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The March 2016 Issue of the world’s only monthly English-language windsurfing magazine is out now!

Subscribe or grab your copy now in either 

Digital or 

Print  versions!
(Prices include delivery anywhere globally 10 times a year.)

The Islands issue – Teahupoʻo tales from Robby Swift and Boujmaa Guilloul, Graham Ezzy muses about life on Maui, John Skye explores Gran Canaria’s other side, Raiatea – Lena Erdil’s adventures in a French Polynesia freeride spot, Isle of Wight waves – JC scores on his native island, Lancelin Ocean Classic event report, Peter Hart’s lessons learned 2015, Jem Hall high wind technique, Freeride tests: 115l. Boards & 6.5 sails.

Cover MARCH 353 480




Robby Swift and Boujmaa Guillol score the golden ticket to Tahiti and the twisting tubes of Teahupoʻo. Waves, wipeouts, pain and pleasure; the duo report from the famous reef.

Tahiti Medium

‘A little piece of paradise on earth, like windsurfing in an aquarium!’. Lena Erdil tells us more about her tropical tale of adventure in Ra’iatea, French Polynesia.


Despite eating his own body weight in barbequed #cow and #pig, our Pommie in Chief, JC, captured all the #Lancelin Ocean Classic  action for our exclusive pass to the event – #Lano-gram!


Friday the 13th! was strangely the day the Motley crew finally had everything go their way, no delays, no dramas just old fashioned going off on the Isle of Wight, JC reports.


Airton Cozzolino, the innovative kitesurfer, and Gollito Estredo, the windsurf Freestyle Champ, have both used their talents on the water to escape poverty, read their inspiring stories here.

RRD SKYE Bohnhof_2

Gran Canaria is famous for the beach of Pozo. Lesser known in the windsurf world is the other side of the island, home to the waves of El Paso and starboard tack down the line. John Skye gives the lowdown.


Maui is a paradise with many sides. Graham Ezzy reflects on his childhood there and life on windsurfing’s most famous island.



Board Intro

Fun, easy to use and designed for your pleasure; we test the latest freeride boards.



The team review the latest freeride sail designs, all aiming for a soft and easy-to-use power delivery.




Ph behind

Lessons Learned 2015 – Peter Hart reviews his year in the classroom; telling tales from school, he lets us know the good, bad and ugly from his year of coaching and the lessons learned.


Surfvival – Jem Hall gives us the tips and techniques to help with the windier and wavier stuff!


Looking for hard hitting, no holds barred journalism exposing the very latest in windsurfing?, well not quite but grab a biscuit and join us as we lift the lid on ‘new stuff’ right here.

We look at some of the latest thingy-ma-wotsits designed for getting your post Christmas gadget on.


Windsurfing and Islands go together like board and rig. The editor celebrates Island life from all points of the globe and its connection to windsurfing.

Is there a positive to a trip with no wind?, of course there is when Peter Hart, the master of wit and charm, is in town. Harty celebrates the joys of being skunked!


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Words  Nick Jones & Jem Hall // Photos  Nick Jones, Karel Tyc and Stephan Gölnitz

When one thinks of a visit to a Caribbean island, one tends toward the romantic notion that consists of azure warm waters gently lapping against bright white coral sand beaches that are fringed with tropical trees and plants. The locals are friendly with broad bright white smiles and wherever you go there is fresh fruit and fresh fish being fried or smoked, all to the soundtrack of steel drums or thumping (almost) sub-sonic bass. Around every corner there is the promise of authentic adventures and crazy characters who readily welcome you into their world.

However the reality is often one where the promise of the tourist dollar has transformed the idyll into a ‘Disney’ version – large cruise liners deposit their cargo of flabby and lazy humanity that just want an easy ride. Hawkers harangue them – trying to sell them inauthentic tat or fabricated food as they pass through a conveyor belt route of “must-sees” – each stop on the pre-determined itinerary a plastic version of what was once there. Tired and clichéd experiences that are packaged up and presented to the visitor as authentic – but neither party truly believing the charade that has been presented.

Thankfully Tobago falls into the former, rather than the latter. It retains much of its authenticity, thanks in large part to a local government that keeps a very tight control on development and ensures that the interests of its people and the environment are paramount  – resisting the lure of a quick buck offered by outside corporations that may wish to plunder the natural beauty of the island.

Tobago is a dream windsurfing location. Arriving out of the fag end of a murky, cold and gloomy British winter one is immediately struck by the brilliance of the light and the clarity of the water. The body’s immediate response is to take a deep breath and . . . . BREATHE – as the air escapes the lungs it feels like so much tension is being expelled. But maybe that is a little bit too mystical for you – even so, the Tobagans won’t let you hold onto stress. They are not in a rush. They have T . . I . . M . . E. Time to chew the fat; time to have a joke with you; time to swap some banter. If one’s life in Europe is the equivalent of rushing around in a sports car – well, when you arrive in Tobago you’re cruising around in a classic Citroen Mehari (look it up). At first the change of pace (and style) comes as a jolt – but soon the vibe gets under your skin and you can’t help but let the smile spread across your face and slow down the pace of your gait as you quickly slip into the languid rhythm of the Caribbean.

A quick anecdote that illustrates this culture shock was given to me by a friend who recounted a story from his first visit to Tobago. After the long flight from the UK he and his wife were impatient to get to the house that they had rented for their holiday. So they jumped into a taxi and gave the driver the address – a remote spot towards the north of the island. After 10 minutes or so of friendly banter with the driver, he pulls over by a bar and says he needs to quickly see someone inside, is that OK? My friend, a little exasperated, smiles and says “yes” through gritted teeth.

“What the hell is going on?”, he thinks, “I want to start my holiday”.

After a couple of minutes the driver comes back out to the car and invites them inside for a beer! My friends are befuddled and surprised, but in that moment, they realise the holiday has already started. They are now in Tobago time and so respond with a resounding “yes!” and a lifelong love of Tobago and its people has begun.

“But Jonesey, what of the windsurfing?” I hear you cry. I was visiting Tobago on a Sportif travel organised trip with a Jem Hall group. We left London in the dark of early morning – all wrapped up against the murk and the cold of a typical March day (it was 5 degrees) and we arrived mid-afternoon local time into a different world – a parallel universe. Goodbye to the rush and hustle-bustle of London and hello to a lightness and a brightness; hello to a more laid back tempo; hello to ‘Bago Time! The temperature was in the high 20’s and we are met by lots of smiling faces as we find our transfer and load up. In a jiffy we are at our hotel, the Toucan Inn, and being shown to our rooms.

The prevailing wind is cross-shore and low tide equals very flat water – great for all levels

The Toucan Inn is located in Crown Point, the village that is adjacent to Store Bay and Pigeon Point and Buccoo Reef, and it has to be one of the friendliest places I have stayed. Breakfast each morning was a joy – with a slight breeze blowing through each morning and watching the tropical birds flying around and listening to the chirrup of insects or the nearby cocks crowing. Certainly if you want peace, quiet and tranquillity then Tobago may not be the place – wherever you go there is some sort of noise – whether the exotic twitter of the tropical birds in the hotel gardens; the crowing of the cocks or the ubiquitous sound system and its insistent, thumping bass. It seems that Tobagans cannot move without an accompanying bass rhythm pounding out of their cars or from the sound systems that each street seller or bar will have.

“But Jonesey, what of the windsurfing?” I still hear you cry. Pigeon Point is our sailing spot. A short 10 minute transfer or a leisurely 25 minute stroll from the hotel, Pigeon Point is a Heritage Reserve – a national park if you will – and an example of the government’s desire to retain the natural beauty of the island. The previous owner was a local wealthy business man who 10 years ago decided to sell. Once the local government got wind that Sandals were keen to buy in order to develop a resort there – the government then purchased the land to keeps as a nature reserve. Development is minimal. It is a sandy point that is protected by offshore coral reefs (Buccoo Reef). There are a trio of bars/restaurants and the Radical Sports watersports centre and that’s it. The rest is untouched tropical lushness; coral sand and beautiful aquamarine water. Pigeon Point is protected by the large offshore reefs that make up Buccoo Reef – and is the reason that it is an idyllic flat water spot for sailing.

The Radical Sports HQ is a wooden structure set back from the beach in amongst the palm trees with a shaded grassy area to the front and side for rigging. To the other side is the Liming Lounge – a chillout zone with Brazilian bean bags and beach chairs set out under the palm trees. ‘Liming’ is Tobagoan slang for chewing the fat (which is English slang for a chin-wag) – so the Liming Lounge is aptly named – a place to hang out; recuperate with a cold beer; or just stare up into the palm fronds and feel the stress seep out of your body. At one point I overheard a client saying that this was the first time in 5 years that she has had the time to sit down and read a book!. This place – Pigeon Point – certainly gets under the skin; looking out at the crystal clear water, hearing the rustling of the palm fronds in the breeze – any cares seem a long way away. Certainly there is a laid back vibe at Radical Sports that fits with the rest of Pigeon Point. The owner Brett is Trinidadian and has a wealth of knowledge about the island and its history and culture and both him and his team are all really friendly and helpful.

The sailing area is a wide and open water area that is protected by Buccoo Reef system to the north. Buccoo Reef is a marine reserve and so any motorised craft passing Pigeon Point are speed restricted. The prevailing wind is cross-shore and low tide equals very flat water – great for all levels. The flat water combined with consistent winds means learning and improving any transitions or freestyle moves is made a whole lot easier.

One of the thrills that the group experienced out on the water was to see some small rays, beneath the water as they sailed past and occasionally some would breach adjacent to their boards!

Tobago is a great destination for non-windsurfing partners too. Pigeon Point itself is attractive; after all it is probably the most popular beach in Tobago. Who wouldn’t be satisfied with lying in a hammock strung up between two palm trees; enjoying the breeze, reading a book or having a snooze – occasionally going for a dip in the beautiful water?

Tobagans won’t let you hold onto stress. They are not in a rush

But should you want something more – Brett has SUPs available which you can paddle around the point. To the left of the sailing area there are small waves available (Sunset Left and Sunset Rights), perfect for first timers taking their first steps in the swell.

Elsewhere the island offers a host of other activities including sailing, surfing and scuba diving. Fantastic fishing whether inshore or off-shore. There’s also mountain biking, horse riding or bird watching. There are a number of guides available who can take you to explore some of the other beaches or into the interior of the island to explore tropical rain forest and waterfalls. Mt. Irvine is one of the better surf breaks and that is just to the north of Buccoo Reef and you can see the swell coming in from Pigeon Point.

So why should you come to Tobago? Why not? It’s a beautiful island; friendly people; great food; not expensive; and the best times to visit for windsurfing are January, February and March – the grimmest times for windsurfing in northern Europe. It’s a great way to kick start your sailing season by blowing away the cobwebs with a solid week of sailing. And should conditions not suit (whether the wind or your own condition!) there are plenty of other ways to enjoy yourself whether SUPing, surfing or just kicking back in the Liming Lounge with a cold beer or margherita!


When to visit
Tobago has a tropical climate being close to the equator and so has just two seasons. The dry season is December to May and the wet season June to November (Tobago is outside of the main hurricane zone). Average temperatures are pretty consistent throughout the year, varying slightly from 29˚C to 31˚C. However, changes in the wind direction can make the summer months feel much hotter than the winter months.

For windsurfing – the best months to visit are December to June.

Jem Hall’s clinics for 2016 are in he first 2 weeks of March with Sportif Travel –; +44 (0)1273 844919.

Places to Stay
Crown Point is your base for sailing at Pigeon Point. Sportif ( can organise travel, accommodation and kit hire packages for windsurfing trips to Tobago.

Below is a selection of property types in Crown Point:

  • Coco Reef Hotel ( – Upscale hotel with beach front location, beautiful gardens and spa.
  • Crown Point Beach Hotel ( – Hotel overlooks Store Bay with pool and bar. Short walk to the bars and restaurants of Crown Point and Pigeon Point beyond.
  • Toucan Inn ( – Good value option in Crown Point with bar and restaurant and pool area. Friendly staff.
  • Native Abode ( – Homely B&B on a residential street, but close to the bars and restaurants of Crown Point.

Army clothes
This is an odd one. Military (style) clothing cannot be worn in Trinidad and Tobago – so to be on the safe side leave the camouflage gear, and even cargo shorts, at home.

Where the hell are we?
Tobago is a small island (40km long by 10km wide) just to the north of its larger sister, Trinidad. Crown Point is a small town that is a mixture of residential, hotels, bars and restaurants. There is plenty of choice of drinking spots and eating spots. Each day we had a pre-arranged transfer from the Toucan Inn down to Pigeon Point and then back again in the evening. A few would choose to walk rather than take the transfer, since it is a pleasant 25 minute walk past the colourful street stalls of Crown Point with arts and crafts vendors and fishermen slicing up the morning’s catch.


Tobago is a very special place for me as I did quite a few clinics there back in the early noughties and some testing too. It also served as the last filming stop on the completion of my ‘Beginner to Winner’ coaching DVD and so it holds a big place in my heart. Heading back there made me excited and I was also anxious to see how it had all changed. I was not to be disappointed as I found the locals, whilst still laid back, had become dare I say it more pro active in their customer focus and there were so many more fun bars and eateries to choose from.

The windsurfing centre has had a major revamp and both the toys and staff were a joy to work with, there were lots of new style wide and easy Freemove boards and a whole host of sails. The atmosphere, and ‘liming’ was also fantastic, and the Radical Action Sports barbie night, with Brett Kenny and his crew, led to a fair few hangovers.

I have always had great results on my Tobago coaching clinics, the mix of windy and lighter wind sessions leads to a more steady improvement across all levels and the flat, shallow and warm waters also make my clients feel safe and more likely to step it up.

The hidden secret is that in the right swell and wind direction there is great starboard tack wavesailing out on Buccoo reef and I have had some killer sessions there. And round the corner from the centre is a hush hush, fab SUP spot with a nice left and a faster right breaking into shallower water channels, nice!! I’m already looking forward to my 2016 coaching weeks back there!


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The January/February 2016 Issue of the world’s only monthly English-language windsurfing magazine is out now!

Subscribe or grab your copy now in either 

Digital or 

Print  versions!
(Prices include delivery anywhere globally 10 times a year.)

The Far Shores issue – Antoine Albeau’s New Caledonia adventure to the Isle of Pines, Mauritius – the ultimate windsurfing playground, Jono Dunnett’s Round Britain windsurf circumnavigation, Pe’ahi power – Niño Jaws action, Alohagram – Aloha Classic commentary by John Skye, 105L crossover boards and 5.7 sails tested, Peter Hart’s crossover board tips and technique, Jem Hall – one-handed manoeuvres instruction, Freestyle World Champion Dieter Van-Der-Eyken interviewed, World travel guide.

WS352 480



Known as the closest island to Paradise, Antoine Albeau and friends headed to this little known tropical outpost to find out just how close to paradise they could venture.


John Carter reports from Le Morne, Mauritius, on an epic swell and an even more epic venue, offering windsurfing for all levels and all disciplines, the ultimate windsurfing playground.


The Aloha Classic decided the PWA wave titles in dramatic style. We breakdown some of the key players’ performances with John Carter’s JPEGs given John Skye’s expert commentary treatment.


Belgian sailor Dieter Van Der Eyken won the PWA freestyle crown with a calculated approach to winning, John Carter caught up with him to learn more about his winning formula.

41 year old Jono Dunnett become the first person to windsurf around Britain without an on-water support team. 98 days later, he completed his inspiring circumnavigation. This is his story.


On the eve of the Aloha Classic, the first big swell of the season lit up Maui’s most famous big wave – Pe’ahi – aka Jaws. JC captures the raw power and beauty and the riders tell their salty tales.

Our guide to some of the windsurfing hotspots around the world. If you’re in need of a solar powered recharge, then read on for our shortcuts.



The test team review the latest boards built for versatility.

FANATIC Freewave 106,
RRD Freestyle Wave V3 106,
STARBOARD Kode Freewave 103,
TABOU 3S 106,
JP FSW 102,
QUATRO Tetra 109,
GOYA One 105

The sails whose job it is to do it all, the team test 2016’s all-rounders.

NORTH Volt 5.9,
SEVERNE Gator 6.0,
RRD Move 5.7,
EZZY Elite 5.7,
GA Cross 6.0,
NEIL PRYDE Fusion HD 6.0,
P7 Spy 5.9



The Joy of Crossing over – Peter Hart tells you how to tweak technique and set-up to exploit the full range of possibilities from your Freestyle Wave board.


Letting go – Jem Hall teaches the technique and benefits of one handed manoeuvres.


Our first 2016 issue kicks off with a new look at the new news and releases for a new case you didn’t get the idea, it’s kinda all about the new!


The Far Shores. The editor pays tribute to the far shores and the sailors who reach for them, at home or abroad.

Peter Hart remembers the first man of windsurfing photography, Alistair Black.

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The November/December 2015 Issue of the world’s only monthly English-language windsurfing magazine is out now!

Subscribe or grab your copy now in either 

Digital or 

Print  versions!
(Prices include delivery anywhere globally 10 times a year.)

The Cool winds issue. High wind kit test – 80L wave boards and 4.7 wave sails. Kauli’s South Pacific exploration, Cranking Cornwall, Tobago travel, Isle of Wight circumnavigation, Danish Sizzler – the battle for Cold Hawaii, Harty’s wave directory part 2 – wave selection and wave types, Jem’s gybe exit tips, Sebastian Wenzel, Fanatic’s shaper interviewed, How to make a sail – the Point 7 production process, Xmas gift guide.


Ever searching for the prefect wave and breeze, we join Captain Kauli Seadi as he tells us more about his South Pacific odyssey to the Society Islands, Cook Islands and Tonga.

A classic southerly forecast lit up St Ives bay last spring and duly rewarded the Motley Crew. JC reports from the dunes of Mexico’s, a small sandbar with a big punch!

The 2015 PWA Cold Hawaii delivered red hot action in the North Sea; John Carter reports on an epic event and quizzes the top 4 on their North Sea secrets.

John Carter catches up with Fanatic’s head shaper, Sebastian Wenzel, to find out more about the life of a shaper, twenty years at the top of his trade.

Andrea Cucchi gives us an exclusive behind the scenes look at the production facilities used by Point 7 in Sri Lanka and an insight into the manufacture of a sail.

Ripe with tropical vibes and great windsurfing, Tobago offers the authentic Caribbean experience. Nick Jones and Jem Hall explain why you should let its trade winds lure you there.

Ross Williams and John Carter go all the way round their home island. Armed with a decent safety boat and an experienced driver, JC tells how their circumnavigation went down!



The test team examine the latest boards for strong wind conditions.

RRD Wave Cult V6 LTD 80
TABOU Da Curve 86
QUATRO Cube 85
SEVERNE Nuevo 86
JP Thruster Quad 84

4.7, the magic sail number, the team test the latest designs for 2016.

NORTH Hero 4.7m
RRD Vogue 4.7m
EZZY Taka 2 4.7m
SIMMER Icon 4.7m
NEIL PRYDE Combat 4.7m
POINT-7 Salt 4.7m
ATTITUDE Allstar 4.7m
VANDAL Riot 4.7m
GOYA Banzai 4.7m


Peter Hart explores how the wave sailor’s approach and expectations are affected by the various types of waves and how to decode them.

Jem hall

Jem Hall assists you to fire out of your gybe exits.


Freshly baked, carefully crafted and brand spanking new – we list the latest to be called the greatest.

Oh Santa please give us wind for Christmas and I don’t mean from Nan’s brussel sprouts. All we want is a nice present of a force 5/6, but anything else in this guide would be good too!


The editor looks forward to winter and wonders in the light of recent reports on ocean temperatures, what weather it will bring?

Harty ponders on why Autumns in Ireland and Scotland are like Forest Gump’s box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get  – but they’re always ‘chocolatey.’

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The art of the selfie is a modern must have skill for a pro windsurfer but the technology they use is far from the preserve of the elite with the market for POV cameras encompassing and catering for amateurs to PWA legends. So if you’re struggling with your selfie or are keen to hear just how the pros nail their trick instagram shots, read on as we quiz some of the finest windsurfing selfie shooters on the planet for their tips, tales and tricks of the trade!

(This feature originally appeared in the July 2015 issue of Windsurf Magazine. To read more features like this first, Print and Digital subscriptions are available. Prices include delivery globally for 10 x issues a year!)

John Carter
The advent of the Go Pro and similar point of view cameras has dramatically changed the way photographers and videographers are able to approach mast mounted and boom mounted photography. Gone are the days of punching holes through a sail with a screwdriver to attach a 3 kilo homemade contraption containing an expensive DLSR camera. I remember watching some of the most talented sailors on the planet look almost like beginners, crashing every single jump with this huge, heavy box totally compromising their sailing style. Yes, the Go Pro pretty much made the traditional mast mounted camera obsolete in a matter of years. Not only have they stepped up the quality but as each model is released the cameras are becoming smaller, lighter and easier to use. Nowadays Go Pro’s are pretty much everywhere you look and being used for every radical sport. I recently read founder Nick Woodman floated shares in the company and is now worth over 2.5 billion dollars, yep no typo mistake here that is billion not million! Now that is what I call a result!

I have had my fair share of trials and tribulations with Go Pro’s and have lost a few after heavy crashes and bail outs, which all could have been averted if I had simply tied the flymount to the top of the mast with spectra or fishing line. That is simply me being lazy, even now I rarely tie them on so only have myself to blame if I lose another one!

What I will recommend though is making sure you have the camera set up at home before you head to the beach. There is nothing worse than being on the edge of the water scrolling through all the menus trying to find the multi shot mode or whatever while your rider is itching to get out on the water. I tend to use the time lapse continuous shooting mode for pictures which I believe fires of a frame every half a second. As for keeping water off the lens I have tried all sorts but never found a magic formula to keep every single drip off of the tiny port in front of the lens. I like to tell the rider to make sure they go big on the first jump when I am pretty sure the lens will have no drops on it and then come in at regular intervals so I can check everything is ok. For flat water, spots on the lens are not so much of an issue but I usually advise the rider not to dip the mast into the water before they head out. Wave riding and jumping shots can both look awesome from the Go Pro and although the quality of the shots might not quite be up to that of a full blown DSLR camera, the ease of use and portability of the Go Pro makes it a no brainer! My advice is to keep experimenting, with different angles, from the mast I tend to point the camera towards the harness lines, but if you want to see more of the board in the shot, it sometimes work to have the camera pointing more angled around the mast.

Yep the Go Pro sure is a wonderful device and all I can say is I wish I had thought of it, I could do a hell of a lot with 2.5 billion dollars!

“ I find the most consistent best shots happen all the time when just holding the camera ” – Kai Lenny


Kai Lenny
The mounts I use for shooting windsurfing are some very basic ones but they tend to get the best shots. It goes back to the old saying, “less is more”. My quiver consists of:

• GoPro Roll Bar mount: Prime spots to put the mount are the end of the boom as well as the front of the boom. As for the mast, I like this mount for the tip top of the mast. Another prime area is on the mast sleeve cut out just above the boom. This mount is low key; it does not affect my riding. But I like the fact that I can add the pole extension to get the camera some distance from me.

• Flymount: I like this one for about mid way up my mast. It’s nice to not have to cut a hole in the mast sleeve in order to get the shot.

• ProMount Mouth Piece: This one is awesome because you can get a great POV but you can always spit it out and hold it in your hand for a selfie. I find the most consistent best shots happen all the time when just holding the camera.

“ Use it during the midday sun as it’s usually overhead so you don’t get the shadows on your face or body ” – Sean O’Brien


Sean O’Brien
My top 5 tips for POV cameras are:

1. Don’t get them wet! The best photos you can get off your GoPro are when you do your first couple of runs before the camera gets wet. The batteries inside them heat up after use and against the cool water of the ocean they fog up quickly or might have a lot of water droplets on the photo. I always find the best photos are from the first run while it’s still dry. 

2. You can get some good angles from them by attaching your GoPro to a spare mast and having someone hold the mast upright out in the water and sailing underneath it. With the fisheye lens of the GoPro you get a very cool wide shot of the beach and the sailor underneath it. 

3. After you’ve done a few runs, go back to the beach and open the case and wipe it with a dry cloth inside and out. This lets the warm air out and stops them fogging up (and also removes water droplets). 

4. For the best shots, use them in the midday sun (11am-2pm) when it’s REALLY sunny as the GoPro’s get nice colours.

5. Make sure when you set it up as a mast cam to take a photo of something first, about the same distance as your subject is away; the GoPro will set the focus and aperture automatically to that point. I see a lot of people stick their face in front of the GoPro to check the settings are right and the camera sets itself up to take a photo of something only 30cm away instead of you sailing which might be 2.5m away and makes the focus wrong. 

For attachments I only use the FlyMount which attaches to the mast and the boom. When I setup my GoPro, for photos I use the highest resolution available and for video I mostly shoot on 60fps at 1080p. I don’t use any solutions to keep the lens clean because whatever I’ve tried it still fogs up, so I still think the best strategy is to get your photos on the first run when it’s still dry, then come in and open the case and wipe it inside and out with a dry cloth and go again. Opening the case for a few seconds will stop the fogging. If you’re using the GoPro as a mast cam, the best is to use it during the midday sun as it’s usually overhead so you don’t get the shadows on your face or body as much as when it’s the afternoon sun. I find I end up taking 700 photos to only get one I like – a pretty bad strike rate!

Ricardo Campello
Normally I use my Go Pro on the mast with the Flymount mast mount when I’m sailing and sometimes on the boom as well, but lately I have lost a few on my drone and last month in Maui I landed so hard from a table top that the cover of the GoPro broke and I lost the GoPro underwater on my first jump out, Antoine Albeau saw everything and was laughing so hard hahahha, but the guys from GoPro gave me a new one! Last year in Pozo I put the little mount for the nose of the board on a brand new GoPro and landed a small backloop on the nose and I didn’t know I had to put a little lock on it and lost it on the bunker and couldn’t find it!, I was so pissed, I swam for like 3 days to find it and couldn’t!! Between this and the drone I’ve lost a few but I normally don’t tie it, haha, too lazy.

Bjorn Dunkerbeck
I like using the mounts on the boom and also on the board. To keep the lens clean, I try not to fall ha ha and there are some different lens repelling fluids. I also use sun screen or just put the camera under water before using it, you need to do this every few minutes I’ve found.


Jason Polakow
My tips for POV cameras are always cool down the housing and camera body otherwise there is a good chance of condensation building up especially in warm water areas. I always use the air conditioning in the car. If I don’t have that luxury I use alcohol wipes. I ALWAYS travel with the battery out of the camera. I don’t know how many times they have accidentally turned on from moving in my bag. Always take your time!!! Check you have the right settings and check the memory card. Recently I worked with the 360 GoPro cube attached to my harness and I got some sick shots.

One of the funniest POV shots I captured would be at Cloudbreak recently where I had the GoPro attached to my gear and I was sitting on the back of the ski as there was not much wind and the current was super strong. We were close to the lineup and a huge 20 foot close out set came through, the guy on the ski panicked and took off and I just barrel rolled with my gear and the Go Pro caught all the carnage! It’s the closing scene on my latest Cloudbreak JP Chronicles video!

“ ALWAYS travel with the battery out of the camera ” – Jason Polakow


Ben Proffitt
My best tip for POV cameras is mix it up so when you’re making a video use all the angles. I use a K4 harness mount for jumping shots, a head cam for filming others, a nose cam for wave riding and big back loop shots, a boom cam for facial expression shots and finally a mast cam for a really good all round angle and telling how bald you’re getting!

For me the best POV camera angle is the K4 mount (harness mount) especially for jumping. You really do get a unique view, kind of like a little drone following you around very closely. As it’s not that easy sometimes to get someone to film you…this angle is the best for learning and working out what you’re doing right or wrong. Plus you get some pretty cool jumping screen grabs. I have a couple of great landing shots from back loops where it looks like I’m totally submerged!! I really didn’t know I went that deep! My worst POV camera moment was when I taped it to the nose and first run out busted out a big backie and after the landing looked down to see no camera!!!  Dived in straight away..  but it was Australia..  sun going down and I couldn’t see anything!!! Spent 1 hour swimming but nothing… also on the early K4 mount I had the stick break and had to swim for my life to get it in massive waves!!


Justyna Sniady
My tip for POV cameras is just put the camera on! I know sometimes we are in a rush to get on the water, but it really is worth it to put the cam on a mast or boom or just grab a harness mount. You can get some all-time crashes or even get a first time landed move! So my tip is use them as often as possible! It’s the best way to get footage without having to take time from anyone! And this footage comes in handy when learning new things so you can never get too much:)

My favourite POV would be the K4 harness mount. It is like having someone following you with the camera at all times.. all the way through each move. You don’t feel it at all so you can fully go for it, but at the same time you get a great angle that helps when analysing moves and also the best alternative to the footage taken from land. My funniest POV moment must be when I captured a bird sh@tting on me when I was sailing a reef quite far off-shore in Australia haha.. right on my shoulder – what are the odds? Apparently it’s good luck!

Jem Hall
I strongly recommend POV cameras for self-coaching. They are very effective for a few reasons. The first is because you focus on sailing better, as you are aware that Big-Bro GoPro is watching you, and so you will inevitably raise your game. As you can imagine, the footage shows exactly where your hands are, and where you are looking all the time and with no excuses, the camera tells no lies.

It is important to understand that first you must know what you are looking to see on the screen. So I suggest you brush up on the suggested basic head, hands and hip position (the 3 vital H’s in many moves) for all your windsurfing antics. This is a big benefit as you begin to research and already glean important tips on how to sail better!

Next you can begin to view and post positive pics of yourself and this success helps breed confidence and in turn progression.

Lastly, if you edit the footage and document it, then you get a comparison of your sailing over time and it helps you assess how your targets are being met, or not, and furthermore gets you to identify what to do to actually move forward. This edited footage can also be seen by a nice friendly coach like me, and can advise on the positives to take from it, and your opportunities to improve.

“ I strongly recommend POV cameras for self-coaching ” – Jem Hall

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Jem Hall Back Loop 960px




This feature we are going to look at perhaps one of the most elegant and aspirational jumps out there, the back loop (‘backie’). Let’s kick off by saying that this is a very challenging move and you have to be ready to take some pretty hefty ‘learning experiences’ on the head in order to progress to sailing away from it. The backie requires utter focus and belief and constant reflection but is perhaps the best jump out there as you know you earned the landing and satisfaction of sailing away from it. It is a beauty and a beast of a move, you can fly peacefully up, rotate and land and yet some days she just gets away from you.

Words  Jem Hall // Photo  Martin Schoppler & Karel Tyc

(This feature originally appeared in the October 2015 issue of Windsurf Magazine. To read more features like this first, Print and Digital subscriptions are available. Prices include delivery globally for 10 x issues a year!)

Now I have your attention and respect for the task at hand, let’s give you some positive skills and drills to best prepare you for nailing the backie. Please feel the belief lifting inside you from now!

Before we kick off I recommend you reread my wave strategy pieces and jumping higher articles in order to give you a good game plan and a solid technique base.

Skills and drills:

  • Vertical high jumping: this will equip you with the ability to control your higher jumps and getting comfy and controlled whilst up there. Height equals time (to rotate) so ensure you are very competent at boosting height. Tips here are to select steeper ramps and wave sections, get speed and take off looking high and upwind to the sky. The top tip is to ‘take off on a strong front leg’ as this will give you vertical height and ensure you are not already spinning / veering into the wind. On the way up get compact, lean back and pull the boom in as you ‘keep looking high to fly.’ Level the board off at the top and float down tail first.
  • You got the look: after competency in high vert jumps is attained, next on the journey is having a look over your shoulder and down at the top of the jump and then steering it back around. This gives you a feel for your shape at the apex of the jump and the power of ‘where you look is where you go.’ You will go slightly through the wind; at that point it is important to look forward to steer back to your original course across the wind as you float down tail first.
  • Nosies: the back loop landing requires you to land nose first and off the wind. Therefore you need to equip your skill set with slick nose first landings. The tips here are to push down on your front arm (just prior to landing) and your front leg and then on landing sheet out, get your weight back and carve (look) upwind slightly to stop you going round the front.
  • Keep it simple: look where you wish your kit to go to way more in all your basics – sailing upwind, looking out of tacks and top turns etc. Your vision is crucial in the back loop steering and acquisition technique!
  • Flip the sail effectively and efficiently all the time. Again, we work with the wind.

“ The backie is a beauty and a beast of a move, you can fly peacefully up, rotate and land and yet some days she just gets away from you ”

It is important to understand that the backie is in three parts:

  1. – Vertical jump.
  2. – Rotation through the wind at the apex of the jump, pulling the rig in and close, looking over your front shoulder to steer you round.
  3. – The landing, which is where you spot your landing and get the rig forward to touch down nose-first and on a downwind course. 

You are already quite equipped for many of these skills with the previous drills presented. However, there is one cheeky last part which is where you finish off the rotation under the water by opening the sail and weighting your heels, what I call the underwater top turn.

My first big tip is bite off the backie chunks one at a time. This is actually the great thing about backies as you can see some steady progress without having to fully go for the whole move. The trick here is to under-rotate at first and slowly try to add a little more rotation with each attempt and through this process you will inevitably be landing a lot on your back but you will not be doing the very damaging over rotated suicide backies. You can increase and add rotation but you can’t take it off easily!

The best tips for the backie are once again to use your vision, and really look where you want to go.

  • Look up to go high, and if you do this with your hands relatively together then you will go higher still.
  • The rotation comes from looking over your front shoulder and it is here your arms spread wide at the apex of the jump.

The next tips would be:

  • Maintain a compact body, close to the boom.
  • Don’t over rotate on the way up.
  • Go up and down on a strong front leg – i.e. not taking off with too much weight on the back foot!
  • Lastly, did I say really look round and then down to rotate and spot your landing?

Jem Hall Back Loop 1 480px

//  Jump vertical, hit the apex and spread back hand, have a look and pull the kit through the wind, get the nose down and tail up, be ready to adjust on landing. Photo Karel Tyc


  • Spot your ramp, unhook and get down. ready to spring off the wave.
  • Carve slightly into the wind to initiate the first part of the rotation.
  • For a lower loop you carve more and earlier, and when you go higher, it’s less and later.
  • You’re aiming to kill all of your forward speed as you take off so that you go straight up – so look high to the sky and that is where you will go.
  • Pull the sail in close and sheet in to give yourself more lift.
  • Keep leaning back and looking to the sky, aiming to point that nose fully vertical as you reach your apex.
  • As you reach the apex of the jump, you should be halfway through the rotation and facing into the wind.
  • Move your backhand way down the boom and look over your front shoulder to initiate the next part of the rotation.
  • This is that weightless, peaceful part, and feels amazing.
  • Really exaggerate looking forward and down, which will pull the rig and board across and even further through the wind.
  • This is where you must keep thinking ‘spot your landing’.
  • Look at where you’re going to stick the nose into the water and your shoulders and hips will do the rest.
  • Now you’re into that ground-rush feeling and are aiming to get the rig forwards to push the nose down, so keep pulling the rig across you and start to extend your front arm.
  • It is crucial now to get your rig forward and your body back.
  • So extend your front leg to push the nose down, and keep your back leg bent, as you glue your arse to the tail of the board!
  • Maintain this nose-first landing position while on a downwind course.
  • Hold on tight and point your toes.
  • On a good one you’ll go under the water a bit where you finish off the rotation in what we call the ‘underwater top turn.’
  • With your back arm down the boom it helps you control the power as you come that last bit through the wind.
  • Open the sail and weight the heels while staying low over the back foot, then start to look forward. Yep, that’s the top turn bit.
  • You should now have completed the final bit of the rotation with a bit of submersion and use of your waveriding skills.

“ Take off on a strong front leg as this will give you vertical height and ensure you are not
already spinning / veering into the wind ”

If you’re overpowered at the apex then pull the sail in really close to you to take all the power out of it. This is very very effective! You can also control the rotation on the way down by sheeting out and extending your front arm to slow the rotation. Or you can sheet in and rake the sail back more to turn you further through the wind to increase your rotation

Now you have an overview of the move and the main tips, let’s give you the end game. We cannot overstate how important it is to use your vision and slide your backhand way down the boom at the apex. I often forget how effective this is and berate myself for not doing it more in my own self-coaching. With this wide grip you can hold all the power on landing and open the sail afterwards to finish the rotation off.

There is a lot going on in the backie, yet as you get more oriented you can start to get more control out of them. Lastly, please understand and visualise that the backloop needs vertical height to depower the rig and the majority of the rotation is done on the way done. Good hunting as I know you will ‘Bring it back.’

In the last few years I have looked to get my backies higher and better. Whilst I have crashed more, I have gained some key insights. The main one, gleaned from Mr. Jamie Hancock, is a strong front leg. This has helped immensely and is now my key focus. The next area I am now focusing on is hitting the water with my arse more on the tail of the board with a bent back leg and keeping this all the way into and through the landing. I love backies and so too I hope will you. 

Jem Hall Back Loop 2 480px

//  Coming in to land so keep that tail up and get your nose down. Photo Martin Schoppler

Jem Hall Back Loop 3 480px

//  Hit the pocket straight and take off on a strong front leg as you look to the sky. Photo Karel Tyc

Medium sized ramps that have some kick and steepness to them but not that threatening.
Clear space before the ramp so you can set up and choose your take off spot and keep speed and be settled.
Side shore to side on is best. Go to the right spot to get the right conditions.

Jem Hall Back Loop 4 480px

//  All the looking may be good but I must be more active at pulling the kit through the wind with my torso and front arm. Photo Karel Tyc

Jem Hall Back Loop 5 480px

//  Close but I need to look over my front shoulder way more and have back hand way further down the boom. Photo Karel Tyc

RRD boards, wetsuits, softwear, Ezzy sails and Pro Sport Sunblock sponsor Jem Hall. Get him live and direct on one of his highly acclaimed coaching holidays. You can also follow him on twitter / Facebook and Instagram.

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The October 2015 Issue of the world’s only monthly English-language windsurfing magazine is out now!

Subscribe or grab your copy now in either 

Digital or 

Print  versions!
(Prices include delivery anywhere globally 10 times a year.)

The New sensations issue – 2016 wave mega test – Stubby and 90L wave boards and 5.3 powerhouse wave sails, Pioneering XXL waves at Tasmania’s Pedra Branca, Robby Naish’s best day ever in Fiji, Easter Island eco-exploration, Harty’s wave directory – guiding you on all the wind and wave angles, Discovering Malaysia, Alice Arutkin profile, Back loop + Tweaked pushy technique, West Ireland waves and Skeyboy’s slalom return.

001 FC OCT 350 480

Manu Bouvet explores Easter Island’s exotic windsurfing shores with an eco purpose, highlighting an ancient island under threat from plastic pollution.

JC Main Spread_69T9842
The Motley crew enjoy a stellar day of Irish Atlantic action along with the inevitable Motley mishap and learn what has drawn some of the local crew of windsurfers to make their home out west.

JC MAIN SPREAD_7524_Naish International_Glenn Duffus
When the king of windsurfing, Robby Naish, calls a session his best ever; you know it must be special. King Naish recounts a day when the magic happened.

John Skye reports on his return to PWA slalom at Sotavento and how he achieved his goal of a top 30 result and the lessons learned.

Chris Pressler and Kerstin Reiger travel to the remote beaches of Malaysia’s east coast and discover a land rich in culture, scenery and excellent windsurfing.

JC MAIN SHOT F16_WS_DY10_D2_6442
John Carter interviews the beautiful and talented Alice Arutkin about her love of competition, the art of selfies and all about Alice!

Pedra Branca is one of the world’s gnarliest waves. It’s big, remote and never been windsurfed before, until Alastair McLeod dropped down its face. We get the lowdown on an incredible day.


H IMG_3958-improved
We test the new generation of ‘stubby’ wave boards, is less length more performance?.

FANATIC Stubby 88,
JP Wave Slate 86,
STARBOARD Reactor 87,

The test team put some of the 2016 big boy wave boards under review, is big beautiful?.

FANATIC Tri Wave TE 95,
RRD Wave Cult V6 LTD 90,
STARBOARD Kode Wave 93,
TABOU Pocket 94,
GOYA Custom 94,

2016’s 5.3 powerhouse wave sails tested, the team find out what the latest designs delivered.

NORTH Volt 5.3m,
EZZY Elite 5.3m,
GA SAILS Manic 5.3m,
SAILLOFT Curve 5.3m,


wave directory 9

One day a hero, the next day a clown – Peter Hart describes how different combinations of wind and swell direction alter the nature of the challenge.

Jem Hall breaks down the back loop.

Marcilio Browne teaches us how to tweak the table top into your push loop.


The word on the beach is there is some fresh gear in town, we round up the rumours!

We review the current market with the latest buying trends and a look at some of the brand’s freshest offerings to armour you for winter.


EDITORIAL – NEW SENSATIONS. The editor extols the benefits of shaking it up and why windsurfing keeps us young and interesting.

He doesn’t work for ‘Relate’ but Harty reckons a regular dose of misery is the means by which you keep the passion alive.

Get your 

Print or 

Digital copy


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This time of year we could well be blessed with wind or be jetting off for a windy holiday and with this in mind and my desire to keep you moving forward, I would like to entice and coach you to learn to Vulcan as the Vulcan is the perfect introductory move to intermediate freestyle. I learnt this move a long time ago and it kept me sane whilst sailing on flat water, challenged me and readied me (and hopefully you!) to learn other moves that require a high amount of attempts (reps) and the inevitable crashes that can ensue. As ever, I implore you to be comfortable with being uncomfortable and ready for change. So let’s crack on with some top tips to educate, enthuse and inspire you to get the Can in your Vulcan, and I will highlight some common pitfalls also. For now, please say, visualize and repeat: ‘Early head and fast hands.’ Patience grasshopper all will be revealed.

Jem Hall  //  Photo Nicolas Jones

(This feature originally appeared in the July 2015 issue of Windsurf Magazine. To read more features like this first, Print and Digital subscriptions are available. Prices include delivery globally for 10 x issues a year!)

I attempted to learn this move back in the day on the old school longer thinner boards of the time and actually only fully cracked it when the first freestyle boards came out. These wider platforms, or a big (relatively) freestyle wave / freemove board, really help with the learning of this move as they give you balance and time to slide (plane) backwards which buys you vital seconds to get your hand change sorted. You will also need a smaller fin to help you pop and then slide without catching, 20 – 22cms is good at the start and then size down again when competent.

The older freestyle boards were very user friendly and are also great for this move and enjoying a bit of bump n jump action too. If you are very serious about freestyle the latest incarnations are a little more dedicated these days, offering high speed performance for modern freestyle power moves and popping and sliding like a ninja.
My tip for these later species is to place your straps forward at first, as the modern boards have their straps situated quite far back for the likes of Kiri and Gollito’s aerial antics.

Drills before the Skills
Whoa there cowboy and cowgirl, before you go off popping and sliding into oblivion lets give you some skills to steel yourself for the task ahead. As I said last month, preparation is key and the same applies for this move, be ready, enjoy the journey and be aware that crashing (feedback) is a part of the learning process.

Preparation drills to Can the Vulcan

Popping – ensure you are very happy getting over the board and popping it in either direction, both across the wind and slightly downwind. Focus on opening the sail pre pop and the push and pull of the legs during the pop. Crouch down, pull boom down then spring up, helps initiate pop. No hop, skip and jumping!

Tail grab jumps (hooked in) – release the backhand once you are in the air and touch/grab the tail. This gets your popping up a level and ensures that you really bend your back leg and that your hands get faster and freer, ready for the VulCan.

Boom to boom tacks – Whilst you may use the mast for tacking, the BtB tack prepares your hands further to be fast and familiar with the hand change. Top Tip: learn Vulcans BtB so you have fast hands, and have to land with your weight forward as this will make your hands fast and open up learning to spock (Vulcan with a heli tack to make it a full 360)

Sailing switch – Just as in gybes, where you can practice clew first sailing to improve your exit skills, sailing switch helps practice the finish to the VulCan and completing the move. To practice so, do a gybe and remain with both feet in the straps throughout the sail change and only get out of the straps after sailing on the new direction.

The moves that matter
Let’s get down to business and give you a simple guide to the key actions to be performed.

Key Moves

• Slide front hand up to mast ready for fast hands
• Unhook and crouch down over the board, ready to pop and scissor the board to sail slightly off the wind.
• Pop and almost simultaneously look behind you (check the pic of my shiney head) whilst releasing the backhand in order to initiate the board rotation.
• Draw rig tight across your chest as back leg comes up to get the nose down ready for the slide. Fast hands draws the rig forward so the new side of the boom will become available and in view.
• Keep weight forward, land and lean on your toeside rail and the new side of the boom should be there and accessible if you have fast hands and an early head change of course.
• Switch hands. The old backhand goes over the front hand to become the new front hand and it is a boom-to-boom transition. Weight still forward, un-weighting the tail.
• Slide backwards, keeping weight centred and forward to assist the slide.
• Sheet in whilst switch foot as you slow down. Counterbalance the sails power.
• Get stable whilst in switch stance and sail off the wind ready to switch your feet.
• Change your feet and exit. Whoop!, well just quietly.

Well done, keep at it and be ready to get a lot of feedback (crashes) to nail this move, you can, shall and will VulCan and then you have got the gateway to freestyle nailed and the door is open to progress further.

Main tips and useful mantras 

Let’s examine the key tips and useful mantras to repeat and focus on. These can serve as targets and also as self-coaching points.

• Early head; for me this is crucial! As I pop I turn my head to look back which turns my shoulders and hips in order to get the board rotating.
• Fast hands; again this is equally important as the previous tip. Moving your hands tight across your chest and fast draws the mast forward to get you landing with your weight forward to open up sliding opportunities.
• Land and lean; as you land, lean forward and over your toeside (this avoids the rail and tail catching). If your hands are fast, the rig will draw you this way and again, you will love the slide!
• Kiss the nose; goes with the previous tip to keep you landing with your
weight forward.
• Stay centred; this move not only requires you to land leaning forward but also centred over the board so you can slide and then take the power up on the new side of the sail.
• Power up and get back and outboard; once the hands are on the boom and just before you finish sliding you will need to sheet the sail in ready for completing the move. Aim to counterbalance the amount of wind in the sail. i.e. lean out and forward if it is light and lean outboards even more to control more wind. That sailing switch drill comes in very handy here!

There are some common crashes in the Vulcan so lets examine a cure for these:

SYMPTOM; not getting board round far enough and then crashing out the side door fast.
CURE; ensure the sail is open and the board is ready to pop and you are over the board and take off across or down wind and pop aggressively.

SYMPTOM; Not getting the board out of the water effectively.
CURE; really work on the pop with your legs to release the board and your front  arm to pull up and on no account ever bounce (2 pops or more in a row) into any aerial moves.

SYMPTOM; consistently landing and sinking tail (going out the back door).
CURE; get hands faster and lean forward more on landing or land more over toeside with body weight centred over board.

SYMPTOM; catapulted whilst switch foot.
CURE; let the board slide, decelerate and then sheet in with an effective counter balanced position.

SYMPTON; falling at the final hurdle of the foot switch.
CURE; focus on effective power control in switch mode before you think the job is done. After this, pull down on the boom to lighten feet and then pull out the back foot and front foot almost simultaneously.

Generous straps to allow you to land on your toeside
Small fin for the slide and easy pop. Maximum 22cms!
Long lines enable you to sail fast over bumpy water and over your kit

Small waves with space between
Swell with flat spots
Go to the right spot to get the right conditions
Safer and easier in moderate winds to start with

RRD boards, wetsuits, softwear, Ezzy sails and Pro Sport Sunblock sponsor Jem Hall. Get him live and direct on one of his highly acclaimed coaching holidays, check out his site for details. You can also follow him on twitter / Facebook and Instagram.

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Jem gets us upwind faster, planing earlier and gybing better all in 3 videos!

For more tips, check out his vimeo channel –

This video is about your Stance and how to improve your upwind sailing through: looking more upwind, having your hands closer together and sailing with your arms staighter.
Fly upwind and Enjoy

This video is Gybing Tip #9 and it urges you to look out of the turn in your carve gybes. Doing this will get your hips to the inside and improve your foot change, AND it will move you towards wave riding better too …. how you gybe is how you ride
#top100tips from #jemhallcoaching
Watch, enjoy and share please :)

This video is about how to improve your stance by sailing with your hands closer together, and pull down on the boom as you get lower and look upwind. Great stance makes you a great windsurfer and the earlier the plane the more fun you have on the water…


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I TRUST YOU ENJOYED MY WAVERIDING PIECE LAST MONTH and hope you understood that if you prepare well for your jumps, rides and have solid fundamentals, tacks and gybes then you will get the very best out of many of your sessions. Inevitably the glamour has to go with the grunt. I often use what some might say is a clichéd quote on my coaching holidays, ‘by failing to prepare you are pre-paring to fail,’ yet I strongly advocate heeding these words and so in this feature we will look at the vital skill of preparing effectively for carving tacks and carve gybes.

If we break moves down into smaller constituent parts then they are far easier to achieve competency in – preparing well and hooking out effectively is already one success and a huge step towards to efficiency and consistency as you can then forget the first stage and work on the next one.

I set an overall target of having focus in every session and being consistent in the basics, as I extolled in last month’s wave piece, and my consistency stems from preparing the same way for the main moves, all the time, every time!

Gybe talking
On clinics I love asking this question: ‘How do we unhook when powered up? By bending the arms or raising the hips?’ What was your answer? Go on, have a go. Well, as the suspense is killing you, I will let you in on one of my golden top tips; unhook from a low position by bending your arms to drop the lines out of your hook!

Why?, I hear you cry, well if we stay low, with our hips dropped, then the sail stays sheeted in which locks the board down and we can also pull the kit down into the water and the harness lines will be very taut, and thereby easy to unhook from by just a quick pull in on the arms. The antithesis is raising your hips to unhook which brings us upright and allows the sail to open up and the board to misbehave.

Before we go piling into our gybes, as new unhooking masters, let’s take a step back and ask what is the most important action in the carve gybe? Your answer is?? For me, and a huge amount of my clients, I would say it is moving our backhand way down the boom. The added bonus to this is that this habit will also help you in waveriding, looping and freestyle moves, and I feature this important action as one of my many clips on my #top100tips on my Vimeo channell.

So to put some power and performance into your preparation, a useful mantra here is to focus on HUF and PUFF when you gybe. Let’s look at the HUF:

•  HUF in this context stands for Hands, Unhook and Feet. Please say this a few times and visualize.

•  Hands: in the gybe ensure you slide your backhand way back to ease unhooking, sailing unhooked and being ready for all the dynamic motions in the carve gybe itself. A bonus tip here is to get your front hand close to the front harness line before you unhook, this gets the rig forward into any carving move.

•  Unhook: get low, keep the harness lines tight (like piano strings), and unhook by pulling in on the boom.

•  Feet: from your low position you can now scissor (steer) the board downwind and remain outboard. This will increase your speed, get the rig light, the board ready to carve and give you time. Use this time to then pull the back foot out of the strap, pulling down on the boom to ease this as it lightens your feet. You are now in the best position to roll into and commit to the carve.

What about the PUFF? – No clever acronym here sorry, but we all know about the effort involved in learning, improving and flying around our gybes !

HUF really works and I encourage you to understand this vital principle of ‘sailing the first third of your turn,’ as highlighted above. When coaching I get all my gybers to really work on this phase of the gybe before tuning any other phase. One of my clients, Maureen, suggested that on flat water we sail the first third of the turn for three seconds and this really works. As ever, Focus on the above, Believe it will work and Enjoy the journey of progression.

Make those tacks less taxing
An efficient preparation phase is not only important in carve gybing it is paramount in carve tacking too. This gets you ahead of the game and ready to do all the footwork and rig changing after the board has inevitabIy slowed down. I extol the HUF principle again in both planing and non planing tacks so let’s look at that now:

• Hands; you are looking to move your body forward and rig back in the tack approach and be in a position to get to the other side of the board/boom, and all whilst keeping speed. The first hand to move is the back one; this goes next to the back harness line so you can reach around to the new side of the boom easier. Next up is reaching your front hand forward, with a choice of either down low on the mast or at the front of the boom. This means you are ready for the next phases and still have speed across the wind.

•  Unhook; bend the arms by pulling in on the boom to release your uber taut harness lines with ease, remember to be outboard and low. Keep your sailing line across the wind and actually target being comfortable sailing fast in this position!

•  Feet; sailing fast in this powerful preparation position means the sail is light and the board stable so it is now relatively easy to then pull down on boom and get your feet out of the straps. The back one first, then the front one and then you can begin to carve/ turn upwind and move the feet forward ready for a top transition phase.

A tip to actually get your hand on the mast is to already shift your body forward and rig back. I rarely focus on negatives, but I urge you to not carve upwind in the straps before moving your hands and feet as this will leave you having too much to do, too late in the move. The tack was covered extensively last year and this feature is online now.

Generous straps allow the feet to actually get out of the straps. Sail barefoot when at all possible to feel the board and aid feet moving slickly both in and out of the straps

Long lines enable you to sail fast over a big wind range and really assist you in both unhooking and hooking in effectively and consistently.

Flattish water and relatively consistent wind so you can focus on your technique. Go to the right spot to get the right conditions and prepare for your moves in the right place, in the right way, at the right time on the right kit!

RRD boards, wetsuits, softwear, Ezzy sails and Pro Sport Sunblock sponsor Jem Hall. Get him live and direct on one of his highly acclaimed coaching holidays, check out his site for details. You can also follow him on twitter / Facebook and Instagram

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