSH YOUR BELLY BUTTON THROUGH TO YOUR BACK SIDE, even to the point of rounding your shoulders a little. Push with your toes to keep the board flat. NO WEIGHT ON HEELS.

    5. 5th Gear "Back Foot In".   Keep moving weight back on the board. Move back foot against the back strap. Put the back foot in by getting in the "upwind stance", i.e., push rig aft and body forward, bringing hips (and weight) over front foot. You'll be almost looking around front of mast. Weight the harness, LIFT FRONT HEEL, and, with weight off of the back foot, slide back foot into the strap.

    Tips Peter DeKay Planing

    Some More Good Ideas/Tips

    The Tips Keep Coming

    Note to self. Self, you need to work on:

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    Getting In The Straps

    The trick to getting in the front strap, 4th gear, is to put ALL your weight on the harness.

    To get the back foot in, 5th gear, you have to have your weight on the front foot. To best do that safely, push the rig back against the body forward in an action/reaction stance.

    Move your feet against both straps to feel them, to know where they are before you step in them.

    In the learning stages, hook in before backing up on the board and getting into the footstraps.

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    Place your hands shoulder width apart and your front foot and front knee turned forward and just behind the mast foot ON THE CENTER LINE.

    Bend your knees and hang your rear end toward the back of the board and to windward. With the mast tilted forward and the sail sheeted out, start to rake the mast back and sheet in the sail with your back shoulder.

    Next, straighten your knees and drive your hips inward, pushing the board forward. Drive mostly on the front knee, so you don't put too much pressure on the fin to spin it out. As you recoil your body to the start position, hop your feet backward each time down the centerline toward the straps. Once you are at the straps, get in the straps and hook in and go.

    Note: After each pump your board speed will increase and therefore, you can't sheet out the sail as far as on the previous pump or the apparent wind will backwind the sail.


    You steer on a plane moving your body weight (CLR) forward and aft. Later, when you're good at it, you can use rail steering, but first master body weight steering.

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    Butt Sailing

    Butt Sailing is a good "self rescue" technique to get you home when you're overpowered. It also allows you to rest a little as you're doing it. It's a great drill for sail control and waterstart practice. Or if you need to get to the windline, butt-sail to it until you have enough wind to waterstart. It's much easier than swimming the board there.


    Get in the butt sailing position, both feet on the board. Now pull in with the back foot, under your body, to turn the board downwind. Turn the board as far downwind as you can, even past 6. Your butt should be aft, even with the stern or aft of it to allow room for the stern to cross. Now CROSSOVER the front foot to the far side of the back foot and almost behind it and use it to continue pushing the board around in the same direction. Now take the old back foot and put it on the new side as the front foot. You will now be butt sailing clew first.

    An added trick is to continue into a clew first waterstart from the new jibed position.

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    Your first waterstart will probably be a surprise. Okay, I know, you ARE practicing it, trying to do one, but, in truth, you really don't believe it will happen. It may even happen by "mistake" when you are practicing butt sailing and sheet in a little too hard, or roll your feet up and onto the board from the rails by mistake.

    The first time is a crude thing. It happens more by an act of God than from anything clever that you do. A hurricane sized gust comes up and heaves you up on top of the water with all the efficient elegance of a drugged elephant being hoisted onto a pickup truck. You're so excited (and surprised) that you immediately dump the sail, turn around and rush back to the beach to ask everyone if they witnessed your "beautiful" waterstart.

    Then it's back out on the water to try your "magic move" again. At this point, in your waterstart career, it's more of a passive move. You lie there and wait for the next cyclone to do it's stuff. If it doesn't turn up, you wait, back foot on the board, sail held high, helplessly being blown downwind. You don't control the situation, it controls you. And, guess what, in all sports that's where the enjoyment stops.

    But there eventually comes a point in your waterstart career where it will become a natural act, something you don't even think about – like driving a car. There's a gradual accumulation of skill through repetition that allows YOU to control the waterstart, instead of IT controlling you. Trust me, it will happen for you, too. After a squillion hours of thrashing about like that, everything will slip into place and you can be waterstarting like Robby, Bjorn, and Matt, and maybe even . . . the Tom Dogger.

    There Are Four Parts To The Waterstart:

    The Four Parts Of The Waterstart
      1. Positioning The Board And Rig ("solving the sail puzzle").
      2. Clearing The Sail.
      3. Flying The Sail.
      4. Mounting The Board (This is the easiest part).
    The first two parts, positioning the board and rig and clearing the sail, are, BY FAR, the hardest, most complicated, most exhausting, part. The best advice I can give you is to treat the "mast perpendicular to the wind" position with precision; i.e., even just 10° off the ideal can make clearing the sail harder.

    To lever the sail around to perpendicular using the mast, stay in place treading water and place your two hands about 3 feet apart, with the mast hand 2 to 3 feet above the boom clamp, then push with one hand, pull with the other.

    To lever the sail around using the board, swim the board by it's stern end or bow end around until it is next to the mast and moves the sail with it as it swings around. Then stay in place and push/pull/kick the board where you want it.

    There are two methods to use to clear the sail, corresponding to whether the sail is floating free of the board (the "off the water" method), or whether you are using the buoyancy of the stern (or bow) to help lift the sail clear of the water (the "off the board" method).

    The Off The Board Method

    The off the board method is the easiest way to clear the sail because it uses the buoyancy of the board to help clear the sail. This method is the one shown in the excellent 2004 video by Dasher, "The ABC's of Waterstarting". Dasher calls this, "The Ideal Position".


    For the off the board method, first position the mast perpendicular to the wind, then scissors the board to where the mast is (rotate the bow around and over the top of the sail if the bow is next to the mast). The board is then at 3/9 o'clock and the mast beside it on the leeward side. We can now rake the boom up and across tail of board, using the boom as leverage to raise the sail out of the water. Remember -- position the sail FIRST, then rotate the board to the sail.

    As you clear the sail and start to fly it, place your upwind hand on the mast and your other hand on a back foot strap. Then scissor your arms apart super- wide, sweeping the sail far away from the back of the board to the side as you push the board away from the sail.

    The Off The Water Method

    The off the water method is a little harder to clear the sail, however, it requires less swimming of the board and the sail. With this method, you swim to the mast and lever it until it is perpendicular to the wind and clear it directly from the water without the aid of the board underneath it.

    PART 1 — Positioning the board and rig.

    The good news is that there are only 4 ways the sail can fall.

    The bad news is that, to you, it will always seem that your sail has fallen in a yet undiscovered way, due perhaps to some punishment you still deserve from a childhood prank.

    Dude, don't panic. Rest assured there are only 4 different ways, one of which is the way you wanted it in the first place (to be sure that we all pay our proper dues, the windsurfing Gods see to it this almost never happens for beginners). The four ways are divided into two groups according to:

    (1) RIG ON WINDWARD SIDE, clew towards the stern.
    (2) Rig on windward side, mast towards stern.
    (3) RIG ON LEEWARD SIDE, clew towards the stern.
    (4) Rig on leeward side, mast towards stern.

    The easiest group is the sail on the leeward side of the board. Number 4, rig on leeward side, mast at the stern is the one we want, the one that makes the next step, Clearing The Sail, easy. So that leaves only 3 positions that we have to "solve".

    Left on it's own, the rig will usually sea anchor itself to the windward side (filled with water, the rig is considerably heavier than the board so it tends to drag on the upwind side as the lighter board floats downwind). As luck would have it, this is the very side of the board you would prefer NOT to have the sail on. You'll have from 30 seconds to a minute before the rig sea anchors itself, so if the rig falls on the leeward side, you'll need to scramble about very quickly to take advantage of that positioning.

    If the rig is on the windward (upwind) side of the board, swim the board around until the rig is on the leeward side. Then with the rig on the leeward side, that leaves only two possibilities, either clew towards the stern or mast towards the stern. But mast towards the stern is what we want, so sail puzzle, Number 2 (sail on the windward side, mast to the stern) has been solved by swimming the board around upwind of the sail.

    That leaves two clew to the stern positions to solve, Number 3 (rig on leeward side, clew at the stern), and Number 1 where the rig was on the windward side but we swam the board around upwind of the rig so that the Number 1 sail puzzle became the same as Number 3.

    For the clew to the stern puzzle, push the nose of the board towards the mast, and then use your body weight to push the board under the rig. Then rotate the nose around until the stern comes close to the mast, so that you can scissor them together.

    Alternate method for position number 3 — swim the bow around in a big wide circle until the mast is perpendicular to the wind. Raise the mast as you begin swimming backward into the wind, two hands on the mast about halfway up from the boom. Half of your body will be just under the sail and parallel to it. Swim upwind using the frog kick. Keep raising the sail over your head until it clears, then swim a little more to be sure. Now, pull the boom and board close to you until you can put your back hand on the boom.

    Alternate method for position number 4 — Swim the board downwind until the clew tip is pointing into the wind. Then, swim out to it and flip the sail to leeward side. To flip the clew, reach under the sail at the boom, and with both hands vertically on the boom, lift it up and pull it out of the water. Keep climbing your hands down the boom and lifting and raising it higher and higher and pulling it towards you as you do until the wind catches it and flips it.

    Alternate method for position number 1 — Same as for alternate method number 3; swim the board until the sail is perpendicular to the wind.

    Tips For Positioning The Board And Rig

    Flipping The Sail In The Water: PART 2 — Clearing The Sail.

    For the "off the board" method, place back hand on tail of board, front hand on mast. Draw sail onto tail of board. Push the tail under with back hand will help. Use front hand to draw the sail across your head to windward and slightly upward (very slightly upward - don't sink the clew).

    For the "off the water" method, to clear the sail, put your mast hand about two hand widths above the boom (12 inches) and your other hand, shoulder width, farther up the mast. The board can be positioned into the wind or anywhere; don't worry where the board is, fly the sail high and it will come to you (really, you to it).

    To get the sail out of the water, swim the mast so that it is just coming up to perpendicular to the wind (just before to allow for moving it towards the wind as you swim it more). Then start "pulling the table cloth from underneath the dishes" a little at a time as you do frog kicks swimming up wind. Raise the mast slightly out of the water so the water runs off the leach end. Pull the sail out of the water AT THE SAME ANGLE that it is laying in the water.

    Don't lift the mast too high as your are "pulling the table cloth"; pull it more across your body and back. Lifting the mast too high too soon is the cause of sinking the clew. Find the happy medium, where you have enough wind under the sail to lift the clew out of the water but not so much that it sinks the clew. Resist the urge to fly the sail too early; WAIT until the clew has popped out of the water.

    When you are pulling the sail out of the water, pull the sail out of the water AT THE SAME ANGLE that it is laying in the water. Think of trying to pull a board out of the ground. You pull PARALLEL, IN THE SAME ANGLE/DIRECTION as the board is stuck in the ground.

    Do NOT try to fly the sail, until the clew is COMPLETELY out of the water.

    When you are flying the sail, crossing it over your head, place your mast hand ON THE MAST above the boom, NOT on the boom. If it's on the boom coming across your head, it makes forces in all the wrong directions.

    PART 3 — Flying The Sail.

    Find neutral BEFORE you put your hands on the boom, i.e., you find neutral with the hands on the mast and the back of the board.

    As you start to fly the sail, place your backhand on boom, farther back for more leverage and the front hand just in front of the harness lines. Having the hands too far forward is a common mistake. Sheet in lightly, while feathering the sail, and place front hand on boom normal position.

    The best practice for learning to fly the sail is to do it on the beach in a seated position by the side of the board.

    PART 4 — Mounting The Board.

    Mounting the board is the easiest part of the waterstart; it's all about reducing your arc of movement and getting your center of gravity over your feet as early as possible.

    VERY IMPORTANT → At the moment of raising the sail, the tip of the mast should be pointed at 11:30 so as to show the maximum amount of sail area to the wind when you mount. If it gets to 12, you will be thrown forward, but you'll need 11:30 in order to get up in lighter winds. Your body should be out away from the board, angled closer to right angles to the board rather than angled towards the back. This position will expose the maximum sail area to the wind as you rise.

    VERY IMPORTANT → When mounting the board, PULL IT UNDER YOU with your back foot. Drive the rear knee towards the mast; this will help shift your body weight toward the middle of the board.

    Biggest thing for getting up on waterstart is to BEND THE BACK LEG AT THE KNEE and pull the board under you with the heel of the back foot.

    Do not be over anxious to get your front leg up on the board. Drag it in the water alongside until your weight is ENTIRELY over the top of the board, then pick it up onto the board.

    Don't lift your front leg on to the board until your weight is totally over the board and the mast is almost vertical so you can hang your weight down the mast into the mast foot. Get the sail forward and over the board before you bring your front foot on the board. In strong winds go ahead and use both feet to bleed off the power.

    Standard Waterstart Sequence (position SAIL FIRST, THEN THE BOARD)

    1. Swim the board upwind of the sail (just the opposite of the way the sail ends up if left on its own, sea anchoring itself upwind).

    2. Position the board at 3-9 o'clock; higher if overpowered, lower if underpowered.

    3. With backhand on the tail of the board and front hand on the mast, scissor the sail onto the tail of the board. Push the tail under the sail with your back hand, using the front hand at the same time to draw the sail windward and up.

    4. Place back hand on boom, aft of the normal position (to have more sheeting power), sheet in lightly, feathering the sail, and place front hand on boom near the front harness strap.

    5. Place back foot on board with arch of foot FACING FORWARD and knee POINTING BACK. Keep front leg extended down in the water to prevent drifting downwind and de-powering the sail.

    6. Tuck front leg out and behind you; bend it and point its knee down to the bottom to help you get it back.

    7. Bend your back leg, trying to bring the board under your butt; bend forward rather than standing up straight. Rise on the board with the FRONT ARM STRAIGHT and both arms held high above your head. As you mount, sheet in; it WILL FEEL LIKE A BOW AND ARROW maneuver or a pumping action.

    8. Stay low and don't try to bring up the front leg until your body weight is directly and completely over the board. Think of stepping up on a high stair with your head going first. DO NOT try to stand upright too quickly; wait until your body is over the board hanging down on the boom.

    9. In lighter winds, start with hands further aft on the boom, so that you can thrust the rig more forward, with the mast more vertical so you can hang your body more easily on it.

    Cannonball Start.

    With the board overturned on top of the mast, position the board at 2 o'clock. Put your body into a tight ball, head down, knees way up into chest. Hold hands WAY high and sheet the sail, to move body towards the board. Wait to put both feet on until you get to the board and keep sail forward, towards the bow.

    Light Wind Waterstart Techniques

    Crash Tack

    To practice waterstarts, use the crash tack. Turn up to 12, then way oversheet (like you do for a carve jibe) to continue turning past 12, then push (lay) the mast down at the back of the board and jump off OVER the mast. Turn around in the water and raise sail and you're in the position for a waterstart. For the jump over the mast, make it aggressive or you won't make it over; you might punch a hole in the sail with your harness hook.

    Overall Tips


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    Planing Jibe

    The jibe is the elemental maneuver in windsurfing; it compares to a golf swing in elegance, importance and complexity. It is a momemtum based maneuver with most of the success stemming from the speed and smoothness of the entry. The better the entry, the more speed you carry into the turn to help your board maintain a plane all the way through.

    BEFORE you begin any jibe, look to your jibe finish point to be sure you're safe for the turn, and that no one is behind you. Think start at the head, go to the feet — go head, gut, feet. Eyes = look around; gut = unhook, feet = take back foot out and slide it across to the other side.

    Steps for the carve jibe:

    1. Look around and downwind. Clear the area.

    2. Reach back on the boom, about half way back. Move it at least a foot back; this helps in unhooking and the oversheeting phase; it gives you more leverage over the sail and more power in the sail.

    3. Unhook smoothly (don't change sail set). Use hips only, not elbows. Do NOT disrupt the sail trim while unhooking.

    4. Allow the board to settle — arms straight, legs straight, body low as when beginning to plane. IMPORTANT: Keep your speed up; don't start the jibe if you have lost speed before you start.

    5. Slide, not step, back foot out of strap and across board to the leeward side, facing 45 ° forward, halfway between front and back straps.

    6. Allow the sail to pull you up and over to the leeward side. Decrease the pressure on the toes to get more upright and over the board. Roll ankles softer to come up over board. Carve around to 6 o'clock.

    7. Move sail back and sheet in hard by pushing forward with the front hand and BENDING back hand behind you. Overhseet the sail; move sail back and BEHIND you, across the center line.

    8. Leave front foot in it's strap for the initiation phase. Just before 6 o'clock, open the sail and switch the feet.


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    Miscellaneous Golden Nuggets

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    Some Great Exercises

    How to Plane -- A Million Dollar Exercise

    It probably will first happen by mistake. You will be sailing out, woos wise, with an underpowered sail, but the wind will increase and a gust will come and magically whisk you up on a plane. Or better yet, your skill level tells you that you are ready for it and you want to try it. Get ready for the thrill of a lifetime -- "And we are never, ever the same".

    Here is a really GREAT exercise for you to prepare yourself for the experience, and the key to making it happen.

    Get a friend or relative to help you with this. Explain to them in advance, how it is going to work, Now, grab their two hands, both of you with your arms outstretched. Now do a "lean of faith" all the way back and tell them to balance your weight as though they were the wind. Do not push on your feet and toes yet, simply relax your weight backwards.

    Now do Case I and Case II below.

    Case I - Tell them to gradually increase the pressure against you as much as they can. Tell them to plant their feet well and push against their feet to hold you. As the pressure increases, oppose it by pushing on your feet. Don't push so much as to cause them to fall over into you, only enough to just stay in balance.

    As they increase the pressure, you are simulating higher and higher winds. Have them keep increasing the push and pressure through their feet while you continue to lean back more and more and at the same time pressing harder and harder with your toes. All the time, your arms and body straight forming a figure "7".

    Practice this each day until you can lean back further and further each time. The key will be to thrust your shoulders AND your head way, way far back, and to push VERY hard on your toes. This is the way to plane, to go "scary fast".

    Case II - Do the same thing, but now don't push on your feet. Simply try to lean back. You will find that as soon as your friend increases the pressure, you will be pulled over into them, i.e., pulled over to windward. This is NOT the way to plane, this will get you pulled over to windward and the sail yanked out of your hands.

    If you can't of don't want to get a friend to help you with this, do a "mind experiment (Einstein style). Do it as you're falling to sleep each night.

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    Sailing Backwinded (Leeside Sailing)

    To get into the leeside sailing position begin a regular tack, i.e., step-cross-push. Well before 12 o'clock, step around and cross to the other side to place yourself on the lee side. Sail RELAXED AND ERECT (stand up straight, hips in); extend your arms -- a STRAIGHT front arm with back hand OFF the boom or just LIGHTLY resting on it with your palm open or with just two fingers. Bring the mast forward as you come around to be sure that you don't tack up into the wind. The foot of the sail should be resting against your back shin.

    Sweep the sail out of your way to the windward side of the board with your new front hand. Envision yourself sailing on the original side of the sail. Keep both hands positioned well forward on the boom.

    Leave your front arm STRAIGHT and as close to the mast as possible on the boom. Keep the back hand just behind the balance point. Make sure that the clew of the sail is on the leeward side of the board sharing space with your body. The foot of the sail will be leaning against your shin and your hips should be forward of your shoulders.

    To escape from leeside sailing, simply reverse the plié back around the front of the mast where you came from, or, "complete" the tack by tilting the sail back until the board turns through the eye of the wind, then throw it forward, bow and arrow style, and pop and drop to fall off the wind.

    A more elegant exit is to recover to clew first position. REACH BACK, STEP BACK AND ARCH THE BACK. Allow the sail to swing around it's balance point by reaching back with your back hand; throw the mast/rig forward, push the mast as far forward as you can, then let go of your mast hand (put it behind your back), and, at the same time, push the back hand through. Step back and catch the sail in the clew first position. Think of a string tied between your front hand and your back foot; when you lift your front hand off the boom, at the same time lift your back foot up and back. Try to keep the mast into the wind.

    Alternative entry is with a helicopter tack. Steer through the wind, throw sail forward, backwind to a reach and sail off backwinded. Another entry is "follow the clew". Sail clew first, come upwind, flip the sail (level the boom first) and step around plié tack style, as you catch sail on the other side. Yet another way is a duck tack, by releasing the back hand, stepping back and under the sail as the clew rotates leeward, and grabbing the boom on the other side. Throw the mast forward as you release your back hand.

    4 Ways To Get Into Backwind Sailing Position

    1. Come up to 12 o'clock, continue oversheeting well past 12, then backwind the sail.

    2. Come up to an hour or two before 12 o'clock, and do the tack footwork to the other side.

    3. Duck tack entry -- start with switch foot stance, then do duck tack to other side and backwind it.

    4. Clew first entry -- starting from clew first, FOLLOW THE CLEW. Do fast tack plié footwork around the mast to the backwind side. It will feel a lot like the Sail and Body 360 move.


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    Clew First Sailing

    To get into the clew first sailing position do a pivot jibe, or do half of a sail 360 (the sail duck part), or do half of a helicopter tack, or do a clew first beachstart.

    The clew hand is now your front hand and should be stationary and as CLOSE TO THE CLEW AS POSSIBLE. The mast will be way outboard to leeward and will be quite heavy, so lean your head to windward against that weight and keep your rear end tucked in. You sheet in and out with your mast hand; let go of mast hand to luff.

    To steer, think of raising or lowering the clew. The clew should be pointing skyward during clew first sailing. While keeping the sail powered, raise the clew higher to steer more upwind, and lower the clew to sail more downwind. The more you steer upwind, the more difficult it will be to control the sail. When in doubt, sail downwind to gain control.

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    Clew First Beachstart

    1. Start with a regular beachstart set up for going in the OPPOSITE reach from the one you want for your clew first beachstart. Power up the sail with hands further down the boom; front hand at harness lines and clew hand about a foot more aft than normal.

    2. Gradually turn the board towards and past downwind, moving your body to the other side, the new windward side, as you do. When past 6 o'clock about an hour, and clew first powered, mount the board. Be sure you are starting with the clew hand (now the forward hand) half WAY DOWN THE BOOM, and mast hand (the new power hand) at the front harness line.

    3. To sheet in and get power for the step up, pull in the mast hand. Feather the mast hand and push with the front (clew) hand, i.e., keep front arm very straight to get up. As you mount, MOVE THE MAST OUTBOARD across the board so you steer upwind instead of downwind (board turns in opposite direction from the side the sail CE is on).

    4. After mounting, LET GO the mast hand to de-power the sail, balance it and get the feel of where the sail set should be. Then, replace mast hand on boom with LIGHT PRESSURE. Avoid pointing too high; the sail becomes too unstable in this position and too difficult to handle and flip. If overpowered, INCLINE upper body and head way back to counter the pull of the sail - HIPS IN AND HEAD UP.

    5. Exit with the same sail flip as with exit from pivot jibe. Hey, bring the mast upright as you do this, or you'll lose the rig to the leeward. And for God's sake, head up, chin up --> attitude.

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    Helicopter Tack


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    Sail 360

    1. Same idea as the non planing duck jibe. Key is to put the new front hand WAY FORWARD on the new boom side. Keep the mast vertical at the end phase of the maneuver; think bring the mast across your body.

    2. Under Construction

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    Sail And Body 360

    Whether tacking, freestyling, or jibing; look where you want to go and your body will follow, and this is particularly true for the Sail and Body 360. Generally speaking, when freestyling, it's your front foot that moves first, as your back foot is already over the center line. The Sail and Body 360 is no exception.

    1. Start with the board sailing at right angles to the wind, beam reach to broad reach.

    2. Sheet out, MOVE YOUR MAST HAND UP NEXT TO THE MAST, and lean the mast windward using only the front hand. Then step or turn your front foot away from the sail (to windward) perpendicular to the CL facing in the way you are going to turn. With the next step, step in front of, and a little around, the mast foot, with your front foot, shifting your weight to it. Your feet will be straddling the mast foot with your toes pointed to the windward side.

    3. Now bring your back foot up into a plié position behind the front foot (similar to the footwork for a fast tack). Continue to control the sail with your front hand; sheet OUT the clew, do not push it yet with the back hand even though your impulse is to do that.

    4. Next pull the mast aft, up and along the center line as you push on the clew with an open palm (backwind the sail) and the mast will rotate around the universal.

    5. KEEP VERTICAL OVER THE MAST BASE with your arms extended. STAND ERECT and over the CL; keep your back straight. Do not bend at the waist or lean into the sail. Keep your HEAD UP and looking ahead to the exit points. Continue to move your feet throughout the entire maneuver.

    6. plié around quickly and push the clew aggressively through wind; as the sail powers up; pop and drop. Let out the power hand as the sail flies to the other side. KEEP THE MAST NEAR YOUR BODY.

    7. As the rig swings around, BRING THE MAST UPRIGHT AND ACROSS YOU towards the nose of the board so you don't lose it. I.e., think and visualize bringing the sail 15- 30° BEYOND 360° so as to not lose the rig to leeward. Think of honking the mast across the board to windward as the last final move as you sheet in and drop at the same time (pop and drop). Don't place your foot too far back on the stern as you come around. Keep BOTH FEET NEAR THE MAST.

      Note: The reason you lean the mast towards the wind, is so that when you backwind it, it's already leaning over (less power in it). The windier it is, the further you'll need to lean the mast windward. Better to lean it over too much, than to lean it over too little. After the backwind phase, bring the mast back to, or past, vertical (same idea as when coming out of the backwinding part of a helicopter tack).


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    Low Wind Duck Jibe

    1. SLIDE-THROW-CROSS-GO. SLIDE the back hand back on the boom. Let go with front hand and throw the sail (the boom) forward and DOWN, over your head, with the back hand. CROSS the front hand back to the clew and look to the new side of the boom. When the boom crosses over your head, pull it hard back over your shoulder to the stern on the other side of you and let go. Then GO for your new front hand as far forward as possible, well IN FRONT OF THE HARNESS LINES (this is the key make or break part of the maneuver.).

    2. VERY IMPORTANT → In light winds, start the flip at 6:00 or 6:10, so that when you pull the sail back, it SLICES directly into the eye of the wind behind you. SHEET OUT as you grab on the new side.

    3. DOUBLE VERY IMPORTANT → The new front hand must grab the boom FORWARD OF THE HARNESS LINES. With that position, you'll be able to make up for any errors or sloppiness in the rest of the maneuver.

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    Duck Tack

    Switch the feet first, then steer upwind, followed by throwing the sail forward to grab the clew end with the front hand to throw it aside and catch it on the other side. See video at

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    Fin First Sailing

    Starting From Beach Method

    Starting From In Irons

    Starting From Other Positions

    Steering and Recovery


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    1. Preparation: Stand upright; after you let go of the rig, you won't have it for balance. Stand over the middle of the board, either side of the mast foot, front foot forward of the mast foot. Move your back hand back on the boom (this helps to be able to throw the rig further forwards with the back hand when you let go with the front hand).

      Start with the rig close to you by bending your arms, so you can more powerfully push it away from you. Sail on a beam reach and turn slightly upwind to help backwind the sail during the boomeranging part of the maneuver.

    2. Sheet in slightly with the back hand, slicing the rig forwards. Let the front hand go and throw rig down and forward WITH THE BACK HAND, the mast heading just downwind of the nose of your board while you're pulling on your back hand to power up the sail at the same time. Just as you let go of the boom push hard with your back hand, sheeting out hard, to provide the backwinding that will boomerang the sail back to you.

    3. To get more thrust with the throw, before you start, first, swing the rig back with your arms bent so it's cocked and ready to be thrown forwards aggressively.

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    Backwind Tack

    1. Begin as with any tack, or, much like the entry into backwind sailing. Start the transition well before turning fully into the wind.

    2. After the plié, you'll be leeside sailing for a short time. Resist the backwind pressure of the sail and keep it raked back to continue turning through the eye of the wind.

    3. As the backwind pressure decreases, slowly bring the sail upright and your upper body forward to counter the pull of the sail in it's new position. Don't pop the sail too early. As the sail rotates and loads with power, hang from the boom to counter the pull.

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    Backwind Jibe

    1. Start by getting into the leeside sailing position. Put BOTH feet aft of the mast, with the back foot WAY back; separate them a lot. Place the back hand WAY back on the boom; separate the two hands a lot.

    2. As you begin the initial turn downwind. move the rig forward and out to the windward side to get the CE outboard and help the turning moment.

    3. Realize that as you're turning downwind, the apparent wind drops and it will be necessary to move the sail and rig higher (more vertical) in order to catch the available wind (in the standard leeside sailing position, it is held in an extreme windward (low) position). Adjust the height of the mast and rig to match the wind strength. Push the sheet arm a little to power up.

    4. Sail PAST 6 o'clock before you push the clew through the wind. Concentrate on bringing the mast back to vertical position on recovery.

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    Body Drag

    1. Start the maneuver on a broad reach, turn upwind a little so that when you turn downwind later you'll develop the power to bring you back up on the board. Step backward off the side of the board, back leg first, followed immediately by your front leg. Step off lightly; it's not a jump. Drag only your legs, not your body, and stay directly alongside your board.

    2. Drag and plane on only the bottom half of your legs; try to skim them along the surface of the water. When you step off the board and drag your body over the water, try to hang almost all your weight down on the mast before stepping off. This keeps the body from sinking in the water and allows you to maintain board speed and power in your sail.

    3. Keep rig upright and arms bent to maintain body out of water. Drag the least amount of body as possible

    4. Point downwind to give you enough power to mount the board again. Pull your legs back up onto the board before you lose too much speed. Raise your rig to aid in the lift.

    5. Place your attention (your nose) and pressure on mast foot as in the waterstart.


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    Planing Duck Jibe [Tom Notes and p40 Windsport #99]

    1. This maneuver is easiest to learn with a smaller size sail (5.0-6.0), hence, a more manageable boom length to handle ("duck"). This will mean winds in the 15-20 knot range.

    2. The most important factor is to duck the sail WELL BEFORE you get straight downwind. If you attempt it too late, you can't reach the new side of the boom without the sail ripping forward out of your hands. It wants to be only 1or 2 hours past beam reach when your board speed is approximately equal to the wind speed. There is no problem because there is no wind in the sail.

    3. VERY IMPORTANT to keep body still and head very tall. Stand tall and back. Put clew hand back and reach front hand over back to the clew, pushing the sail forward, allowing the rig to fall to leeward (to the inside of the turn). Keep weight on rail by thinking/visualizing that that you are doing a hand drag. Then bring sail back and catch with new front hand on the new side in front of the harness lines. Get the mast back past your back shoulder and keep the sail sheeted out. Keep the sail sheeted out and let the board carve past downwind, then switch feet.


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    Important Points And Aphorisms

    1. "My God! This is the most fun thing to do in the entire world!"
    2. Windsurfing – a divine dance with mother nature
    3. "It is never too late to become what you might have been."
    4. And we are never, ever the same.
    5. Windsurfing is life, the rest is just details
    6. "Every day sailing is a great day sailing."
    7. If you can ride a bike and throw a ball, you can windsurf.
    8. Windsurfing is a matter of assembling skills and building confidence incrementally.
    9. You need only two traits to learn and advance in windsurfing -- determination and perseverance.
    10. If you think you can, or if you think you can't, you're probably right.
    11. With each step what seemed insurmountable can become routine.
    12. "Once you figure things out, you wonder why you ever struggled at all".
    13. Numbers are our friends.
    14. If you aren't falling, you probably aren't pushing hard enough.
    15. Now that you mastered that one, go out there and try something new for two weeks and get slammed until you finally get it.
    16. Discoveries are made by NOT following instructions.
    17. Windsurfing is king and we are its tiny pawns.
    18. You gotta pay your dues.
    19. Fear is the great unhook motivator.
    20. Old Chinese proverb -- "Fall seven times, stand up eight."
    21. Courage is doing it afraid.
    22. Pain is weakness leaving the body!
    23. When we suffer, we get tougher.
    24. Adversity doesn't create character, it reveals it.
    25. Windsurfing: if it was easy they'd call it kite boarding.
    26. Windsurfing is like love — it requires balance, trust and a willingness to get hammered by the forces of nature.
    27. I'm an aficionado of two-star digs.
    28. Cha-ching, Bada-bing. . .. It's all good!
    29. Well, isn't that spaaacial!
    30. Did he say, "half-fast" windsurfer?
    31. It is easier to MAKE a sailing girlfriend than to FIND a sailing girlfriend.
    32. The couple that sails together stays together!
    33. Where your head goes, your body follows.
    34. Regardless of the maneuver, looking ahead is the simple, yet extremely effective solution.
    35. If you can't hang, you can't plane.
    36. High booms help early planing.
    37. Go big or go home.
    38. The jibe is the elemental maneuver in windsurfing; it compares to the golf swing in importance and complexity.
    39. The waterstart did for windsurfing, what the printing press did for publishing. Both enabled major expansion, initiated dramatic new techniques, and generally got things out of the Dark Ages.
    40. Not being in footstraps is like driving the Autobahn in a Porsche without a third, fourth, or fifth gear.
    41. High-wind sailing without footstraps is like snow skiing without bindings.
    42. The board is just a device to ride the fin.
    43. Once you have enough downhaul add some more.
    44. Damn this hobby is expensive! Go NASDAQ, go!
    45. Why is bra singular and panties plural?
    46. She didn't know who sail number US1111 belonged to, so I told her to get a new boyfriend.
    47. Sailing scary fast -> (1) To sail your shorts off. (2) To sail faster than you've ever sailed, 'til your eyes bleed, you pee your pants, and your shadow is two seconds behind you.
    48. The strongest and most efficient position for windsurfing is hips up and in.
    49. He looks like he'd be more comfortable sitting on a John Deere.
    50. A sun tan is a harmful side effect of having fun, NOT an endeavor.
    51. He seems to be in the later stages of entropy.
    52. There are 10 kinds of people. Those who understand binary, and those who don't.
    53. You notice you can think about windsurfing during sex, but you rarely think about sex during windsurfing
    54. You buttered your bread, now you gotta sleep in it.
    55. Perhaps she inhaled too much Coppertone over these last years to see this fact.
    56. Sail Fast, Live Slow!

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    Links (Under Construction)


    1. Royn Barthold US-221
    2. Christopher Thames
    3. Continent Seven
    4. The Moves Collection (Denmark)
    5. Guy Cribb's Windsurf Magazine INtuition course (UK)


    1. American Windsurfer
    2. Windsurfing Magazine
    3. Boards Magazine (UK)
    4. Fuerza 7 (Spanish)

    Tom's Pages

    1. Beginner Lesson Plans
    2. Windsurfing Certification Page
    3. Tom's Bonaire Writeup
    4. Tom's South Padre Writeup
    5. Tom's Weather Page
    6. Tom's Business Page
    7. Tom - What He Does Now
    8. Tom's Bio
    9. Tom's Resume

    Other Neat Pages

    1. Enter the room, you see a window....
    2. I dreamed I had an interview with God.
    3. Restful and Peaceful
    4. Gipsy Kings Page

    Return to Table of Contents

    Go to Tom's Home Page     Send Tom an email     Go to Tom's Weather Page

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