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25Aug/15Off

PETER HART – STRONG WIND TECHNIQUES

PETER HART - STRONG WIND TECHNIQUES

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STRONG WIND TECHNIQUES

Words Peter Hart  //  Photos Hart Photography

With winter storms being the main thread in this issue, it’s only fitting that Peter Hart should fall in line and examine the technical challenges of sailing in strong winds.

Those with a passing interest in pedagogy will be familiar with various teaching styles that coaches employ depending on the environment, the complexity of the move and who stands before them. For example there’s the intellectual approach involving detailed technical explanations for people who like words and won’t allow themselves to attempt anything remotely risky until they fully understand the mechanics. There’s the ‘monkey see, monkey do’ approach’ a.k.a. ‘mirror learning.’ It works for those who like to see the skill in its entirety and then just follow and imitate. It’s what kids do so naturally. And it’s what adults should do – and would do if they hadn’t got a mortgage.

A lesser known coaching approach but arguably the most effective in many advanced windsurfing situations where direct communication is difficult, is the FOFO method. Developed probably in the back streets of Liverpool in less affluent times, it’s an acronym for … ( I apologise for the vulgarity – but don’t shoot the messenger) … “F*** Off and Find Out.”

It’s not entirely a coaching cop-out but the premise is: “anything I tell you at this stage is totally irrelevant. The moment you launch into this screaming gale for the first time any tips and strategies dribble out your ears along with all logical thought and a lot of ear wax. So get out there, give it a go and see what happens.” Necessity being the mother of invention, a LOT
happens, not of all it seemingly positive, but violent mistakes are all part of the process. Brave/foolish people do well in the upper stages of windsurfing because they throw themselves into the maelstrom and put their bodies on the line. Thanks to a lot of FOFO-ing, the scary unknown quickly becomes vaguely familiar. They bring their fears under control and are then free
to loosen up and flourish …maybe.

But there’s a balance to be struck. A lot of people down my way have been doing this sport for years and will go out in absolutely anything. They’re not afraid, they’re perfectly competent but, without naming names, they don’t so much as ‘rip’ in strong winds as sail in and out. Too much FOFO-ing in conditions way above their head in the early days made them develop a bundle of get-out-of-jail survival techniques. And it’s when coping mechanisms overpower basic good technique that growth is permanently stunted.

Filling the Gaps
You may have heard of the Khan Academy. Salman Khan started tutoring his nephew in maths online. His YouTube clips were spotted, went viral and his methods are now a global phenomenon. One thing Khan noticed in the school system was that to pass grade 1 in maths, you needed to score 70%. To pass grade 2 you also needed to score 70%. Sounds reasonable BUT that’s two lots of 30% that you don’t know. So if you’ve been scraping a pass each time, you’re challenging the upper levels with more and more gaps in your knowledge. His methods ensure that kids attack the next concept with a full armoury.

Such is the plight of a lot of windsurfers as they confront strong winds. Gaps in their basic game make the sexy bits – the soaring jumps, the slashing rides and the screaming gybes – unattainable. Strong winds, like chop and gybes, expose technical flaws. You don’t need a host of new techniques; just make the basic ones better.

What is a strong wind
We’re not talking tempests here. That’s a different game. Following the passage of Hurricane Jude some 18 months ago, I was driven to write a piece about the do’s and don’ts of storm riding. In that instance, I could have saved myself a lot of time and just written FOFO across all five pages. Most of it IS just about getting out there and developing fast, instinctive survival techniques.

The ‘strong’ wind I’m talking about starts at about force 6. For many advanced windsurfers 22-30 knots (force 6-7) is the ideal strength. You’re up to full speed on your favourite light, squirrely board and small, flicky rig, but you’re not hanging on. You’ve got control.

But for the improving windsurfer force 6 represents something of a watershed. It doesn’t seem like a big leap from the dreamy force 5 – but it produces twice as much pressure. Many things suddenly change.

  • No board above 100 ltrs is really at home.
  • Away from speed and slalom, most are on sails less than 5. Fantastic if you’re used to it – twitchy and ‘on off’ if you’re not.
  • Wind speed differences in gusts and lulls are more severe.
  • To sail at the speed of the wind so you enter moves with a light sail means you have to sail really  fast usually over water which is anything but flat.
  • There’s enough wind to support the board in the air – and to blow it out of the water.

It’s not survival wind but marks the point at which you have to hone and modify your technique in various ways.


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// The low boom, short line combo produced some defensive and slightly old school measures.

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// With the new set-up she planes straight into the fun zone.

THE PROGRESS OF LIZ
Liz’s progress in the strong winds was remarkable. Fantastically energetic she was in no way fazed by the conditions. However, her set-up wasn’t the best and it all stemmed from her waterstarting. She could only fly the rig by resting the boom on the back of the board so had to keep the boom low and the lines short. That set up leaves you too close to the rig, in catapult country, as you set out. Her defensive mechanism was to slide her front hand forward on the boom, put her front foot forward to match it and shove her back foot straight in the strap – safe but inefficient. Her whole game changed by learning a new waterstart technique, which did not rely on the back of the board and allowed her to put the boom up and lengthen the lines. Shedding nearly 20 ltrs from a 85 to a 69ltr board also made a massive difference.


Coming up, I’ve isolated the following areas, early planing, speed and stance,  gybes and jumps and show where corrupt instincts infect progress.

 

My January articles traditionally have the scent of Brazil. This year is no different. Ten out of ten days of force 6 winds + for my recent clinic provided perfect laboratory conditions to observe people adapting to constantly strong winds. I thank the crew for their skill and perseverance.

Launch and plane
How someone launches and leaves the beach in strong winds tells you all you need to know about their kit selection, set-up, general confidence and chances of excelling.

Jumps, windward progress, energy levels all improve the less time you spend off the plane.

You’d have thought more wind would make getting away easier – but that’s not always how it works.

For someone my weight (88kg), the earliest planing scenario would be something like a 130 ish board, an 8.0 sail, flat water and about 15 knots of breeze. The big board sits high in the water, doesn’t push much of a bow wave and just slides onto the plane.

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// Tail walking is usually the result of too big a board with too big a fin in too much wind – but to be fair to Ivan I think he was just putting the brakes on to come in.

The big rig has loads of leech twist and a wide sheeting angle. The power comes on gradually, so you don’t get defensive and can deliver a constant flow of power to the board. And of course you have a big fin to hoof against.

Now take the 85 ltr and the 4.2 in 25 knots. If the smaller board is allowed to sink, it pushes a wall of water and then needs a lot more power to bump it up and over.

A 4.2 has a relatively narrow wind band compared to an 8. Winds around the shore and the shore-break are gusty. In a lull of 15 knots a 4.2 just stops working.

The nature of the strong wind is that it hits the stationary sail like a bullet. You feel a real jolt in the arms. “I’m over-powered,” you shriek. No you’re not – but instinctively to avoid a catapult you hunker down and bend the arms. But if you pull the rig back and power up the tail, you head up and with only a tiny fin to resist the force, you crab sideways and stop.

Fighting the instincts
There’ll be a theme running through all the following strong wind advice. It’s not particularly technical. In fact when I wrote the ‘10 key points of Funboard Sailing’ for instructors back in 1982, it was number one – “GO FOR IT!” Or if you prefer: ‘Do get on with it!” “Don’t pfaff about.” Or simply “Grrrrrrr!”

On little kit, speed is your ultimate friend. If you can land on the board already sheeted in and moving thanks to a well timed running beach start, the board floats high (less drag), you have apparent wind and so are less vulnerable to lulls.

Give yourself an incentive. Try and get into the straps within 5 seconds or by the time you hit the first wave.

If that doesn’t work, look at the beach start technique.

If it still doesn’t work, look at the timing of the launch.

If it still doesn’t work tweak the set-up and examine the stance.

The Running Beach Start
There are beachstarts where you dig the fin in the sand, climb aboard and wait for the tide to come in. The version we’re after here, however, is the one where you land on the board hooked in and sailing.

On the shallow shelving sands of Jeri you gauge the brilliance of your starts by the depth of water you can launch in. If with a 20cm fin you launch in knee-deep water and ground out, you know you’re guilty of sheeting out and dropping the tail.

The key is to angle the board a few degrees off the wind, run, jump, land with your feet just in front of their relative straps, and within a half a second feel your harness load up. The force of your feet landing must be balanced by instant mastfoot pressure. Committing to the harness and relaxing is a huge part of strong wind sailing. The instinct to quash here is that of pulling in the front arm to depower and survive. Instead, with your hands well back on the boom, EXTEND the front arm to power up, drop the nose (and lift the fin) and accelerate.

And it’s as you accelerate and before you’re fully planing that you dive into both straps. Local Jeri freestylers do not perform a running start so much as a sprinting start. Thanks to thick, ‘slabby’ boards and explosive energy, they’re jumping on and planing in 6 inches of water – and then doing something aerial and unpronounceable within metres of the shore.

The Timing
So you do all that but as soon as you go for the straps, you still round up and sink. There was a lull you said.  But is it just luck that the good guys plane off the beach every time? You got a gust as you launched but did you look ahead? Gusts can be very local. Lift the head and check the water 30 metres out. Time it so the area you’re sailing into is windy.


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// Heading up too much on take off means the sail closes and you fall back on your heels windward edge down.

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// But across the wind, your body is more inboard so you can take off on your toes, lift the windward edge and get air under the board. Lars is now in perfect shape to lift the tail upwind and soar.

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// The difference between the following two jumps is just speed. Worried about planing too fast, Dave sheets out and drops back. Sitting on the back foot, he can’t pick it up and so is into a vertical tail first landing.

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// Attacking with a few more knots means he’s better balanced between his feet and can trim the board level in mid air.

HIGH WIND FLIGHT
Over the 10 days in Jeri jumps (and loops) improved at the same rate as the general sailing. The happier people got with the kit, the more they relaxed and dialled into the conditions and the faster they sailed, the better, higher and more controlled the jumps. It’s primarily psychological. As you approach a meaty ramp at full speed with a 4.2, every cell in your body is telling you to head up and wash off speed. But as you head up, you drop onto your heels, the wind then hits the deck of the board and shoves it straight back down. You also fall onto your back foot making it impossible to pick the tail up. By taking off across the wind, you can project forward, dip the toes, lift the windward edge and maintain your outboard stance with full view of the landing strip.


The Set-up and stance
Yes set-up is very personal but if ‘personal’ means sailing with stupidly short lines, then this easy, ‘hooking-in-straight-away-to-plane-early’ lark will eternally elude you. On big kit, yes, you can get planing with short lines especially in a seat harness. As you hook in and sit down you automatically engage the back foot and the fin does the rest. But on little kit you don’t have a fin  – well not a real one. It’s rig power pulling you downwind that gets you going. You need to hook in and bear off take pressure off the fin. The lines have to be long enough so you can leave the rig forward and upright as you move back into the straps.

In no particular order these were other high wind stance and set-up issues that arose.

As you launch on small kit into surf, a little monkey on your shoulder may question if you really want to be hooning at full speed through this minefield. Hence you head up, step out of the straps and pretend it’s not windy enough. If such is the case, follow the directions for “The Pond.” As Irish Brian kept reminding us: “You’ve gotta want it!”

Free-riders and the front hand
The front had creeping forward on the boom is a curse to early planing and just about every other move. It chokes the power, sheets the sail out and leaves you too close the rig.  The front foot will automatically match the front hand so you find yourself standing too far forward.
On a small board that means you engage the nose rocker and stop. The creeping front hand can also be a symptom of lines set too far back – a hangover of of some big rig free-riders who set them for fully powered up blasting. Having them a nibble forward of the balance point is often preferable on small sails as it makes you sensitive to your back hand and helps avoid the dreaded over-sheet – a common problem with the smaller sizes.

Back foot in first – the anchor point
If it works, it works, but this one rarely does. The habit of getting on and whacking the back foot in first come what may, reveals a tug o’ war, ‘resist-the-enemy-force-at-all-costs’ mentality brought on by a history of serial catapults.

The problem is that under the back foot lies the area of least volume. If you press it even a little, the tail sinks – and if it sinks just a centimeter you’re towing a bucket. It also contradicts the essential early planing ethos of sailing on your toes, giving to the power and letting it pull you along. If it feels as if you’re on the edge of a catapult, then you’re getting there.

Under-powered
It’s an easy mistake in strong winds. The defensive mindset persuades many to play safe and go too small with the sail size and/or rig the guts out of it. Or they leave the beach under-powered because they’ve already been out and were over-powered out to sea.

At a lot of places the wind IS a force stronger beyond the break. But consider where you want to do most of your sailing. The right answer is surely near the shore in the fun lumps. If jumping is your game you must be powered as you leave the beach. Rig for the wind strength where you want to perform.


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HIGH WIND TRIM
What article would be complete without a no hands mast mount GoPro shot – except it is a very good pose and angle from which to make some serious points about high wind trim and stance. Firstly you don’t need to grip – if in 25 knots you can’t sail with at least one hand off, then check line position and boom height and make sure the sail is releasing (downhaul) and has enough shape (outhaul).

See how the harness hook lines up with the front foot. On small boards with even smaller fins you’re looking to project forward the whole time and sail and turn off the front foot.


Tweaking the Waterstart

For waterstarting 10 knots is tricky as you have to minutely co-ordinate all your lift devices into an explosive moment in order to rise up. 18 knots is perfect. Lots of power to lift you but not so much as to blow you out of shape. By 25 knots it’s getting tricky again. There’s more than enough power to lift you but the strong winds produce chop and rolling swell.  If you drop the rig it gets swamped in seconds. The wind has the strength to catch a protruding mast or clew and flip it over – and as it flips, it sinks. The wind at water level is all over the place.

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// If it’s feeling all too wild and violent, what you probably need to help you man up is a 12 year old kid to scream past you without a harness and start ripping up a wave on a training sail and a borrowed 100 ltr board. Now stop whingeing!

One minute nothing as you sink into a trough, the next loads as a swell lifts you into clean air. Power control and keeping the rig flying is harder. I draw your attention to tip ONE – go for it! Tish and Pish to that nonsense about waterstarting being effortless. For a moment you need to get brutal. Speed is once again your friend. The quicker you get to the rig after you’ve fallen, the lighter the task of releasing it.

With rig recovery in strong winds a lot suffer from ‘one-trick-pony-ism.’ That one trick being to use the back of the board to support the boom – great if the boom is lying conveniently downwind of the tail – but a swim of cross-Channel proportions if it isn’t.

You need another method. If the rig is upwind of the board, go for the mast tip. It’s the point from which you get most leverage and can push the rig highest. It takes a little practice (and it’s the not the most fun thing you can do with your leisure hours), angling the rig so the wind just hits the mast, not the leech; timing your punch upwards as a swell lifts it; grabbing the end of the head batten with the other hand and lifting it as well to feed air under the cloth.

Do everything you normally do but more so. Swim upwind harder to stem the tide and give yourself more room to manoeuvre. Above all do NOT get caught under the sail. If you feel the clew catching (more of a risk in strong wind and chop)  don’t just pull the mast into wind, hurl it into wind away from the clew. Boss the situation. And when you’ve freed the rig, what ARE you waiting for?! Get both feet on, bear away and go!
The longer you wait, the greater the chance of a swell knocking the board off line or you being flattened by a gust.


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// Starting a gybe or bottom turn you control power by pushing the front shoulder towards the front hand and loading up the front foot.

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// Then to gouge the turn, you move the back hand all the way back, extend the front arm, drive the rail and enjoy the ride.

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// And by contrast, in the one handed top turn you sheet the sail out just by moving the front hand into the middle of the boom. Smaller sails require less effort!

THE MOVING HANDS
Power control with little sails is a double edged sword. Yes they are twitchier and easy to oversheet – but that’s a good thing too so long as it’s deliberate. Over-sheeting is the best way to dump power in mid move. The key is mobile hands. Just the move of the hands is enough to change the sail’s aspect without a load of pushing and pulling. In Jeri we also focused on a lot of one handed moves, jumps, 360s etc to show that the rig is happy to behave itself and play dead so long as you hold it in the right place.


The Drifters

Out beyond the break in Jeri I stopped a few times to offer rig recovery tips and what you notice immediately in a force 6 is how quickly you lose ground. In two minutes it was a about a hundred metres. If you’re looking for the secret of life, the Universe and happier strong wind sailing, it’s right there. Sorting out the waterstarts (or better still, nailing a strong wind tack or gybe) can save you 100m every reach, which means you’re not spending the whole session trying to squeak upwind or walking the walk of you-know-what, but have freedom to bear away into the moves that bring the most joy.

Progress report
In Jeri to begin with, repetition and the FOFO factor brought improvement. The first day on a 4.0 always feels wild, the second day less so and so on. The first changes are psychological. You change your relationship with the kit. A 4.2 is no longer a storm sail with which to limp home. It’s a small sail that is perfect for the conditions. I knew the transformation was complete when I saw someone bagging out a small sail to create more power.

With time you dial into a different tempo. On day one, severe gusts (they’re not that severe, they just feel like it for a moment) encourage you to over-react, over-commit to the rig and over-sheet. You learn that although the force in the sail feels vicious when you first sheet in, if you go with it, stay on your toes and let the board level off and accelerate, that power softens in a second.

With every day forearms relaxed; hands released their death grips; blisters began to heal and as people trusted themselves to push back in the harness, boards rode flatter and faster. High noses and bouncing tails, are classic symptoms of someone lifting the elbows, heaving on the arms and delivering pulses of confused power to their feet and mastfoot.

With the mind embracing the upper Beaufort forces, the team were free to work on certain negative reflexes and really change certain techniques.


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// Coming back from a 5 year absence, James gets caught downwind by the Jeri force. But the board was hardly on an edge and the back hand was way too forward.

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//

A week later and the angles and attitude could not be more different – board cranking through the wind and the back hand almost on the clew over-sheeting to dump the excess. 

COMMITTING TO THAT ARC
Gybing in strong winds and churning seas is a test of power control. The danger zone is broad reach to broad reach. The longer you linger in that zone, the more chance you have of being mullered. There’s the tip – commit to the edge, tighten the arc and get through the quadrant of death as quickly as possible.


Speed. It’s normal as you confront strong winds to constantly think about washing off speed.  But if you’ve always got the brakes on, you’re always dealing with a powered up, unstable sail, which places you on the back foot. If you take off jumps slowly and on the back foot, you just rise and flop vertically and unspectacularly.

My constant cry in Jeri was ‘bear away.’ Bear away to get going; bear away approaching a wave, bear away down the wave. A lot has to do with board choice but if you have shed some litres, a smaller board feels ever more stable the faster it’s going.

Smacked by an over-powering gust, it’s not wrong to head up a little to depower. But if your instinct on seeing a gust is to bear away, you’ll be having a lot more fun.

Push not pull.  We need an evolutionary biologist to tell us why that when threatened, our instinct seems to be to hunch up and pull everything in closer. Take a still of anyone struggling in strong winds in mid tack, gybe, or just sailing along,  they’re wearing the rig,  their nose millimetres from the boom. Holding the rig constantly at arms length and powering up the sail by pushing the front arm, rather than by pulling is life-changing. I get people to drop the front hand for a few seconds. It’s normally something they never dream of doing in strong winds. But as they do so the rig swings forward and powers up, and they automatically drop their shoulders and hips back and accelerate.

And with the wind whistling through the eaves and your smallest board dancing under your feet that is where we leave you this month.

The post PETER HART – STRONG WIND TECHNIQUES appeared first on Windsurf Magazine.

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14Aug/15Off

SEPTEMBER 2015 ISSUE ON SALE

SEPTEMBER 2015 ISSUE ON SALE

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WINDSURF MAGAZINE #349 SEPTEMBER 2015 ISSUE ON SALE

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

Subscribe or grab your copy now in either 

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

MAD MEN

The Mad men issue; we report on the best PWA Pozo comp ever. Interview Philip Koester on triple loops and more!. Ricardo Campello writes on life as a pro. Cross the Atlantic with an eco purpose with Flo Jung. Interview speed queen Zara Davis. Freeride round UK landmark Old Harry, with Andy Chambers; Antigua trip; Air taka how to; Waterstart technique; curing bad habits with Harty and winter travel guide.

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koster
PHILIP KOESTER
Triple loops, meeting David Cameron and his love of pizza – a must read interview with the greatest jumper in the world.

pozo
PWA POZO
Nuking winds, insane jumps and the best ever competition at Pozo, Finn Mullen reports from the beach.

Boat trip
AQUA POWER EXPEDITION
Florian Jung makes an epic voyage of discovery and purpose across the Atlantic to highlight conservation of our ocean playgrounds in the company of Boujmaa Guilol and Camille Juban.

Campello
RICARDO CAMPELLO PROFILE
Ricardo Campello talks candidly about life as a pro and an insight into the ups and downs of travelling the world, listing windsurfing as your occupation.

Sean cook
BSA FIRST TIMER SHAUN COOK
We caught up with Shaun Cook to learn more about his new found talent for racing and experiences as a first timer on the BSA slalom circuit, leading the amateur series.

antigua
ANTIGUA
Beautiful Azure waters and truly a ‘Caribbean Dream’, JC brings us the lowdown on Antigua, a freeride destination to take your breath away.

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OLD HARRY
John Carter and Andy Chambers take a trip to showcase a jewel of the Jurassic Coast – the chalk stacks of Old Harry.

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KEVIN PRITCHARD AIR TAKA HOW TO
Kevin Pritchard talks us through the air taka and how to spin it to win it.

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ZARA DAVIS
The fastest women windsurfer in the world and Queen of speed tells us all about her gift for sailing fast.

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WINTER TRAVEL GUIDE
our guides to winter sunny shores from the short haul favourites of the Canary Islands through to the exotic seas of Borocay, Bonaire, Hurghada and Argentina.

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CONFESSIONS OF A WINDSURF PILGRIM
Graham Ezzy explores the nature of windsurfing travel, reflecting on why we sail on distant seas.

TEKKERS

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PETER HART MASTERCLASS
ARE YOU GETTING WORSE? Peter Hart investigates how and why bugs get in the system and what you can do about it.

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MOVE ON UP WITH JEM HALL
IGNITE YOUR WATERSTART Waterstarts are key to windsurfing progress, Jem Hall shows us how.

BOARDSHORTS
LATEST & GREATEST The finest, freshest, not oldest but newest news on the windsurfing world.

SITTIN’ ON THE DUNNY

EDITORIAL
Mad Men. The editor celebrates the madness of windsurfers but wonders if it’s the rest of the world that’s really mad?

AFFAIRS OF THE HART
TO RACE or NOT TO RACE …As the competition season returns from its summer holiday, Harty addresses the subject of competitiveness and competitions.

 


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5Aug/15Off

In Praise of the BOLT

When I’m based at a centre doing a clinic, my over-riding priority is to get everyone set up well on the right kit – because nothing good will happen on the technique front unless you’re balanced, comfortable and confident. Many centres have a wide choice of designs. Marvellous … but too much choice can be a burden. You get used to a rig; then the next day the wind has changed and/or someone has nicked the one you tuned so finely. You’re forced to take another design, which is good … but different – and so you waste an hour tweaking and getting used to it. In Vassiliki this year the place looked like a ‘Bolt-fest!’ Neilson and Ocean Elements are just two of the centres, which have majored on Bolts. Why?

1. Because they are so easy to rig, tune and use
2. And because they eliminate the burden of decision.

I was based at the Neilson centre. Over the week we were blessed with winds ranging from 12-25 knots. As my clients asked me for sail advice on day one I basically said, “follow the Bolts, and all will be well.”

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Neilson racks full of Bolts

People agonise over sail type a they change sizes – “do I need cams?” “Do I need a free-ride/freestyle or wave sail?” The Bolts make that decision for you, gradually mutating and getting more manoeuvre-oriented as they get smaller but still maintaining the same easy feel.

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When you change up or down size, you just want to feel that someone has turned the power up or down – you do NOT want to have to totally readjust to a new design. The Bolts offer consistency and familiarity across the whole range  from the 9.5 down to the 4.0.

Smaller sizes
The area of most confusion currently lies in the sizes of 5.7 and under. How many battens? Where do you want the effort? How full? What feeling – crisp or soft? And the answer you get depends on whether you ask a freestyler or a wave sailor or a speed merchant.
One situation last month in Vass illustrated the glory of the Bolts perfectly. In 18 knots of wind Tim (88 kg) was hammering up and down on an Atom 120 and twin cam 7.8 Bolt – and next to him and holding her own was Kirsty (60kg) on a 103 Kode and a Bolt 5.0. Kirsty, as with many improving free-riders, was still on a relatively big board for her weight (in case the waterstarts didn’t work out) but was getting planing easily and screeching along thanks to a small sail that is both light but still enough low end power to drive a big board.

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PH mid duck gybe with 6.5 Bolt

But before you cast it is as just an easy entry-level tractor, on the same stretch of water we had Max, a Neilson instructor, busting out every new skool trick in the book on the same Bolt 5.0. He ‘d just rigged it with a little more outhaul to tighten up the back end and make it neutralise more easily.

Not surprisingly, 3 of the people on the Vass course went out and immediately bought a selection of Bolts the moment they got home. 

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PH standing with 5.8 Bolt with James Neilson centre manager

 

Click here to read more: Tushingham

16Jul/15Off

AUGUST 2015 ISSUE ON SALE

AUGUST 2015 ISSUE ON SALE

Panel1

WINDSURF MAGAZINE #348 AUGUST 2015 ISSUE ON SALE

The August 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.)

BREAKING BARRIERS
Another super summer issue; we look at all things windsup with a buyers guide, Peter Hart windsup technique special  & the art of windsup travel with Starboard’s Franz Orsi ; UK road tripping on perfect Cornish waves at Harlyn bay, Antoine Albeau, Robby Naish, Josh Angulo all interviewed, Kevin Pritchard’s training tips, Dunkerbeck’s speed challenge, Fanatic photoshoot, Rhodes travel, waist harness buyer’s guide and footstrap/early planing technique with Jem Hall.

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Opening spread F16_WS_DY4_D1_6138

WINDSURFING FANATICS
”Wanted: Photographer to shoot a team of windsurfing die hard Fanatics!”. Sound like your dream job? John Carter exposes the reality of a photo shoot for two of the world’s biggest brands.

Opening Spread TIMO Mullen
THE HARLYN SHUFFLE
The motley crew score crazy Kernow kegs at Harlyn, a thumping beach break that pirated a heavy Cornish bounty of masts and egos, JC tells the tale.

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ANTOINE ALBEAU TITLE CHASE!
John Carter shadows world champion Antoine Albeau during the PWA Costa Brava event to diary the champion at work and learn how he has made the podium his home.

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THE FIRST TIME – JOSH ANGULO
Josh Angulo has a history of being the man with first place or the first person pioneer, but what about the other firsts in his life?, the questionable questioning of ‘the first time’ finds out.

DUNKERBECK SPEED CHALLENGE
John Skye tells all about his bid for glory down the Sotavento strip in his first ever GPS speed competition, while Bjorn Dunkerbeck gives an insight into his unique pro/am event.

Tested
WINDSUP GUIDE
With summer upon us and peak windsup season open for business, we take a look at the market with an overview of the offerings from the brands and some expert advice from the industry.

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ROBBY NAISH, THE SEARCH FOR FREEDOM
Life, business and his own search for freedom, the king of windsurfing sits down for a revealing interview and tells all about a new action sports movie he stars in.

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KEVIN PRITCHARD – COMMITTED.
Kevin Pritchard continues to perform at the peak of the sport. What keeps him at the top is a constant drive to improve. Kevin reflects on his latest program to do just that.

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SAD TROPICS
Franz Orsi takes us on a very personal journey of discovery in North-East Brazil, spending time with local communities and reflecting on the simplicity of windsup sailing.

RESORT REPORT – RHODES – IALYSSOS
The town of Ialyssos in Rhodes is a windsurfing paradise. Peter Hart explains the attractions and Juergen Niens and Bertrand Crausaz give the local lowdown.

TEKKERS

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PETER HART MASTERCLASS – STANDING UP AND SAILING
Harty reckons WindSUPing is best thing that has happened to windsurfing in ages. Let him help you choose one, set it up and tweak your technique to sail it.

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MOVE ON UP WITH JEM HALL – PLANING AND FOOTSTRAPS
Perhaps the most important skill in windsurfing, Jem provides tips for planing early and getting in the footstraps efficiently.

BOARDSHORTS

LATEST & GREATEST
Want to see all the new gear, the trick bits and rad rides – look here, it’s all fresh!

WAIST HARNESS BUYER’S GUIDE
Investment in a good waist harness can be one of the most important bits of kit you buy. We take a look at the latest offerings and Robby Swift gives us his expert advice.

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LOWDOWN – STARBOARD AIRPLANE
Starboard have released a range of fully-planing inflatable freeride boards, aptly titled the ‘Starboard AirPlane’. We interview their designer Tiesda You for the lowdown.

CORKY KIRKHAM
Corky Kirkham is one of the most colourful UK windsurfers, with new sponsors and a surfari business launching this year. We caught up with K212 to hear about his ventures, old and new.

 

SITTIN’ ON THE DUNNY

EDITORIAL
Breaking barriers The Editor invites you to meet his windsurfing hero, Craig Wood, a soldier, windsurfer, triple amputee survivor and inspiration to break barriers in windsurfing and life.

AFFAIRS OF THE HART – AIRPORT GRIEF – THE HOLIDAY BAGGAGE CONUNDRUM.
It’s the holiday season. You’re heading to a windy Riviera. Harty muses over the pros and cons, joys and misery of flying with kit.

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22Jun/15Off

PETER HART TOOLING UP FOR THE SWELL

PETER HART TOOLING UP FOR THE SWELL

wave kit 01

PETER HART TOOLING UP  FOR THE SWELL

The only thing more daunting than confronting a meaty Swell for the first time, is trying to choose kit for the job. The options appear overwhelming. Fresh from his 5 week wave clinic tour of the North Atlantic, Harty helps you prioritise and explain what’s most likely to help or hinder.

Story PETER HART


We looked at each other with all the mutual understanding of a Chinaman and a Frenchman discussing the value of a good forward defensive cricket stroke. “How much tuck do you want in these rails? How much tail kick? Wings or squash tail? Where do want the entry point?” “Er …I just want it to go round corners.” The year was 1981. The place was Crantock Street in Newquay, Cornwall and the man standing in front of me with a saw, a block of foam and all the ridiculous questions, was Tad Ciastula of Vitamin Sea Surfboards.

Along with 3 friends, I’d booked a trip to Lanzarote with the sole objective of learning to sail a ‘sinker’ – the moniker given to boards in that era that didn’t support your weight when stationary. We had just seen a video clip from Hawaii of Mike Waltze sailing waves on what looked like a modified surfboard and wanted a piece of that action. They didn’t exist in production form so we had to get them made. Someone had put us onto Tad because he was skilled, personable and open to new ideas. But he didn’t windsurf; so had to be given at least a germ of an idea of what was needed before he could start having new ones.

I had been thrust forward to discuss because I surfed. Well I had a surfboard and could stand up but I was no Kelly Slater. I didn’t speak a word of ‘shaper-ese’ and had not one meaningful syllable to offer him. But there began a fertile relationship. We backed away from the foam, sat around a table and tried to address the real objectives, not the fantasy. “How much time will you really spend with your edges in contact with a wave face?” Not that much. “What kind of conditions are you likely to confront (not the ones you want to confront)?” Mush.

Tad grasped the ‘blasting about joyfully but meaninglessly’ aspect of windsurfing and could see that what we were after primarily were boards that afforded us a little more speed and control in wild winds and rough seas … but which at least gave us the option of riding waves – i.e. not a surfboard with a mastfoot but a smaller windsurfer with a few more surfy bits. What today would be called a ‘freestyle wave.’

We copied footstrap and mastfoot positions from existing boards but added a 12” Malibu fin box as a mast-track to gives us greater trimming options. As for fins, we went for a three fin ‘thruster’ arrangement (sound familiar?) – purportedly to add more grip and drive in steeply banked turns (whatever they were) but in reality to offer a bit more resistance and reduce the spin out, which was a way of life in that era. Tri-fins were also the current trend in surfboards – we weren’t immune to trends even back then.

As for size, in a rare moment of clarity I shared the lesson I’d learned with surfing which was that you don’t get to ride a wave unless you make it through the break and can paddle fast enough into a wave to catch it early, for which big is beautiful. So we didn’t go too small, 270 cm and about 100 ltrs in today’s money (which actually felt really small for the time.) It was important, we decided, that we could actually sail the things.Tad suggested that as soon as we reached that position where we were catching wave after wave and genuinely felt we were being held back by the design, not by incompetence, then he would make some tweaks.

And did these boards work? Absolutely. Well three of them did. One of our band, Aussie Phil, had ideas way above his station. In his deluded mind he was already ripping Hawaiian reef breaks and kept asking Tad what would make the board ‘snappier’ and more manoeuvrable. “Tail kick you say? Well give me a load more of that mate!” And so Phil ended up with an undersized stick shaped like a court-jester’s slipper, which pushed so much water that he planed just once during the whole six weeks we were in the Canaries; and that was during a Scirocco gale.

The last we heard of Phil, he was back in Oz farming bamboo. Anyway, the reason for that rambling anecdote is that the questions asked and lessons learned during that pioneering encounter, are pretty much the same today as you ponder kit for the waves. What do you really want this board to do? Ride, jump or blast?

What sea state do you mostly encounter? Swell or wind blown waves?

What kit are you used to? What’s your style? Do you have a style? Do you want one? Do you care?

The way to approach this is to explain the fundamental concepts of wave kit – and then look at the current frills. It’s a bit like buying a car in that first you have to decide on the basic requirements such as size, horsepower, seats for kids and space for dog, kit, partner etc; and then agonise over the details of traction control, size of subwoofer, number of cup holders etc. The approach starts with the self.

When it comes to selecting wave kit do not fall prey to ‘me-no-good, can’t-tell-the-difference’ syndrome.

Confidence Crisis
Self-deprecation is the windsurfer’s worst enemy. “It doesn’t matter what kit I get because I’m useless and wont be able to tell the difference” are words frequently uttered by the novice deciding to cobble together some dusty bits gleaned from a garage sale.  Hopefully someone plucks them from the jaws of eternal stagnation by providing them with a combo designed specifically for their level. Thereafter they do associate progress with equipment and set-up. They realise that planing and getting into the straps was only possible when rig matched board; and straps, harness lines and boom height were all configured so that they could line themselves up directly with the power and deliver a constant force into the board via feet and mastfoot without crouching, twisting, straining or popping discs. That attitude to kit should then follow them all the way up through the levels – especially into wave sailing.

The harder the discipline, the narrower the appropriate kit window – if you’re fighting the wave kit and struggling just to sail in a straight line, what chance have you when you throw waves into the mix?  Wave kit may be different but it should not be difficult. The easier it is to sail, the more you lift your head, relax and sail tactically. Don’t think that just because you have no experience you wont be able to tell the difference between good and not so good wave equipment. You will.

Yesterday was a better place
Yesterday at East Wittering I counted 50 mostly recreation-al sailors out on the water (but it was a Tuesday – so obviously without jobs). It was brutal. The wind was gusting from 15-50 knots and the sea was a mess with a vicious cross chop atop a lazy, intermittent swell. Yet these people weren’t just out, they were doing stuff. Popping big jumps, lining up on waves, screaming off down the line, smacking lips. Ten years ago on the same patch, perhaps 5-10 would have braved such conditions of which a couple with lots of logos on their sails, would have been actually doing something. So what has happened in those 10 years? Basically vastly improved wave kit has brought the upper levels within reach. But how?



THE CHOICES PEOPLE MAKE
The participants of my recent wave clinic in Tiree stand before their favourite sticks. No one was hamstrung by their equipment. Their choices were sound and worked even though some seemed surprising – like 30 year old ripping Mike going for a single fin and 50yr old, lake-dwelling Viki favouring a quad. There’s gigabytes of information out there so it’s interesting to hear what informed their decisions.

088 Peter Hart Article Updated

// (1) Ruth is a relative newcomer to waves and living in Cumbria doesn’t get to the coast that often. Her chosen boards are 103 and 78 freewaves.
“I had rubbish boards before, got advice from a clinic and did what I was told (well done Jem!). I didn’t go for a full on wave boards because at this stage I think I need more allround designs to nail the basics.”
// (2) Mike is in his early 30s and having taken a couple of years off to travel and windsurf, he’s very good. His board of choice is 76 Real Wave single fin.
“I broke my board in Perth. The Real Wave was available for a good price. I reckoned the single fin would work best both in the chop of Perth and the mushy waves of home where you need speed to do anything. I think it’s beginning to hold my riding back. I tend to spin out a lot when I try and crank it which is making me draw out my turns so I’m in the market for a multi fin.”
// (3) Rob loves his kit and has improved hugely in the waves since buying a SUP. He’s holding a Quad 92. He has an 82 as well. It wasn’t something he planned: “I was actually after a twin but there was a 6 month wait so I went for the Quad and love it. I had an 86 fsw but in the waves I just found it too fast and lively. I’m not aware of having to change my style that much but my coach said the Quad has forced me to use my front foot more, which is nice to know.”

// (4) Viki, despite doing most of her sailing on a lake running a T15 squad, has perhaps the most dedicated wave board, a 75 Quattro Quad, but loves it.“When I first came on these wave clinics I had rubbish old kit, which felt very technical to sail. For me the big thing is still getting out through the waves. I liked the look of the Quad. I find it really easy to sail and what helps more than anything is that the small fins and wide tail allow me to launch early and get straight into the straps. And for some reason I find I stay upwind.”


Don’t make do! The game has changed.
Before you plump for that classic model, a snip at fifty quid though it may be, understand how the overall wave sailing game has changed. In the past a wave board’s manoeuvrability was linked primarily to its size and amount of rocker. Fewer litres meant thinner ‘grippier’ edges, which held in at speed. More rocker – the curve nose to tail but especially in the tail – helped the board to sit in the water and ‘snap’ round. But both those features made it slow to plane. Wave sailing for most was therefore a windy pursuit, 20-25 knots plus. To keep us afloat, we would load little boards with relatively big sails. Big wave boards did exist but they bounced and skipped the moment the going got tough. The problem was that sticking to a relatively long (250 ish) and narrow outline, the only way to build in volume was to thicken the edges.

It was a decade ago that the outlines suddenly changed. Short wide boards weren’t an immediate success, but it set us on a right track. They had more curve in the plan shape so you could engage the whole rail in the turn without tripping  – like a surfboard. But you had adopt a more surfy style, standing in the middle of the board (more about that shortly)

Thanks to squillions of R and D hours experimenting with minute adjustments of volume distribution and various blends of rail shape and rocker, they have improved immeasurably. We are now in the happy place today where bigger boards work so much better. The difference in outline between a modern 75 ltr and 90 ltr board is not so different. The extra volume has been cleverly hidden in places that aid the float but detract minimally from the performance. This has changed our relationship with power. Sitting higher in the water, bigger boards need less grunt to push them along on and off the plane. Riding hanging onto a lot of power, you can’t take up wild angles because you’re always resisting the rig. Typically good sailors are using 0.5 sq m less than they were a few years back. Using a smaller rig widens your cage of movement. It’s easier to hide and depower the sail allowing you drop deeper into turns, drive the board like a surfer. Whereas once you were judged by how small a board you used in the waves, now it’s by how small a rig you can get away with. But away from the glory of eye-popping off-the-lips, it’s the most basic considerations that have the biggest influence. Back to yesterday’s gale – as the tide turned, the current inshore started ripping downwind at about 4 knots, yet the majority were managing to hold station. That would never have happened before. Do the modern boards point higher? Not necessarily – but they plane earlier and longer. If you drop off the plane where the current is running (often around the impact zone), for every second you are off the plane, you’re losing about a metre downwind. The newer, wider, designs help you get through those rips and fluffy patches. Whether you’re learning to carve gybe or sail waves, it’s the ability to stay upwind that has arguably the greatest influence on your progress.



Pros eye view pt 2 JOHN SKYE on fins and battens
Listening to those on the cutting edge of the wave scene is interesting because they take the kit to its limits and really can identify the differences.

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// I mostly use twin or quad. All my boards are quad, but depending on the conditions I alternate the set up. Twin makes the board a bit more free and pivot better, so I tend to choose this set up when its very light winds (e.g., 5.7 and 92 setup) or when its very small and junky onshore surf. As a quad the boards have more grip and more drive, and the front fins pull the board into the water which also aids control. If the waves are better I find the quad set up can give me more speed through the turns. I haven’t played around too much with the Thruster set up, but I feel this give a bit more directional stability and maybe makes the board more settled. But I still need to play with this more and now we have 5 boxes in our boards it allows me to do that.
For me the less battens you have the more reactive the sail becomes. That means more feedback for the rider, which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on what you are looking for. So in general a 3 batten sail will change shape a lot more as you ride. When you sheet the sail in, typically it will create a lot more power and drive instantly and the same when you sheet out with the power leaving the sail more quickly. In riding this can be a big advantage if you want to use the sail to power you through turns and then release the power at the top. On the other side you have 5 battens. These are less reactive, which can be a positive. If a gust hits, the sail will stay more in control and the rider can forget the sail more and focus on riding. They also tend to offer a more consistent power for jumping. The 4 batten sits somewhere in the middle and is my personal preference, offering a reactive feel when riding, and good control for jumping. It is important to also consider that it is not just the number of battens that effect these things, but also the designed usage of the sail. RRD for example have the Four and the Vogue which both feature 4 battens. However the Four is more reactive and with more power, whilst the Vogue is more controllable and settled.

 

Volume – the key factor
“Shall I get an 85 or a 95?” The general rule is that the bigger the board, given the general lack of storms, the more use you’ll get out of it. As little as 5 years ago I would have said the ‘go to …’  wave board is your weight in litres.
Today I add 7-10 litres to that. At 85(ish) kg my most used board is my 92 which I use with a 5.7, 5.2 an sometimes even 4.7.But it does depend, of course, on your ability and what you plan to do with it. Some choose wave boards primarily as high wind blasters specifically for use with sails under 5.0. In which case go smaller.

The main consideration is whether you truly intend to ride proper waves. The reality is that on the best riding days, from Cornwall, to Tahiti, in side or side off conditions, the wind is gusty and often light.
The deciding factor is what board do you need to punch through white water and how much volume do you need to bog around comfortably off the plane and perhaps even uphaul? For an 80 kg bloke, it’s about 90 ltrs but add another 10 or 15 to that if you’re challenged in the general trimming and balance departments.

STYLE – how much can you change?
My friend Filippo, who has a van full of the very latest Quads, commented that he doesn’t know many sports like windsurfing (and wave sailing in particular) where the amateur aspires to use exactly the same kit as the pros. It’s an interesting point – and maybe they shouldn’t. Modern wave designs have been developed mostly by young people whose style has been shaped through surfing, freestyle and wave-sailing, which means they’ve never really used a fin. They stand over the board and sail and turn off the front foot.

Most recreational sailors, on the other hand, come from a free-ride background. They sail off the leech and drive all the power through the back foot against the rail and into that powerful fin, which they use like a safety blanket. The two styles couldn’t be more different. A lot are happy to make the transition, but an equal amount struggle. The question is how far are you prepared to bend towards the new way? It depends on how many hours you can put in to adapt – but also on your DNA. I am lucky enough to have access to all the new stuff. I’ve moved with the changes  and embrace the front foot, big board, small sail surfing style … almost.

However I spent a big chunk of my formative years competing in slalom where the gybe is all about a massive sheet in and driving that power into a long sharp edge and feeling it bite. The thing is, I still like that feeling in my wave sailing and so probably use a slightly bigger sail than is hip, and hence tend to ‘fin up’ my boards a little more. There may be an old dog and new tricks issue, but I prefer the word ‘heritage.’ I can’t get over it, I quite like the feeling of a little extra power.

The message is to adapt, but not move so far from what you know that you can’t function. If, try as you might, you can’t help but give the back foot the odd reassuring hoof, then don’t be afraid to invest in big fins, err towards a single fin or maybe a freestyle wave board. Now there’s a can brimming with wrigglers

“I borrowed a quad off Chris ‘Muzza’ Murray, new school to the core, and when I swapped the 13cm fins for 16s, so incredulous was he that I might as well have poured lemonade into his real ale. But it worked for me”

 



HOLDING IN
The modern board and rig combo in action in what is now called ‘real world’ conditions – identifiable waves but nothing bone-crunching. One major advantage of the multi-fin design is how the fins pull them into the water allowing you to do tight full rail turns at relatively slow speed – and therefore stay on the wave face and not outrun it.  Note how the set and design of the sail naturally pull you up onto the front foot.

wave kit 05

// Above It may not feel comfortable for blasting but getting used to widely spaced, open, inboard straps that leave your feet right on the centre-line, is the biggest step you’ll make towards controlled riding. Photo Danielle of GetWindsurfing

 

THE FREESTYLE WAVE QUESTION
When it comes to explaining the wave vs freestyle wave board option, I value the opinion of a man who actually designs them. Tiesda Yo of Starboard.“If you’re asking yourself this question, the answer is probably FreeWave. A Kode 81, 86 or 94, it’s like buying a BMW M3. It’s got four doors, it’ll commute to work and it’ll rip on the track. FreeWaves are the choice for high-wind blasting, jumping and wave riding. But if most of your windsurfing is carving up peeling walls of water, then go for the dedicated wave board and forget the BMW.” It’s the versatility of the fsw that you’re buying into. The choice of strap positions allow you to adapt your style gradually, moving them inboard, opening them up millimeter by millimeter as well as reducing fin size (and on the latest designs, adding some thrusters). The set up, learning to sail upright, leaning forward with both feet on or across the centerline, has at least as much influence on your ability to perform in waves, as the design.When you’re good enough to feel that point where the fsw is hampering your riding ambitions, you can trust your own decisions about the next step.

Pro’s eye view pt 1. Jamie Hancock and the fin question.
Jamie is one of our great home-grown talents. At 68kg he’s at the lighter end of the scale – and the smallest board he uses these days is a round 68 ltr (used to 60ltr). He has this to say about the fin question. “For me it is simply a question of what best compliments my board. My Tabou boards come with 5 fin slots so there is an option for any set up. Last year I used quads for added grip and switched to twins for added speed in onshore conditions on the same board. This year I’m using tri fins as they have a winged tail (steps in the tail). That is what is best for this board. I find thrusters are a kind of compromise between quads and twins and work really well. So the number of fins really depend on what gets the most out of your board – I don’t have a favourite. Fin sizes are a whole new story …!”

Fin Multiplicity – How many and where???
I often start my wave clinics by showing people some footage I took of Josh Angulo sailing his crunching home break of Punta Preta in the Cap Verdes. To this day you will not see a more impressive display of down-the-line (downwind) wave-riding with full power bottom turns, cranking, vertical, one handed cut-backs under the lip with rail engaged right up to the nose logo, as well as massive aerials. It was 6 years ago and he was using a bog standard, production, 88 ltr board he grabbed from the racks of his hire centre with a 22cm single fin. The message is you have to get into some wildly extreme situations before you will be held back by classic, good, no frills wave kit – and even then probably not – assuming it’s the right size for you and the conditions and matched by a well-set rig.

The year before  at the 2007 inaugural and now legendary PWA wave event at that very same spot, Kauli Seadi kicked off the multi-fin rush by tucking his new quad fin design into some super tight pockets and drawing lines that no one had seen before. It’s also possible he performed thus because he’s brave and incredibly skilful and that other aspects of his new board design were more influential (the outline, the rocker etc) than the cluster of fins. But it’s also worth noting that Josh won that event on that same 88 ltr single fin.

My advice is not to get too distracted by the question of how many fins. Fins, of course, are very very important but they’re the icing on a big and very complicated cake. If you’re looking to compartmentalise you can say:

Quads – powerful turns.

Tri-fin (thurster) – powerful turns but more directional

Twins – loose, surfy, skatey.

Single fin – yet more directional, secure, predictable.

The first twin I tried about 5 years ago, I hated. I would have more secure going down the fast lane of the M6 on a wet Friday night on a shopping trolley. It would go in any direction but straight. But I love my new one – it’s fast, directional but loose in the right areas. It’s not about the fins, the basic design has simply improved.

Many of the latest models are coming with 5 fin boxes. It seems like a choice you can do without but it’s the best solution. If the board is good it will work with every set-up. Having the options allows you to tune it for different conditions (see the comments of Jamie Hancock and John Skye), onshore or sideshore, riding or jumping – or just settle on a feel that suits your style. And everyone has a style even thought they don’t recognise it as such.


BIG WAVE BOARD OR FREESTYLE WAVE
The new kid on the block is the supersize wave board, some now weighing in at 120 litres – an unthinkable design as little as 3 or 4 years ago. From recent experience I can affirm the one I tried was amazing. But the mistake I have seen some make already is to think they’ll double up nicely as chunky allrounders. No, they are wave boards. The volume around the mastfoot is there to help you drift out in very light winds where you might normally only be able to use a SUP. But the rocker line that makes them so maneuverable on a wave, and the wide stance, does not make for particularly early planing or a comfortable speed stance. If you want the option of blasting and speedy gybing, go for a freestyle wave.

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// Despite weighing in at a shade over 60 kg Phil Richards loved the 120 wave board for no wind wave riding.
Photo Danielle of GetWindsurfing

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// The outline and straighter rocker of the fsw makes it the more versatile option. Photo Simon Bassett


WAVE RIGS – and the batten question
If you’ve been in this sport long enough, you will get the odd déjà vu. I happened recently upon some correspondence I had with Roger Tushingham while testing sails in Barbados in the late 80s. It was all to do with the ‘soft’ (sail with leech battens) vs hard (sail with full length battens) wave sail debate. He had sent me the first batch of fully battened prototypes. I didn’t like them. I couldn’t feel what was going on. They were heavier. When you sheeted out they still pulled. The argument was that they were more stable. In the end we reached a compromise and the new sails arrived with the option of either full or
half battens.

And that’s pretty much where we are now with the 5,4, or 3 batten sail debate. At the NWF I was discussing the issue with Sam Ross and we decided only half jokingly that we seem to be in the throes of
redesigning the training sail. As a beginner a batten-less sail gives you more feel as well as visual clues (flapping) as to its state of trim. It also bags out to give you a lot of power for its size. But it’s all good, if just a little confusing. Lets us dodge the batten issue for a second, and as with boards, focus on basics.

Match a wave board with a wave sail. It’ll be more robust and likely to stay the course. But the key design features are a flatter foil, which goes neutral and depowers as you sheet out, and a centre of effort which is higher and more forward and lifts you up, inboard and onto your front foot into that ‘ready to surf’ position. A tighter leech and that high centre of effort lifts the board out of the water and allows you to get away with a smaller sail. Compare that to a more speed oriented sail which has more shape in the bottom battens, pushes the board onto the water and encourages a hunkered down, fin-driving, speed stance. When it comes to battens, the less you have, the more information you get from the sail, (good for tricky wave riding situations), the more low end power it produces (good for multi fin boards where you’re trying to get away with a small sail); but also the less stable it is – not so good for powered up jumping.

Currently I have a mix of 4 and 5 battens. I currently favour 5 because, as I mentioned, I like to be a little more powered up than perhaps is strictly necessary and also gives a bigger wind range – a definite bonus when I’m coaching and the van is a long way from the waves.

Harty returns with yet more words of technique wisdom in the next issue.  In the meantime check his website for details of the 2014/15 clinic schedule (and how to buy a copy of his new gybing DVD) or email him to get his monthly newsletter – harty@peter-hart.com

The post PETER HART TOOLING UP FOR THE SWELL appeared first on Windsurf Magazine.

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11Jun/15Off

JULY 2015 ISSUE ON SALE

JULY 2015 ISSUE ON SALE

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WINDSURF MAGAZINE #347 JULY 2015 ISSUE ON SALE

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

BLAST INTO SUMMER COAST RUN – PORTLAND TO LULWORTH

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DEFI WIND – 


THE ULTIMATE RACE

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BIG JUICY READS

Defi
DEFI WIND – RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINES
Plucky Brit, Peter Crosby, reports first hand on the windiest Defi ever while organiser Francky Roguet recounts the crazy carnage of the biggest startline in windsurfing.

Lulworth
MAUI’S WEST SIDE STORY
John Carter lays bare Maui’s lesser known West side with its stunning scenery and range of sick sailing spots.

Bigbury
BIGBURY SPOT GUIDE
Learn all about this famed South Devon wave spot from local Dave Ewer as JC and Timo Mullen take a road trip to Bigbury.

Ben Profitt
FIRST TIME – BEN PROFFITT
John Carter breaks down the Rhosneigr ripper’s inner demons in the pound store psychology of ‘The first time….’

_B9Q0552
FIVE GO WINDSURFING! – PORTLAND TO LULWORTH COVE
Five heroic windsurfers brave the treacherous seas of the Jurassic Coast for a jolly good downwinder. What could possibly go right!, JC reports.

Oda
ODA JOHANNE – NORDIC FREESTYLE QUEEN
How does a young woman from Norway become Vice World Champion, we sit down with Oda to find out.

Taty
TATY’S TIPS – SLALOM SPEED FOR THE LIGHTER RIDER
We quiz Taty Frans on his secrets for going fast as a lighter rider and being one of the most well rounded sailors in the world, competing in Slalom & Freestyle.

POINTS OF VIEW
We quiz some of the finest windsurfing selfie shooters on the planet for their tips, tales and tricks of the trade in using point of view cameras.

GEAR SHED

Test
130 LITRE FREERIDE BOARDS –

THE THIN (WIDE) LINE
The large freeride board was the principal domain of the intermediate rider, but is there a little more to the large freeride hull now? Our team investigates.

Fanatic Gecko 133
JP Magic Ride 132
RRD Firemove 130
Starboard Atom 130
Tabou Rocket Wide 128

7.5 CAMMED SAILS – THE WINGS OF THE DOVE
Camless freeride sails are ever popular, so what of the camber inducer? Has it become solely the domain of the amateur and professional racer? The team investigate.

Attitude Hornet 7.8
Ezzy Lion 7.5
GA Sails Phantom 7.8
North S-Type 7.8
Severne Overdrive 7.8
Simmer 2XC 7.8
RRD Firewing MKIII 7.8
Tushingham Bolt 7.8

TEKKERS

Harty
PETER HART MASTERCLASS – ALL A QUIVER
How many? What’s the best gap between sizes? Cams or no cams? Should you mix the brands? Peter Hart helps you amass the bespoke quiver.

Jem
MOVE ON UP WITH JEM HALL – VULCAN HOW TO 
Jem Hall breaks down the perfect introductory move to intermediate freestyle.

BOARDSHORTS

LATEST & GREATEST
The golden glint of shiny new kit glows brightly in these pages; read, drool, repeat.

SUMMER ACCESSORIES
It’s summer, yay! time to tan and kick back with a Cornetto. Read on for our guide to the best in summer accessories!

SITTIN’ ON THE DUNNY

EDITORIAL – GONE WITH THE WIND.
The Editor champions the act of going downwind, why the windsurfer rules this point of sail and why we don’t do it more?

AFFAIRS OF THE HART – FUNGIE THE DOLPHIN.
Harty dons his hippy hat to explain why Fungie, the resident dolphin of Dingle Harbour, has such a special place in his heart of Hart’s !

 

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25May/15Off

BJORN DUNKERBECK THE TERMINATOR

BJORN DUNKERBECK THE TERMINATOR

BJORN DUNKERBECK  THE TERMINATOR

Bjorn Dunkerbeck has dominated modern windsurfing and his mere name defined winning. So when he announced his retirement we needed to know more, but all of us in the office were too scared to ask. Decades of domination were built on his icy reputation. Having decided unanimously amongst the team that we were all cowards, we rigged the short straws so JC had to go face to face with the Terminator and left him with strict instructions not to look him in the eyes otherwise he’d probably die. Many biscuits were bitten and teas nervously drunk before he returned but thankfully he did, bringing back a must read interview with the most successful windsurfer in the world and his retirement plans for anything but pipe and slippers.

Words & Photos JOHN CARTER

(This feature originally appeared in the March 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!)

Some say he should have quit while he was ahead as PWA Slalom world champion back in 2011 but the simple truth of the matter is that Bjorn Dunkerbeck just loves to windsurf and the thrill of competition is in his blood and something that was always going to be tough to let go. The last two years have been a rocky road for Bjorn on tour, the sweet smell of victory has evaporated to a certain extent with 13th and 14th places in the overall rankings; tough results to handle after years of domination! Bjorn has been publicly critical of light wind slalom, a major factor in his decision to announce the final curtain on his thirty year PWA career would be drawn at the end of the 2104 season.

So when Bjorn held his press conference in Sylt delivering this shockwave to the windsurfing world, I sensed an interview with this icon of windsurfing was imminent. The big question was when and where? My initial thoughts were to plan it right after his last race in Noumea but what if he wasn’t in the mood or he had a bad race. If he did not cooperate then I could blow the whole thing! I could have snagged him down straight away during Sylt or in La Torche but it just did not seem right to interview him until his PWA career was officially terminated. So I decided to take my chances and leave it until Noumea, in my books it had to be done right after the last race after 30 years on tour. That’s when the emotions would be flowing, the quiver bags finally packed and the moment he would start focusing his legendary status, skills and passion in a new direction. Come the final morning of the last day of Noumea, I knew it was going to be a hectic day. Albeau and Moussilmani were locked in battle for the title, plus there was a prize giving ceremony after the racing and the usual bag packing frenzy that goes down after an event.

Unfortunately for Dunky he made an uncharacteristic mistake in his final ever round of PWA slalom and sailed the wrong heat but surprisingly when I tracked him down in his pit area after the racing he was in a upbeat mood and was more than happy to sit down for an interview to reflect on his thirty years of professional competition. Far from being the end of the road for Bjorn, his piercing eyes still looked hungry for more glory as he answered my questions about the past, present and future. It proved to be a story not just about the end of a  journey but also the start of another chapter in the life of living legend, Bjorn Dunkerbeck!

Click here to read more: Windsurf Magazine

19May/15Off

JUNE 2015 ISSUE ON SALE

JUNE 2015 ISSUE ON SALE

Panel5

WINDSURF MAGAZINE #346 JUNE 2015 ISSUE ON SALE

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

España

THE 

LAST TIME WITH NIK BAKER


  //

GRAN CANARIA 


SPOT GUIDE // 

TARIFA 

DAY 


TRIPPING 

Subscribe or grab your copy now in either App or Print  versions!
(Prices include delivery anywhere globally 10 times a year.)

001 FC WS346 v3

BIG JUICY READS

Los Roque1
LOS ROQUES – THE MAGICAL ISLANDS
Diony Guadagnino and Ricardo Campello team up for a voyage of surf discovery in their homeland.

Mo Twins
MORENO TWINS – DOUBLE TROUBLE
Same but different, John Carter interviews the most successful windsurfing sisters in the world

NIK BAKER MAIN SHOT
LAST TIME – NIK BAKER
The UK’s most successful competitor on the PWA, faces his demons under the terrifying torture of ‘The Last Time !’

STALLED FORWARD
STALLED FORWARD – HOW TO
Young gun Pablo Ramírez (Pablito) breaks down the stock move of any Gran Canaria hot shot – the stalled forward !

Adam lewis2
PROFILE – ADAM LEWIS
John Carter finds out what it’s like to be a young Brit on tour and a rider on one of the world’s biggest windsurfing teams.

Spot guide
GRAN CANARIA – SPOT GUIDE
From the high winds of Pozo to flat water spots, that even beginners can enjoy. Chris Pressler gives us his guide.

Tarifa
24 HOURS IN TARIFA
JC, Timo Mullen and local Ben Van der Steen team up for a hit and run to Tarifa for a 24 hour mission that didn’t disappoint !

Ross BW
WIGHT WINTER
Ross Williams exchanged winter training abroad for a winter at home on the Isle of Wight. JC finds out why the plan paid off.

GEAR SHED

Test 1
125 LITRE FREERACE BOARDS
Everyone loves to go fast; we test the boards that will make you love it even more.

STARBOARD Futura 114
FANATIC Ray 120
RRD Firestorm 120
TABOU Speedster 118
JP 124 Super Sport

7.0 NO CAM FREERACE SAILS
All the speed without all the fuss, we test the sails that provide all-round performance as well as fun.

NORTH E-Type 7.3
SEVERNE NCX 7.0
GOYA Nexus 6.9
EZZY Cheetah 7.0m
RRD Fire 6.8
SIMMER V-max 7.2
NEIL PRYDE Hellcat 7.2

TEKKERS

Peter Hart Harness

PETER HART MASTERCLASS
HOOK, LINE and SINKER! Harty solves everything about the harness – design, set-up and technique?

jem hall
MOVE ON UP WITH JEM HALL
PREPARATION, PREPARATION – Jem Hall looks at preparing effectively for carving tacks and carve gybes

BOARDSHORTS

Travel
SPAIN AND CANARIES MICRO GUIDE
We round up some of the best hot spots of Spain and the Canary Islands.

LATEST & GREATEST
Did you hear the one about the Antique shop that had nothing new! – the opposite is here – fresh bits on the latest kit.

SITTIN’ ON THE DUNNY

EDITORIAL
España – From world champions to windsurfers with a healthy career/life balance, the Spanish have it all Editor muses why.

AFFAIRS OF THE HART
Harty charts his love/hate for Fuerteventura, a story of catapults & trashed hire cars, usually in the company of Whitey.

 

 

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14May/15Off

PETER HART THE CAMERA TRAP

PETER HART THE CAMERA TRAP

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

PETER HART THE CAMERA TRAP

The video sequence or the photographic still can be an invaluable teaching aid… so long as you get the right shot and know what you’re looking at. Peter Hart has advice both for the photographer and ‘photographee.’

With PETER HART

(This feature originally appeared in the January February 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!)


You may be an exception but the improvement graph of most windsurfers starts with a steady upward path; but then suddenly looks like the heart activity of a dying man on a defibrillator – flat lines interspersed with vertical spikes – which makes it exciting and frustrating …but probably more the latter. The secret lies in understanding what was responsible for those joyous spikes. What made you suddenly put the back foot in the strap? Drop forward rather than lean back into a carve gybe? Turn the head to look down the wave as you turned off the lip?

There is no one answer of course – nevertheless I’m going to give you one – it’s feedback.

At beginner level you get plenty of it. The light wind arena is closed and safe. The proximity of a mentor dissipates anxiety – the greatest learning inhibitor. Communication is easy and although the incoherent mate who’s teaching you doesn’t know his luff from his leech, some of the information is useful even if it’s limited to opening and closing doors and sticking your bum in. But with a decent teacher, the scenario is not so different from getting your forehand drilled by a tennis coach – thanks to his or her constant verbal tweaking or demonstrating, bad habits never have a chance to engrain themselves.

But as the wind increases and you bump onto the plane, your windsurfing universe expands. And with every metre you skim gloriously away from the shore, the chance of useful feedback reduces. To prevent technical stagnation, you have to keep the feedback channels open. But how?

Go on a clinic, he said with no hint of self-interest, where you’ll luxuriate in a hot tub of feedback, but you can’t be on one all the time. As you seek to improve, the best place to look is upwards. How do the pros break down the barriers? Apart from privilege, opportunity and instinctive brilliance their greatest and least heralded talent is their ability to self-coach. For the vast majority, the video is as an indispensable tool. To master the most complex moves, you have to be acutely aware of where you, rig and body have to be at every stage of the move. It’s not just a ‘crash, burn, learn’ approach. They really put the ‘anal’ in ‘analysis, scrutinising every frame of the footage like a biologist picking through the carcass of a dead rat.

Quizzed on the subject, the first comment I got from Ben Profitt was “it’s pretty much the way I learn everything.” (See elsewhere in this article a more detailed account of his method.)

As moves get harder, the window for error turns into a slit. For the vast majority of pros, the video is an indispensable tool


What the video brings
Used well, the video is as multi-functional as a Swiss Army knife.

It’s the rewind button for your muscle memory.
“Reg … do you remember that jump you did about half an hour ago? Well you took off about 10º too far into wind… you don’t remember? OK … whatever.”

The problem with live feedback, especially in wild seas where it’s not convenient to keep coming in and out, is that it’s delayed. The video jogs the memory, gives you a visual reference and makes the feedback relevant.

It closes the gap between perception and ego-busting reality.
What we think we’re doing is rarely what we are doing. Frank was a good gyber – on the flat waters of Dahab’s Baby Bay at least – but he hardly ever bent his knees, which is a key element in controlling the arc and being able to pressure the edge evenly though chop.

He came in after a series of planing dry ones seeking praise and affirmation. I pointed out the straight leg thing. He couldn’t have been more incandescent if I’d suggested he drove like a pensioner. “I think you’ll find I did.” He sniffed.

The video playback revealed the naked truth. The thing is he did bend his knees, ever so slightly, as he initiated. But as the board tilted over, the legs straightened again – he didn’t remember that bit. Being able to relate the feeling to the picture is a massive help.

Fault-finding and positive reinforcement
Video allows you to keep on practising after the event. Pawing over sequences again and again reveals more and more details of good and bad and really puts you in touch with what’s going on. But the camera is just a tool and just as you can write rubbish with a beautiful fountain pen, it’s worse than useless in the wrong hands.

Here’s a typical postmodern windsurfing preparation routine. Arrive. Park. Stare at sea/lake. Assess wind strength. Jog back to car avoiding eye contact with Geoffrey, the resident boffin who will otherwise engage you in a 20 minute one way discussion about foil flex percentages. Rig, change, launch – total time so far, 11 minutes and 24 seconds. But now add a further 90 minutes for activities under the general heading of ‘briefing film crew and setting up Point of View cameras. Everyone is at it and great it is too. But where you point them depends whether you want to just make a movie or get some technical feedback.

Movie Maker or Teaching Aid?
Jamie, not his real name, presents himself on many clinics. I treasure his company but every now and then we have a minor falling-out (hence the pseudonym … I don’t want to upset him) over the subject of video.

The conversation would go something like: “Harty, did you get that last wave ride? I think it was my best ever!”
“Absolutely!” I said knowing full well that the only sequence I had got of Jamie was of him mistiming a top turn. And so lying I at least postponed his wrath until the naked truth was revealed at video replay session. I tried to stem the flow of abuse by pointing out that I was his coach, not his personal videographer. Of course I would love to have caught that life-affirming moment – but actually the role of the video in a coaching context is primarily to show what you can’t do – not what you can.

Two other things made Jamie hard to film. In a crowded spot, he’d go way out to sea and so was very hard to pick up on the way back in. And if the rider disappears for long periods, the cameraman is likely to get distracted or daydream. It’s so much easier to film someone who stays in constant view. Also, it turned out Jamie performed his ‘ride of the day’ way downwind. He wasn’t sailing to the camera, he was just sailing. It was a one-way relationship. More about that in a minute.

The sudden availability and affordability of amazing devices along with the influence of social media has definitely changed people’s relationship with the camera. As soon as it comes out, they either hide for fear of finding themselves looking like a clown on Facebook or they try to show off and perform their trademark ‘banker’ moves.
So lets isolate the elements of a meaningful video session.


 

FILMING THE BASICS
Ultimately most technical issues at intermediate level, early planing, speed, gybes etc. are kit related. I take a lot of stills and video of my clients just sailing and we scrutinise posture, how much the rig is moving, how and if the sail is self-trimming and how the board is making contact with the water; because until those things are sorted, it’s hard to move on. If you didn’t feel that comfortable it’s so useful, especially with a still shot, to relate the feeling to the picture.

video 02
// Constant tail walking is often a set up issue. Here the still shows how a high boom and short lines are lifting the hips too high and making it hard for him to lean forward and apply mastfoot pressure. The rising harness and vertical harness lines also tell a story of discomfort.
video 03
// The rig is still and the board is riding smoothly nose to tail – that tells you all you need to know. Arms parallel with the water and harness lines coming out at 90º to the body are good indications of a happy stance and good power distribution.


The Tool(s)
Until recently I was getting through about 3 camcorders a year – not through dropping them in the sea but just from using them 1000 times more than the average consumer and in an environment (damp and salty) that rarely benefits micro circuitboards. Happily the explosion of the smartphone has brought huge pressure on the domestic camcorder market so they’re now cheap as chips. But my weapon of choice is a waterproof PanasonicHX-WA30 – a bit dearer (£350 ish) than the average but it has a fighting chance of lasting a year.

Despite their bold claims,if water smacks the domestic, flip screen ‘waterproof’ models with any force, the pressure breaks the battery seals. However it’s good enough to put down your wetsuit – and handle with wet hands – and that’s a real bonus of you’re swapping filming and sailing roles with a mate. If it’s got much less than a 15X zoom you struggle to see the detail in many situations. The big challenge is in waves where the action is frequently distant. For that I have a Digital SLR and 600ml lens which is a devastating piece of kit and frighteningly pricey– but happily a legitimate business expense. Most DSLRs now come with an HD video. The advantage is of course they have a viewfinder – so much better on sunny days than a flip LCD – and they take detachable lenses.

video 04
// Most digital SLRs have incredibly high quality video function. This one fitted with a 600ml lens is a fantastic tool for capturing far off wave action. But it’s also wildly expensive, heavy and quite difficult to use (no auto focus).


The relationship
There are two approaches. Getting someone to shoot you covertly so that you don’t wilt under pressure but play your natural game and display your everyday errors. The downside is that you may spend much of the session enjoying long reaches and do your interesting stuff out of range. The other approach is a planned intense session where you’re working on a specific move(s) in a specific area. As anyone who has been part of a watery photoshoot will tell you, planning and communication are key. You need to establish a set of hand signals or gestures which inform the rider to come close, go away, do it again, retire to pub time etc.  Decide which angle will reveal most? How far away can you be from camera and still get some meaningful images?

This latter point is crucial. When working with people, I remind them of that advisory sign on the back of lorries – “if you can’t see me, I can’t see you.” With most cameras, if you’re more than about 100m away, you’re not going to see much. What many sailors forget is that they control the situation because they are mobile. On crowded waters keep a constant eye on the cameraman and seek out the gap so a stranger doesn’t come between you and him just as you complete your best ever whatever.

For much of the time in most venues, by far the most coaching potent tool is the camera. I don’t use it all the time – too much scrutiny can be inhibiting – but I cannot imagine running an effective course without one, especially as we move up the levels Harty

The Cameraman/woman
So who’s going to be doing the shooting? I know many non-windsurfing partners who do a good job. But when it doesn’t work so well is when a reluctant girlfriend has been dragged from a stimulating sunbed session with ‘Fifty Shades of Green’ and handed an unfamiliar camera and ordered to shoot …she’s not sure what. Funnily enough the resulting sequences of a shaky, out-of-focus, zoomed out dot doesn’t thrill the boyfriend, especially not since she was filming the wrong bloke and missed his first loop.

Windy Mates
The best person to film a windsurfer in a teaching context is another windsurfer because they know what they’re looking for and can predict the move and sudden changes of direction.  The most fruitful sessions tend to involve good mates going for the same moves. One films the other and then you swap. It helps if the rivalry is under control to the extent that you both want each other to succeed. You can scrutinise the results as a team and mutually coach.

Video or Stills?
Both are good. We tend to use video because it seems to show more. However, a still of a key moment, if it’s sharp and close up can, sometimes reveal details that would be lost on video – like tense muscles, pained facial expressions, furrowed sails. Like a fine work of art, the longer you look at it, the more you see. The devil, and the angel, is often in the detail.

The Analytical Issue
There is an obvious flaw in this self-coaching master plan. You go to hospital and are shown a scan of your innards. It means absolutely nothing to you because you have no idea what you’re looking at. That is the job of the radiologist, the brand of doctor whose specific skill is detecting the smallest abnormalities that even regular doctors would miss. If I may big up the role of the professional coach for a moment –that’s where we earn our loot. We are windsurfing radiologists able to spot tiny details and get to the real root of problems. `

For example, on your video you note that you’re squatting back in your gybes, sitting on the tail. “Must lean forward” you deduce. Good. But why are you sitting back? The coach meanwhile might spot that the top 2 battens are hooking, revealing a lack of downhaul or too stiff a mast (or a mast with too stiff a tip). That stops the leech opening and releasing as you sheet in, forcing you to drop back. So what’s to be done? Well if in the same hospital the doc showed you an image of your guts and that of a healthy person, you may have a chance of spotting the problem. You need something to compare your performance with.

The ideal situation is where you’re practising in expert company. If there are pros about, film them in between your runs. If they happen to pull out the same move as the one you’re working on, perfect because they’re dealing with the same wind and water state. Failing that pull up a pro video from YouTube (or purchase a professionally made DVD – please see me after the show for details). The most fruitful video sessions I have on clinics often happen in the waves in places like Jeri where PWA pros happily (most of the time) mingle with amateurs. Here comes Tarquin doing some gentle turns – and here upwind of him on the same wave is Pedro throwing more spray than an elephant in a Jacuzzi. The differences are so obvious – not just the angles he takes up but also where he takes off on the wave, where he makes his turns, how he shoots off down the line and yet still manages to stay upwind.

Knowing what to film.
So to finish, and at the risk of turning everyone into their own guru and putting myself out of business, here are some filming and analysing tips for various moves.

Stance and set-up So many problems have their roots in the basics. Filming someone coming towards and going away from camera tells you so much. How much is the clew moving (assuming you’re not pumping)? Is the sail breaking up? Is there tension in the arms? Are you on and off the power? All of which suggest a set-up issue – too much too little out or downhaul which is preventing the sail from self-trimming.

Focus on how the board makes contact with the water – nose up nose down. Is it skimming or slamming? The latter can be a result of rig set but also boom height – too low and the balance of power shifts to the feet and the nose drops.

Too high and you often see a lot of windward leeward mast movement as you resist the rig by pulling down.

Gybes The first tip is to vary the filming angle as much as the venue allows.

One of my favoured exercises is to have people come across the wind, upwind of me. So as they initiate they should look at the camera  – only possible if they drop the rig into the turn to reveal the space downwind – which in turn sheets the sail in and gets them moving in the right direction.

In the shallow lagoon environment with the waterproof camera or GoPro I get people to gybe around me. From the centre of the circle you get the best view of which foot is moving where and when.

Being able to film looking dead downwind is rare (Sotavento, Dahab etc) but gives you the best overview of the arc so you can spot the timings of rig and foot change, which are invariably too late.

Like set-ups, it’s the basics, or lack of them, you’re looking to expose. Filming from upwind, you get the best view of how you prepare and initiate the carve. Freezing just before you engage the rail will tell you all you need to know. Are you tripping over your front foot, back heel lifting anticipating the accelerating downwind? Or are you heaving the rig back on bent arms?


 

THE WAVE ANALYSIS
Nowhere is the feeling more divorced from the reality, than in the waves. “I’m sure I got higher than that!” “Is that as far forward as I got?” are common laments from performers reliving the action. The man in the pic below, Andy Page, is great to work with in the waves because he’s incredibly fit, is out there all day, wildly enthusiastic and is a proper radiologist and so loves a bit of analysis. His first comment looking at the pic below was “I’m leaning back … I’ve got to get more rail in the water.” Spot on – both in the bottom and top turns. On the following day, that’s exactly what he did.

video 05
// Above Top It’s a great pic – Andy is absolutely in position A1 on the wave but he’s turning 100% off the tail and just using the back foot, which is almost excusable since he’s on quite a big board – but without prompting he worked out he had to project more forward.
video 06
// Above Below In a lot riding situations you can gauge progress just by how much rail you lay in the water.

Tacks
It’s very easy to film tacks and upwind moves in general because they happen within a short space (Whitey’s gybes though have been known to pass through 3 counties). They’re great for video and stills because they reveal so much about your general sailing and the way you balance. Here are 4 things to analyse.

The Head. You should tack and gybe without ever looking at the mast. The moment you turn the head to eyeball the rig, is when the tack stops and plops.

Rig distance. Check the space between body and rig. The moment it closes (rig hugging) is the moment you get blocked.

The trigger. So often the first move you make sets the tone – not good if it’s a wrong one. I have in front of me a sequence taken from a clinic last week of a bloke desperate to crack the short board tack. What the video reveals so plainly is that he starts it by moving his front foot downwind off the centre-line, which immediately destabilises the board. He had NO idea he was doing it. When he moved both feet simultaneously the problem was solved.

Body shape. During the tack itself you should be rotating as if on dry land with shoulders and hips directly over the feet. What the video reveals so plainly is the little biomechanical sins such as pecking at the waist, reaching for the rig and generally trying to balance with the upper body rather than from the feet.



GO PRO FEVER
I don’t have the figures but I’m guessing 50% of planing windsurfers own a GoPro or similar rugged point of view camera. I’ve mentioned in this magazine before, how mind numbingly dull the footage can be – but used well it’s an incredible self-coaching tool. Some angles are a lot better than others. The mast mount looking down shows you all you need to know about body and foot positions in the gybe. And the back harness mount (K4 fins) tells just what you’re doing with the rig on entry. On the head or helmet I find it’s most useful for filming someone else, although because of the wide angle, you do have to be worryingly close for it to be useful.


video 07
// Harty following a victim through a gybe with a head mounted GoPro – for his own safety he better not fall.


The Tricky Stuff
By the time you start using video to nail complex tricks you’re searching for the tiny visual clue to unlock the secret – but although the move is harder, the questions are much the same, where’s the wind? When do you sheet in etc. Take the forward loop – a classic move for video as blind fear usually erases all memory of the event. What you’re examining chiefly, is the angle you take off to the wind, the angle of the rig to the board and the moment at which you sheet in. What you commonly see in the forward, is a take off into wind, the rig dropped to leeward and the rider sheeting in before he’s taken off = dive over the handlebars. What you should see is take-off off the wind, rig to windward and sheeting in only once you’ve pulled the tail up and the nose has floated dead downwind.


BEN PROFIT – Video Master
One of our consistently top performers and very handy with a camera, Ben admits that he’s used video to learn pretty much everything. “One of the biggest ones for me was learning the stalled forward. As it’s all about sail and board positioning. I like to go try the move, film it, then try and get someone who can do the move to do it and film them from the same spot. Then it’s like spot the difference… it’s so easy to see where you are going wrong when done like that. I do this a lot with Justyna and it’s really helped. It’s fine someone telling you what your doing wrong but when you see it with your own eyes, that’s the moment it all clicks! I did exactly that with the stalled forward and realised I didn’t have the sail in the right position and was sheeting in too early. Well it’s a bit more complicated than that but when I filmed Ricardo I saw exactly what I was doing wrong!”

video 08
// Ben stalling – the video analysis clearly worked!


And so to the waves
Video is especially useful in the waves because so much is going on to which the novice is often blind. In the early stages, the challenge is tactical as you try to manoeuvre to the right spot, dodge the mines and catch the right wave. Often I will leave the camera on wide so the victim can see the bigger picture, see how and where the waves were breaking and where he should have been. Trepidation makes you eyeball the area straight ahead. But so much of wave sailing relies on you lifting the head, taking in the whole scene, anticipating trouble (and joy) and making smart spontaneous decisions. A typical case is heading out, getting trashed by a pitching wall and then seeing on video that if you headed just 5 metres downwind you would have floated over an unbroken wall.




WHITEY – a strangely astute self-analyst
Dave White lives on both sides of the lens these days – but despite his love of taking pics and video, he is still desperate to improve his own sailing and rarely goes out without a Point of View camera pointed at his lithe frame. Here are his thoughts on using the camera to coach. “Simple, put a f-hot mast mount and Gopro on your mast, press record and forget about it. Why forget? If you’re sailing for the video you’re really concentrating on correcting mistakes. But if you forget about it you’re more likely to show your instinctive bad habits – and they’re the ones you need to sort out.  I went out to do some forwards recently and they looked pretty good. But then the next day I was out practicing gybes and stuff. A couple of waves arrived up and I popped a forward without thinking. The GoPro then really showed what I was doing wrong. It’s the same with my gybes. When I’m not thinking, the GoPro showed that I let go of the rig completely in the rig change, which is not a great habit.”

DCIM101GOPRO

// Whitey from the mast tip – “front arm a little too bent and try to soften that front knee a bit mate …”(but he still probably came out of it at 40 knots!)

 


And if you keep ending up miles downwind, get your mate to film the whole circuit in and out. Compare it to that of the local hotshot and see where you’re losing ground. It may suddenly be so obvious. They bore away as they launched and planed through the downwind rip inshore. You didn’t. When they were off the plane, they really stuffed it upwind. You bogged downwind. On the wave after every downwind bottom turn they cut back upwind, sailed back side for a little way before kicking off again. You just kept charging downwind.When it comes to the jumps and rides, video is perfect for revealing cowardice and inspiring courage. Instead of really exploding on take off, it’s clear to see that you squashed the knees, sheeted out and flopped off the lip rather than rocketing. You won’t do that again. And turning towards a peachy, walling wave, did you open up and keep on climbing and present your nose to the pitching lip? No, you wimp, you over-sheeted, turned early, pretended it wasn’t there and headed for the shore.

More gems of technical joy from Harty in the next issue. Looking for a fine xmas present, you can order his new gybing DVD (and other titles) by emailing harty@peter-hart.com and more at www.peter-hart.com

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15Apr/15Off

MAY 2015 ISSUE – ON SALE

MAY 2015 ISSUE - ON SALE

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WINDSURF MAGAZINE #345 MAY 2015 ISSUE – ON SALE

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

Subscribe or grab your copy now in either App or Print  versions!
(Prices include delivery anywhere globally 10 times a year.)

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WILD WEST – HUNTING PHILIP KÖSTER //  

TESTED FREERIDE SPECIAL – 105 LITRE BOARDS & 6.5 SAILS  // GET UPWIND WITH PETER HART // CABO VERDE ANGULO & KATCHADOURIAN // POSTCARDS FROM THE PROS // SUMMER WETSUITS // SLALOM FINS // JEM HALL WORKING WITH WAVES

BIG JUICY READS

MAIN SHOT Philip Koester Wild West Australia_0024

THE WILD WEST
The Elusive Philip Köster tries to go soul and solo in Western Australia, Sheriff John ‘pistols’ Carter goes on the hunt to track him down !

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OUT OF THE BLUE
When you least expect it, the best windsurfing can still happen. John Carter tells the tale of two lucky strike missions in the UK.

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AFRICAN DREAMS
Kai Katchadourian and Josh Angulo drop into all time Cabo Verde. Kai reflects why this remote island has engraved such a lasting impression in their quest for windsurfing perfection.

LEAD SHOT kevin Pritchard_Photo Gabriele Rumbolo
POSTCARDS FROM THE PROS !
The Pros check in from around the world with a collection of good old fashioned ‘wish you were here’ postcards.

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SAIL TO HEAL
Former Soldier, Andrew Hieghton-Jackson, survived an IED bomb-blast in Afghanistan in 2009, we learn how windsurfing has helped his recovery from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

THE LAST TIME
Peter Hart – One of windsurfing’s greatest characters undergoes Windsurf’s greatest wind up – the ruthless, grinding and hugely irrelevant questions of ‘The last time’ !

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PROFILE
Kurosh Kiani – Born in Iran but sailing for Denmark, Kurosh has a unique background and is the man responsible for developing live scoring on the PWA, we delve deeper in Profile.

GEAR SHED

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105 LITRE FREERIDE WIDE BOARDS - we test the new generation of ‘thin and wide’ freeride boards, offering performance for every level

STARBOARD Atom IQ 100
FANATIC Gecko 105
RRD Firemove 102
JP MagicRide 104
Tabou Rocket Wide 108
Simmer Freemove 110L

6.5 FREERIDE SAILS -

 Speed, control, early planing and manoeuvres, the 6.5 freeride sail has a large design brief, we test the contenders.

GOYA NEXUS 6.4M
NEIL PRYDE RYDE 6.5M
NORTH SAILS VOLT 6.4M
RRD EVOLUTION 6.4M
SEVERE GATOR 6.5M
TUSHINGHAM BOLT 6.5M

TEKKERS

PETER HART MASTERCLASS
The ability to cruise nonchalantly upwind should be at the top of your ‘to master’ list. Peter Hart tells us how.

MOVE ON UP
Jem Hall teaches us how to make the most out of moderate surf by ‘Working the Waves’.

BOARDSHORTS

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SUMMER WETSUIT BUYER’S GUIDE
Shopping for some new neoprene to welcome the warmer weather ? Check out some fresh new suits here.

124 FINN2
SLALOM FIN BUYER’S GUIDE
We round up some of the fastest foils on market today, designed to keep your slalom board in front !

LATEST & GREATEST
Roll up, roll up; the new, very new and super all new stuff is here to enjoy.


SITTIN’ ON THE DUNNY

EDITORIAL
Pro Pro – Professional Windsurfers are actually a bunch of amateurs …confused ? The Ed. champions the men and women of the PWA

AFFAIRS OF THE HART
Round Hayling, Defi Wind; ‘tis the season to be going far on a windsurfer. Harty looks back at the history and glory of the long distance race.


Get your copy by App or in Print now!

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