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BOLT and/or ROCK

Where Tushingham has differed from other brands is that we’ve only presented you with one wave sail range. For the past 10 years it has been the much loved Rock.

 It’s our belief that a good wave sail, with a little tweaking, can be made to work in ALL conditions. I mean, say you bought a dedicated, down-the-line riding sail and you arrive at your local spot to find it howling onshore, what are you supposed to do? Go out and buy another set? Nice idea but you’re going to need a bigger van.

But we do seem to have gone back on our word with the release of the Bolt – but sort of by mistake. The smaller Bolts, 5.25 downwards, have 4 battens. Although they were designed to be ‘light in the hands’ all-round, freestyle and free-ride sails, team riders and magazine testers alike have given them a definite thumbs up for the waves. 
So which is it to be, Rock or Bolt?

I took a set of Rocks and 4 batten Bolts on my recent 6 week wave clinic tour. I used both in the same conditions. I gave them to my charges to try and now have a very good idea who they suit and in what conditions.
Here are some thoughts.

Over or under-powered?
The fifth batten of the Rock is there to support the foil and lend extra stability. So the Rock over-powers better and has a slightly wider upper wind range. I personally like that for those crazy days when the wind is unstable. I can rig a little bigger in the knowledge that I’ll plane through the lulls and be able to survive the gusts no problem – a big advantage if the sea is crazy and unpredictable.

This isn’t necessarily a big person small person thing but those who liked to sail slightly over-powered, favoured the Rocks.

With one batten less, the Bolts ‘bag out’ a little more and can generate more low end power. You can get a way with a smaller sail, which increases your manoeuvrability and allows you ‘hide’ and depower the sail more easily at critical moments during the wave ride. 

It’s not just a wave sailing issue. I gave a Bolt to a 50 kg lady, who found herself planing ecstatically with a 4.5 in 18-20 knots and with NO dead weight in her hands. The less battens you have the more information you get from a sail both visually and through feel, which again is a plus in critical situations but also for pumping and trimming in lighter winds. The pay-off is that ‘feel’ turns to instability in the big gusts. If you genuinely are going to do a lot of wave riding on proper swell often under-powered in fluffy winds, look at the Bolt. 

If you favour powered up wave sailing, the extra stability you get from the Rock, especially launching into and landing wild jumps, may suit you. 

Both the Rock and the Bolt make great freestyle sails. But if you’re genuinely looking towards new school tricks (Vulcans, Flakas and beyond) you might favour the Bolt. It’s so light in the hands that it makes you want to go for the tricks – and the mental ‘go for it’ battle is the one to win.

In Tarifa last week I was using the 5.2 Bolt on the 103 Kode in 18 knots of wind, a combo I would never have used before. For manoeuvre oriented sailing, it was magic. I handed it to a few die-hard old skoolers and they all immediately felt that a bit of popping and sliding could be on the cards!

Failure to nail even the more ‘basic’ moves – carve and duck gybes for example – is often down to nothing more than big blokes trying to hang on to too much sail. Having a go on a smaller Bolt was real light bulb moment and gave them a taste of how you should feel approaching a move.

So in summary I would say:
Don’t agonise too much – whichever one you go for, the choice won’t be wrong. Both sails work across the board. 

Talking teccy, the Rock depowers better from the leech – you can set it with more downhaul so it’s easy to oversheet get the leech to open.

The Bolt depowers better from the luff – i.e. you can spill wind instantly by sheeting out. 

Go for both! I’m only half joking. For waves most have a ‘go to’ size, especially for riding, which is generally a 5.2 depending on their size obviously. If that sail gets trashed at the beginning of the session, you’re screwed. I will always have both a 5.2 Rock and a 5.25 Bolt with me, because I enjoy the different feel AND so I have a spare. The Bolt also makes a great SUP sail.

Rock 1

Rock 1.  The Rock – super versatile in all conditions – the extra batten widens the upper wind range.

Bolt 1

Bolt 1. The Bolt – so light in the hands – it can bring a new ‘freesyley’ element to your sailing.

Bolt 3 Bolt 2

Bolt 2 and 3  Harty on a 103 Kode and a 5.25 Bolt, a big board, small sail combo he would never have got away with before.

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Ten Steps to Gybing with Harty and Whitey

For those looking to crack or improve the carve gybe, this is the one. In ten chapters, it focuses on what’s really important. Excellent demos along with freezes, slow mos, graphics and an enlightening commentary, highlight the key areas. 

Harty’s instructional style is legendary, whilst Whitey is the original motivator and a huge inspiration.

Filmed professionally by Acrobat TV in full HD, this program is in a class of its own. It’s informative, clever and, as you’d expect from these two, highly entertaining. 

Here is a quick taster to whet your whistle! 

To get you hands on one of these just email

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Weight loss


(This feature originally appeared in the June 2014 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!)

Harty peruses the controversial subject of weight loss.

To the question “What can I do to improve my windsurfing?” I would, if polite society permitted, almost always reply: “Lose weight.” Losing even a couple of pounds, suddenly you tack without crushing the cockroach. You can uphaul that 95L FSW, you have more energy and, of course, you will plane earlier. And as I mentioned elsewhere in this magazine, being able to plane early is your passport to windsurfing’s most exotic avenues. 

In all sports that require dramatic movement, what is most important is your strength to weight ratio. In broad terms it describes your ability to move, support and lift yourself. There is a graph. Small people are more likely to have better ratios. Flyweight weight lifters for example can lift over two and half times their bodyweight – heavyweights only one and a half.

The support team worked out that the already skeletal, ‘lungs-on-legs’ Bradley Wiggins, would have to lose 5 kg. if he were to have a chance of winning the Tour de France. The top 10 male competitors of the male Olympic fleet at the London Olympics were all over 6’, but none weighed more than 72 kg. In sub and semi planing conditions, they basically have to row themselves around the course. The scientists have worked out that for every kg. they carry over about 70 kg., they have to exponentially be a lot stronger to justify the extra weight.  Yes, the top slalom sailors, the likes of Dunkerbeck, Albeau and our own Ross Williams, are 90-95 kg., or more, but they always compete on the plane where the weight acts dynamically. And they are all fiercely strong. There is no blubbery excess. The old adage, ‘fat is fast’, coined unsurprisingly by fat fellas, is nonsense. My fellow speedster Dave White has constantly said he was fastest when he was lightest (by ‘lightest’ we mean 104 kg …)

When it comes to improving your lot, the simple truth is that it’s easier to lose weight than it is to gain strength.” But how?

The first step on the way to Skinny Central is surely to take more exercise? However, one of the riddles of physiology is that exercise alone is not a guarantee of weight loss. In a recent study in Australia where 58 obese men and women were put on the same 12-week fitness regime without changing their diets, some actually gained weight. So much depends on day-to-day living and the nature and intensity of the exercise. Why in the 500 words left in this article I should have the answers that have eluded the weight loss industry for centuries is a mystery. However, let me at least pick out nuggets from recent studies that may shed a little light – and a few pounds (not that you need to of course …)

You can lose a lot of weight windsurfing – and not just from falling in open-mouthed near a sewerage outlet. I lost 7 kg. in one week following a pretty disastrous speed/slalom even in Fuerte. It turned out that unwittingly I had adhered to the perfect modern weight loss regime. The wind was brutal. I was racing up to 7 hours a day. I kept breaking things and repeatedly had to sprint the 1 km back to the rigging tent. I was wearing a weight jacket. I didn’t have access to food in the morning or early evening. This is why it worked (I say ‘worked’ – I really didn’t want to lose weight.)

Energy deficit and the sneaky body.
‘Burn more than you put back in’ remains the over-riding diet principle. However studies have shown that when the body goes into energy deficit, it‘s ever so clever at clawing back the calories. For example, in anticipation of an exercise session, studies have shown that people rest and become sedentary and they stock up on fuel. In Fuerte I could do neither of those. You use twice as much energy standing as you do sitting. Don’t be sedentary and don’t snack!

Intensity, fat burn and hunger.
There is a fat burn myth perpetuated in gyms that low intensity exerczise burns fat. It doesn’t. Muscles turn to carbohydrate as their preferred energy source. And a 20-30 minute session on a step machine will only burn about 300 calories. Eat one Mars Bar as a reward for your effort and it’s all back on – and a little bit more. It’s only by really pushing yourself that you burn calories. Repeated long sessions teach your muscles to burn fat.  And resistance exercise (weights) burns a lot more than aerobic exercise. Sailing over-powered is resistance training on a grand scale.

And on the subject of intensity, after exercise, hormones are released to increase appetite and replace calories (more so in women unfairly). However, when the exercise is lengthy (over an hour) and intense, leptin is released into the blood and decreases appetite. In Fuerte, despite the exertion, I just wasn’t hungry. If you can, do your thing before breakfast. Exercising in a fasted state burns more fat. And after exercise, protein assuages hunger better than carbs. Eat one Jaffa cake and you’ll definitely scoff the whole packet.

But of course we’re fighting a losing battle. Most windsurfers do it because it makes them hungry and thirsty.

PH  23 May 2014

The post AFFAIRS OF THE HART – “MINE’S A SKINNY LATTE” appeared first on Windsurf Magazine.

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Peter Hart Up and Riding in a Flash

Getting up and going is not just a ‘tick the box’ skill – it’s one that should be refined and adapted all the way through a windy career. Peter Hart reveals the fundamentals of early planing. 

Right, before we go any further with this subject, lets get the weight issue out of the way. At the very mention of early planing, I wager those of you with fuller figures are throwing your arms in frustration, cursing your genetic disadvantage. I mean it’s simple physics isn’t it? A big thing needs more power to make it move than a little thing.

Hence women, children and scrawny blokes fly around in a fart while you wallow. And so it is you sail like a big person and sit there like a sack of potatoes waiting for the next hurricane gust to shift you. And I should know, because I was (and still am) that big person. 

When I started racing I’d throw the towel in the moment the wind dropped below about 15 knots and watch stick insects like Barrie Edgington twinkle towards the horizon. It wasn’t until I started doing a few World Cup races and witnessed 95 kg. man mountain Bjoern Dunkerbeck turbo boost off the line ahead of the flyweights, that I understood that bulk is just an excuse for poor technique or a lack of effort.

Weight, of course, is a factor (in fact it’s the topic of the back page) but shedding kilos is a long term project. It’s not going to happen overnight. So lets focus on the early planing factors you can influence here and now. For a start we need to define what we mean by ‘early planing.’ It’s not just a contest to get going in the lowest wind strength.  Whatever the wind, force 3-10, whatever the kit, raceboard or 60L wave board, it’s about how quickly you accelerate, how quickly you get into the straps and release; how much sail you need to do it. (And by the way, big people take heart that the flyweights often aren’t as good at early planing as their larger cousins because they don’t have to be. They’re usually sailing bigger boards relative to their weight so can just get in the straps sheet in and get blown along.)

If you cut the time it takes you to plane AND the amount of power you need to plane, ALL aspects of your windsurfing WILL improve

It wouldn’t be unreasonable to say that early planing is the cornerstone of windsurfing. There are so many reasons to be good at it.

Energy saver. The most tiring place to be is in a state of semi planing in planing winds because there’s so much drag going through body and arms.

More control. If you don’t have to rely on enormous kit to get you planing, you have better control in tacks and gybes.

More practice. Apologies for stating the bleeding obvious, but you can’t practise planing moves unless you’re on the plane. So much of so many sessions are wasted because people aren’t able to make use of every gust.

New Skool. Moving up the scale, freestyle moves, especially those from the new ‘skool’ of derring-do, are only really achievable with sails under 6.0 (and preferably a lot less than that) – and you need to be using that small sail in a relatively light force 4-5 wind. It sounds brutal, but freestyle if off limits to those who can’t get planing with small sails.
The same goes for wavesailing. Big rigs in the surf limit your manoeuvrability and they break.

Better, more frequent jumps. The number one reason for floppy jumps is that people aren’t planing where the ramps are. In typical beach break conditions you need to be up to full speed by the time you meet the first barrage.

Better Racer. Part time or Olympic – acceleration onto the plane is a more potent racing weapon than top speed.

More security, less falls. The most precarious place to be is in ‘mid something.’ Mid tack, mid gybe, mid ‘Kabikuchi’, that’s where you’re going to lose it. It’s same with early planing. The longer you spend not quite planing with the board grinding through the water rocking from edge to edge, the more likely you are to catch a heel on the chop and catapult. And if it’s taking you an age to find the straps, you’ll look down and that will be when you get smacked by the unseen gust.

A badly tuned car uses a lot more gas that a tuned one. Those slow to plane are wasting a lot of energy and hence need more of it in the form of more sail and more volume

To plane, a board – or boat for that matter – has to overtake its own bow wave. Smaller boards – and boards with a steep rocker line – push more water in front of them and so need more power to drive them up and over. A board needs more power to make it plane than it does to keep it on the plane. It’s like an over-laden speed boat. To start off it’s full throttle, props churning a massive wake, passengers running to the front, carbon footprint growing by the second until finally it climbs over the watery wall. But then as it releases and glides effortlessly (although still a bit noisily) you can throttle right back. If you hook into a 120L freeride board with a 7.5 sail across the wind and do nothing, you’ll need about 18 knots of wind to drive it onto the plane. But when you’re on the plane, you’ll only need 10 knots to keep it there. So to get on the plane in less than 18 knots, you have to do something to create an artificial surge of power. Pumping is one way but by no means the only one. As David Brailsford, Olympic cycling coach, famously stated, their multiple successes came from the ‘aggregation of marginal gains.’ It’s the same deal with planing. A lot of small adjustments can amount to a big advantage. But it has to start with the kit. The ramifications of kit choice and tuning are so vast, that I hope you’ll excuse me if I just hone in on a few specific areas that seem to make the biggest difference to the most amount of people.


Early planing tests every aspect of your game. You have to select and tune the kit to an optimum level. You have to read the conditions and coincide your effort with a gust and down slope. It demands a level of fitness. Tight limbs and a solid core are needed to transfer the power directly into the board.  In strong winds especially you have to be committed and bit brave. And of course it’s the ultimate test of your stance, power control and trimming skills.

It seems that this whole conundrum could be sorted with one sentence: “take out a bigger rig.” And for the timorous, that may well be the answer. But it may have the opposite effect, especially if you can’t fully sheet in, or the rig over-powers the board.
On a 12-knot marginal day last week on the beach lay a 125L freerace board with an 8.5 and a similar 120L board with a 7.8. They were both set up well and the carbon content of the hardware was similar. Surprisingly perhaps, the smaller combo planed earlier because board and rig felt a better match. It just slipped onto the plane. Both the 7.8 and the 8.5 rigs fell within their board’s recommended range. However the 8.5 was on the limit for the 130. The ends of the scale are rarely the sizes that work the best.


There are many personal, quirky techniques to help planing like rocking the board from side to side to unstick it, hoofing the fin, shaking the sail to get the air moving etc. Ultimately you’re trying to bounce it onto its planing surface by driving it into the water with rig and foot pressure – and then releasing it. Letting go of the front hand off the boom, as well as being mildly cool, stops you choking the rig and forces you to extend away and drop the hips behind the feet. 


// The toes of the front foot press down on the sweet spot of the board just in front of the entry to the rocker. The friction creates lift. The board pushes back against the foot…


// …so as you release it, it pops up and onto the plane. Because the hips are right back, putting the front foot in the strap is just a case of tucking it under your knee.


The feet will always try and match the hands. If you commit the cardinal sin of placing the front hand at the front of the boom, the front foot will move forward to keep balance and stop you heading up. But he’s now standing directly over his feet so his weight and all the power from the rig is acting down rather than forward. Planing is now a hurricane away. But if he moves the front hand back, the front foot will move back, the nose will rise and the board has a chance of releasing.  


With the 8.5 it felt as if the advantage of the extra power was cancelled out by the extra dead weight, which made the board displace more water and create a bigger bow wave. It was crying out for the support of an extra 10L of volume. Water state also has a big influence. The day before, Irish Ned crawled from the water and declared that his rig, and I’ll quote his own vernacular, ‘felt utter sh**e.’ He was using his 5.7 on his favourite 80L wave board – a combo he loves on his windy, mostly flat, bump and jump patch back home. But in the onshore winds of Scraggane Bay it felt totally different. The relatively big rig was pushing the thin, soft rails deep into the chop and stopped it releasing – and that’s what made the rig feel heavy and ‘sh**e.’ He needed a bigger board. When we’re talking matches, so much depends on the design and, above all, the width of the board and the skill and weight of the sailor. However, in the disciplines where early planing is top of the list, e.g., marginal wind sailing, new school freestyle and wavesailing, a little extra board volume is a more potent weapon than a great tractor of a rig, especially now since bigger boards, of all categories, are so much more controllable. Smaller rigs are also easier to work and pump – more about that shortly.

I’m all for detailed rigging instructions, but if you’re to excel, there comes a time when you have to dump the fundamentalist scripture and trust your own feelings and instincts. If it doesn’t feel right and you ‘aint going, change something until you do. At risk of sounding like a train service spokesperson, you may have a lot of power, but it may be the wrong sort of power. You sheet in, the sail fills and pulls. Eskimos have 50 words for snow. Practised windsurfers should have 50 words to describe ‘pull.’ Was it a grunty pull? A draggy pull? A jerky pull – or a soft, springy pull? (Soft and springy is good.) If your chosen rig isn’t quite getting you there and you don’t want to/can’t change up, the received wisdom is to ‘bag it out’ by easing off the outhaul and/or the downhaul. More shape surely equals more power. But bag it too much and the sail turns from a foil to an umbrella. The skill is in tweaking and feeling whether the sail is powering you along or just driving the board under the water. My first adjustment is usually to ease off a centimetre of outhaul, which puts a bit more shape in the battens just above and below the boom, where most of the power is generated. If you let off too much to the point where there’s no tension in the back of the sail, on non-cambered sails particularly, the foil billows onto your back hand. With an unstable centre of effort it’s hard to pump effectively and deliver the power precisely into the board. And on boards with titchy fins the tail will keep breaking out. The downhaul needs to be handled with care. Easing it off a little, you put more shape into the top part of the sail and tighten the leech. That can be good. A tight leech is more reactive when you pump. But ease it off too much and the leech stays closed. The sail traps the wind but doesn’t release it. You sheet in, loads of pull, here we go … no we don’t. The sail keeps on pulling instead of softening and becoming lighter as you accelerate. Unless the wind can escape from the leech, you’ll get all the misery of being over-powered, aching muscles, blisters, but none of the joys – instant acceleration and speed. Brendan was out on his 6.0 yesterday. He was slow to get going despite easing off the downhaul. Actually it was because he eased off the downhaul. Big diagonal creases spread from the leech to the mast end of the battens – a sure sign that the leech is trying to open but can’t. Somehow it seems counter-intuitive to increase downhaul when you’re struggling to plane – but in this case an extra inch transformed the sail.


The surest way to gauge progress is with a stopwatch, real or imagined. In a solid wind, time how long it takes you to get hooked in, strapped in and released fully onto the plane.

If it’s more than 5 seconds, there is work to be done.

A last thought on kit: People ask whether the 100% carbon mast is worth it – or will the cheaper one do? With absolutely no support from the carbon growers association, I have to say it IS worth it, for the early planing alone. Power to plane doesn’t just come from a full belly. It comes from a reactive leech. When you sheet in and pump, the mast flexes and the leech opens and the wind exhausts. The lighter, full carbon mast returns more quickly, which allows you to pump faster and more often.

This won’t last long. Ready. Put the boom up. That’s it. Don’t go silly. It has to be within the range that works, which for planing sailing on 70-cm-wide (ish) board is around nipple to shoulder height – a little higher for wider boards where the straps are further from the mastfoot. With a higher boom, you feel the balance of power shift from feet to mastfoot and the board lighten up. Looking for more power to plane, I put the boom up an inch and release a centimetre of outhaul. Nine times out of ten that does the trick. If it doesn’t, I’ll just hope the pubs are open. And my very last word on the set-up matter before we head to the far more important business of technique, concerns harness lines. The most efficient way to power up the sail and get planing is to use the harness. If the harness lines are short, you’ll drag the rig back as you move to the straps, depower the sail and sink the tail. If the lines are long, the rig stays forward and upright. You’ll power up the mastfoot and the board will stay level – your choice.

The sign of a well-rounded windsurfer is being able to adapt her skill according to the kit, the conditions and the moment. For example, a good gyber will shape the arc of each turn depending on how powered up she is and what’s in front of her. The slick waterstarter employs a different rig recovery method depending how and where the rig is lying. It should be the same with early planing. The sequence and technique changes for different designs of board, light and strong winds, calm or rough seas. An obvious example is where someone moving from a big freeride board to a small waveboard tries to get going by sheeting in across the wind and hoofing against the fin. But for all the many variations, it’s best to approach the challenge with broad concepts and relate it to skills you already have.

What gets you out of the water in the waterstarts is creating a sudden surge of power. To begin with, if it’s windy, you just bear away. Then you learn to bear AND extend from the shoulders to raise the rig. Then you start pumping as you come up and kick the front leg and time the effort with a gust and as a wave lifts you – until finally you’re popping up in a zephyr. It’s exactly the same with getting planing. You need a burst of power to overtake that bow wave and break free. Success comes with co-ordinating all your lift devices – kicking off the wind on a gust, sheeting in, tilting off down a slope, bouncing the board, working the rig – all pretty much at the same time. And back to waterstarting. When it doesn’t work, the thing absolutely not to do is hang there, arms raised high waiting for the next depression to pass through and blow you up. Instead you have to lower the rig again, head back upwind and create another burst. Trying to plane, if you bear away, go for it and it doesn’t happen, don’t tootle off downwind cursing your ill fate. Turn back upwind and look to explode again.

May I crave your indulgence and ask you to imagine you’re water-skiing behind a dodgy, faltering powerboat off the coast of S. Africa. The rope has frayed so you’re being pulled by just one thread. You look behind to see a hungry Great White shark following you with intent. What would you do? Instinctively you would extend the arms, give to the power, come up on your toes, suck your guts up under your ribcage, make no jerky backwards movements against the rope and reduce the drag of the skis by riding them as flat as possible.
That’s early planing – in brief you’re trying to present the board to the water in such a way that it creates the east drag, whilst at the same time maximising the available power. But how do you do that?


A few simple checks on the beach to give you the best chance of getting going with the least effort.

Harty 336 early plane 05

// Set the boom height to the top of the workable range, which for a wave board is around shoulder height.

Harty 336 early plane 06

// Place the board close to the wind and the lines should be long enough that you can hook in with the front foot by the mastfoot. But there’s a feeling of being slightly suspended in the harness with the weight coming off the feet.

Harty 336 early plane 07

// Then, in the straps the ultimate early planing test is that even when you move back into the straps, the set up allows you to stand tall on your toes and hold the rig upright. 

Coaching lower intermediates in the art of early planing I urge them to do less. Aspiring experts I encourage to do more. Less, in this case means keeping it all solid and constant, committing fully to the harness, holding the rig still and bearing away gradually to deliver a calm constantly increasing force into a level board. That opposed to gyrating hither and thither, on and off the power, rig flying all over the shop so the board surges and stops like a learner driver kangarooing down the street. More, means getting more active, in a good way. You keep the power on but add little surges to help unstick a reluctant board. We’re talking pumping. Pumping – sheeting in suddenly and releasing – is a controversial subject in that while it’s potentially the best way of releasing a board, done badly is also a way to make sure the board never planes ever. The way to introduce yourself into the feel and rhythm of pumping is to do it hooked in. Committed to the harness, the board gets a constant flow. Then give little pumps with the back hand. Every pump creates a surge, which you drive into the board with the toes and then release. It’s as you release the pressure that the board bounces up onto its planing surface. I don’t really want to talk about pumping as it’s like trying to describe juggling. It’s all about feel and timing. Other things are far more important.
Of all the important things that are the most important, this is the most important of all. The key to getting going is working within the wind angles that provide the useable power for that wind strength and the amount of sail you’re carrying. It’s bearing away into a gust that is your most effective weapon – but how much? In less wind you need to bear away more. In more wind you bear away less. Perhaps it’s easier to describe the effects of heading off on the wrong tack. In a marginal wind, if you don’t bear away enough, you just don’t generate the power to get going, simple. On a small board with a small fin, if you don’t bear way enough and start pumping, the surges of power are lateral and you’ll slip sideways. To pump effectively on any board, you have to bear away off the wind. Off the wind the pulses of power drive the board forward. In a strong wind, if you bear away too much, you can’t close the sail and get pulled too much over the board. At best the board lurches from edge to edge. At worst you get catapulted.

Crusty windies from another era have been bamboozled by the planing quirks of modern kit. Back in the day boards were up to 4m long and had a constant rocker line. To plane you made the long journey to the tail, via several sets of straps, stopping for tea and Kendall mint cake on the way, as the board gradually lifted out. To move back a moment to soon was to sink the narrow tail and stall immediately. Above all else you stayed forward. Today, many boards will not plane if you stand too far forward. On the shorter, racier models, the entry point, where the board first makes contact with the water, is only just in front of the straps. If you stand in front of it, you push a curved section of board into the water and stop it gliding. It’s a case of, get into the straps in order to plane. On your own board, feel for that entry point by playing around with the front foot position. A inch forward and back is critical to the trim.

And so to the body. It is the transmission. It takes the power from the engine and transmits it to the wheels. Ultimately it’s the vital link in the chain. The biggest change occurs though practice and confidence. It’s where people go from being blown on the plane thanks to big kit and a bit of luck with some local weather, to actually driving the board onto the plane. In the first instance, they just stand over their feet and the volume of the board sort of makes sense of the power. In the second, they drop their hips behind their feet, take the power from the sail, through a tight stomach into, the legs and actually slide the board forward.

You can get the same words plus actions from the horse’s mouth by joining Peter on one of his internationally acclaimed, game-changing clinics, catering for everyone from planing novice to jumping, riding fanatic. Lots of info about the 2015 schedule on And get regular updates by liking his Peter Hart Masterclass page.

The post PETER HART UP AND RIDING IN A FLASH appeared first on Windsurf Magazine.

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Staying fit is one thing but the more basic concerns for most windsurfers are: is our sport threatening to an aging body? And what can I do prolong my windsurfing life? Harty elicits some expert help to answer 

big questions.  

So how long can you really keep doing this?” is an annual enquiry from my wife who is trying to reconcile the increased financial demands of growing children with the earning power of a husband in his mid 50s who does a sport for a living. I don’t really have an answer but, as I pop another painkiller, I state in all honesty that I feel pretty good and still relish the prospect of a ‘big day.’ Yes I have a wonky knee, but I can’t imagine a time when I won’t windsurf.  Lighter, more efficient kit places a lot less strain on the body, so we can keep on kidding ourselves that we’re getting better and more vital. But are we actually kidding ourselves? Is windsurfing bad for the body and should we all be just a little but more sensible and take up aqua-aerobics?

While I was skiing this year I met a friend of a friend who, given the chance, I would have locked in a room and interrogated for hours. David Boyd, from NZ, has a background in skiing as a competitor, coach, instructor and guide. But for the past 30 years his day job has been in the area of musculoskeletal medicine. His company Foot Science International manufactures medical devices for the orthopaedic market, particularly total joint replacement in the area of hips and knees. And so through his work, he’s frequently working with athletes from a huge range of sports and activities. And joy upon joy, he’s also a keen recreational windsurfer, ever in search of the perfect gybe, so if ever there was someone who understood our sport on a physical level…  First of all, he fitted some of his company’s customized footbeds into my ski boots. Apart from alleviating pressure points, their main purpose is to increase prioperception. The more of your foot you have in contact with the boot, the more messages you receive from the ski. I at once made a gybing parallel. One of the main errors is to gybe too much on the toes. The more foot you have in contact with the board as you bank over, the more information you get. David said he had been experimenting using their foam to make footpads for slalom to give the ultimate foot-to-board contact. But because they mould so well, the problem was getting the feet out.
We digress. How does he view windsurfing and windsurfers from a physical standpoint?

 “There seems to be a lot of old buggers, but there is a relatively low incidence of serious injury from windsurfing. But there is a high incidence of injuries or complaints brought into the sport, which windsurfing may aggravate.”

 So assuming we have reasonable technique, is windsurfing bad for the body; and if so, which bits? 

 “In comparing windsurfing to other sports I don’t think that it is particularly hard on the body. Apart from wear and tear on soft, office hands, it does seem to place particular strain on shoulders and the lower back. The shoulder strain is most likely specific to the sport. Our stance places a particularly narrow range of motion on the shoulder joint. Optimally the shoulder joint requires equal strength in about 5 different directions and windsurfing tends to only occupy about 2 of them. Therefore, the more we do, the more imbalanced our shoulder becomes and the more likelihood there is of an overuse injury. 

With regard the lower back problems. There is no doubt that we do, from time to time, damage our backs specifically during windsurfing. But it’s often because we have a relatively sedentary occupation involving computer hours, and that windsurfing is an aggravator rather than the cause. The same goes for hips and knees.”

 But what about those happy folk without a condition, who want to remain that way? 

“In terms of prevention of injury and chronic conditions, my suggestion would be not to underestimate the benefit of good long-term aerobic fitness – it’s what helps you have enough strength and muscle control when you suddenly really need it. In terms of avoiding those soft tissue/shoulder/lower back injuries I would suggest developing a habit of frequent exercises for improving upper body posture and opening and strengthening the upper thoracic/chest. Since 95% of what we do in life tends to be in front of us, our chest muscles are naturally stronger and we develop a hunched over stance that is exasperated by our increasing use of computers,
tablets and cellphone devices. Yoga is probably the best all round activity to get involved in.

This is the Peter Pan generation, determined to redefine every passing decade. 40 is the new 20 etc. etc. Since the 1980s, the over-50s category of the New York Marathon has grown by 78%. 90-year-olds have completed an Ironman. On my wave course in Tiree last year, ages of the candidates ranged from 19 to 65 and the 65-year-old was the fittest. Is this just a stubborn refusal to lie down, or are these just genetic freaks? Apparently it’s up to you.

Epidemiological studies have stated that from the age of 40 we begin an inevitable shuffle towards frailty losing about 1% a year of muscle mass (sarcopenia) and respiratory efficiency. But that was until they realised that all of the volunteers for the study were inactive. When they stuck their probes into habitual sporting folk, the results were very different. For example, 65-year-old runners were found to have the same motor units in their muscles as 25-year-olds.
So the message seems, quite clear, even if it does feel a bit achy – use it or lose it. And then take a pill.

PH 14th April 2014 #335

 The human skeleton – specifically designed to windsurf.

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The October 2014 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.)


001 FC Version 2

Ireland, cold but perfect. JC captures the world class waves and all the action and tales from the Mullen brothers and Katie McAnena.

026 Generation
A look inside the minds of windsurfing’s young and old, all the way from Philip Koster to Robby Naish.

They waited a week to battle and finished in near darkness. Upsets, tension and another win for Traversa, JC tells all.

Lights, cameras and a whole lot of action. Warsaw goes wild as Indoor windsurfing goes rock and roll crazy for an extraordinary event.

Neck and neck racing with the world’s Slalom elite. Ross Williams talks us through a PWA heat at Turkey from start to finish.

The UK’s ultimate windsurfing festival. We go behind the scenes with the industry to find out what makes it such a success

We review the people’s favourite size. Which is better for you, 3,4 or 5 batten designs?, read all the results here.

Ezzy Sails Taka                           4.5m
Goya Banzai                                4.7m
Maui Sails Mutant                     4.6m
RRD Vogue                                  4.7m
Sailloft Hamburg Quad            4.7m
Severne Blade                             4.7m
Simmer Style Sails Black Tip   4.7m
Tushingham Sails Rock             4.7m

082 PeterHart340 updated2
Frequently Asked Questions get the Peter Hart, Expertly Answered Treatment.

The most satisfying of all windsurfing’s transitions is well within your reach, Jem Hall breaks it down.

The page we want to have every issue ! An interview with Ben Profitt and Robby Swift, our two PWA podium heroes.

More 2015 gear and John Skye gives his expert view on all the top contenders in the tightest PWA wave title in years.

106-107 WS340 Wetsuits
We round up the latest in winter rubber for review and learn how to take care of our precious suits from an expert in wetsuitology !


One big happy family – the joy of windsurfing is the tie that binds.

Get your copy by App or in Print now!

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“Two weeks into my 5 week clinic tour of the North Atlantic coast and we’ve enjoyed just about every conceivable wind and wave condition.
But so far I’ve just needed 2 boards for the job –  a 103 Kode fsw, a 92 Kode wave. 
I’m constantly shocked and amazed at the versatility of those boards.
Last night I was out on the 92 in proper bog and ride conditions – big crunching surf and 10 knots of wind. Within an hour it was up to 25 knots.
I couldn’t be bothered to trek back to the van so down hauled the Rock 5.7 a bit more and just kept going. Both board and rig have an incredible range.

The confidence you get knowing the board will bottom out from the steepest drops and yet still gets up and goes in the slightest puff, takes you to the next level.” 

Pic – Harty one handed on the Kode 92


Click here to read more: Tushingham






The September 2014 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.)


001 FCWS 339

*WS339 Shipping Forcast2
Our very own camera geek, JC, and Isle of Wight local Scott Gardner became more obsessed than train spotters with their pursuit of the world’s biggest container ships – and the curse of the Marco Polo in the English Channel.

054 MAUI updated
With the luxury of a sponsor shoot boat, Klaas Voget scored heavy, pristine, turbo-speed surf at Mauritius’ famed, bone-crunching break.

John Skye sharpened his fins and became a rookie racer at Sotavento. Read his insider view of being a slalom tour newbie.

*WS339 PWA Canary2
There were new contenders, heart-breaking trials and some serious scores to settle in the surf of Gran Canaria and Tenerife this summer. John Carter was on-hand for a first-hand account of all the drama.

030-034 SIAM
Event sponsor Bjoern Dunkerbeck’s ‘Lucky 11’ qualifiers perfected their jet ski slingshots and went into aeriel battle above the Tenerife wave pool.

More controversy and a jaw-dropping standard left the spectators at Sotavento staggered at the level of modern windsurfing.

086-090 POLAND
PWA Pros Phil Soltysiak and Max Matissek took the road less travelled along the Poland’s Baltic coastline.

SAIL TEST updated
5.3 WAVE SAILS – The first 2015 gear was put to the sword against sloppy surf and marginal wind conditions in Tenerife.


072-076 Peter Hart Article

With the technique focus on the age-old carve gybe hurdle, rather than a generic ‘how-to’ guide, Harty focuses on how to exit planing. And we all want that …


Jem brings a step-by-step overview of the critical phases of that elusive carve gybe.


More 2015 gear to salivate over and all the latest toys.

Right place right time. Catch up on all the best events and destinations to visit.


The great indoors – does fan-assisted windsurfing aid the image of the sport – and does the tow-out, arena-based side of sailing need a makeover?

Is it an institution – or just for people that should be housed in institutions? Probably both. Harty assesses the significance of the annual National Watersports Festival.

Get your copy by App or in Print now!

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Peter Hart’s 7th Windsurfing Clinic and Wave Sailing Masterclass to Brazil in 2015 is now open for bookings.

Peter’s 10 day Masterclass clinic in Jericoacoara for entry level wave sailing plus general skills for intermediates-advanced is now open for bookings.


Running from 09-19 January 2015, the time of year offers the perfect introduction to wave-sailing conditions. The waves are bigger, the wind a perfect force 4-5 and the whole place noticeably less crowded and laid-back.

Peter described last year’s clinic by saying “OMG!” doesn’t even come close. “If the pousada of Punta Pedra, where most of my group stay, was any closer to the beach, it would be in the sea.

Over breakfast of the freshest fruit and egg combo of your choice, they watch with open mouths as the wind starts to whip the tops of the waves bending in around the point.”


Clinic Price: £2,449pp 

- 7 days Peter Hart Masterclass.
- Return flights from Heathrow (including 2 x bags allowance).
- 10 nights BB Pousada accommodation on twin share basis.
- Round trip airport transfers & assistance.

Land only price £1,399pp. (Includes above except flight.)
International bookings welcome.


 10 days Board Hire for the price of 5!

To book contact Sportif on:
Tel  +44(0)1273 844919 or email
More information 


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exercise 02


Élite windsurfers are supremely fit. Lesser performers often aren’t. But, at recreational level, is fitness so very important in a sport, which is fundamentally about technique? If it is, what aspects of it are relevant and achievable to the common man or woman?

Peter Hart still has no need for a mobility scooter despite 35 years of windsurfing, so he must be doing something right.

Windsurfers have an interesting, cyclical relationship with fitness. As they start out they are acutely aware of the physical challenge, especially as they move into the pre harness, semi-planing stage. 

“You need the arms of Thor and the palms of a coal miner for this lark”, “I have aches in places I didn’t know I had places” they cry.

Then, as they discover the harness and hook into a fresh breeze for the first time … bliss!

The transformation couldn’t be more stark if they walked from a torture chamber into a Turkish boudoir lined with shapely masseuses holding pots of strawberry yoghurt and wearing nothing but a suggestive grin.

Suddenly windsurfing isn’t such a brutal physical challenge. “Perhaps I can do this and drive a desk for a living after all?” they muse.

“I’m not saying some free-riders are lazy – but some free-riders ARE lazy.”

Modern, well set-up kit allows you to sail fast without too much effort. I don’t mean to be rude.

Of course it does take a degree of strength and commitment but it’s a passive, anaerobic effort, sitting, resisting and generally not moving too much.


The way to move off the blasting/free-riding plateau, you assume, is to engross yourself in the minutiae of technique. With better technique you can upgrade to more specialized equipment that allows you to work on slicker moves in more challenging conditions.

With better kit and more technical tools in the box, your confidence rises and suddenly you’re the real deal. If only … Progress, in my experience, is directly proportional to physical fitness for the job. 

Without it, you’re struggling on so many levels.  It influences every aspect of your performance from decision making, to your state of mind, to your ability to actually function.

In truth most, throughout their journey, register the need for fitness and regret their lack of it. But they still underestimate its importance.

Equipment. The windsurfer, who is, or thinks he or she is, unfit, selects equipment on which to survive rather than excel. If they doubt they have the endurance to keep on waterstarting, they opt for the barge ‘just in case.’

Those high on fat tend to rig too big because they need the extra power and volume to waterstart and get planing. Those short on muscle tend to rig too small for fear they won’t be able to hang on. A lack of fitness forces you onto unsuitable equipment.

Technique. A lack of conditioning corrupts technique. If you don’t have the strength to hold your body weight on your arms, you’ll stumble into tacks and gybes the moment you hook out – and so initiate them off balance with arms bent.

The fitter sailor will hook out and take a moment to balance and let the board settle. Unfit wave-sailors ride waves hooked in. That’s not the way to rip.

To get planing the flabby sailor will resort to the more idle technique of sitting in the harness and hoofing against an over-sized fin, rather than pumping.

Windsurfers who are unfit/stiff/tired tend to work within a very narrow cage of movement over the board because they don’t have the strength or confidence to hold themselves in dynamic positions.

And how many falls do you see where people get trapped in the harness from staying hooked in for too long as they run into a lull?


Skill. It’s that ability to move and balance instinctively and efficiently. Yes it’s partly genetic – some do it innately better than others, but fitness has a large influence. When you’re fit you have better proprioception.

Your muscles contract faster. You balance better. The most effective way to balance is by flexing the feet, ankles and knees. But the legs contain the largest muscles in the body and so use the most energy.

When you tire, you stop flexing them and balance instead by pecking at the waist and dropping the shoulders, which is the quickest way to lose orientation.

And at the higher levels, it’s when you stop flexing the knees and ankles that you lose control of the edge in carved turns. 

Your mind. The suspicion that you might not be fit enough for the job destroys you mentally. If you’re tired, your vision closes in and you just react to what’s in front of you.

If you’re fit, you tend to relax, lift your head, anticipate, make plans and take in the bigger picture.

The unfit person confronting tough conditions for the first time only has survival on their mind, whilst the fit person enjoys the challenge because they know they have the strength and endurance to cope with a crisis.

TRAIN TO BALANCE –  not just to sweat! Windsurfing demands a lot of endurance. Balancing badly requires even more. We should spend at least as much time working on small muscle groups as much as the big ones. The Indo board is marvelous for improving proprioception, posture, staying and learning to balance from the feet up rather than the head down. Photos Dave White// …rather than pecking at the waist. Feel how quickly you lose it when the legs straighten  and the head drops.The next step is trying to hold that form and do a 180º turn as per a tack …And then see if you can do it upside down – Harty doing one from memory.

The tactics
Your level of fitness determines your tactics on the water. Free-riders who sail 4 miles before gybing usually do so because falling and restarting big kit saps all their energy.

De-tuned wave sailors, if they make it out through the break, keep going for a mile because they need to hook in and take a breather.

Hence their wave count is low and their whole performance lacks intensity. The fear of a rinsing and an exhausting swim forewarns them from spending too much time in the crazy zone.

So to improve at windsurfing it absolutely helps to get fitter. But how?

At the end of the very first advanced ‘funboard’ instructor’s course in 1984, I asked the candidates to fill out course feedback forms as per RYA protocol.

The comments were reasonably favourable apart from a collective rant about the pre-breakfast 5km run. “I started the day knackered.

By day three my hamstrings were so tight I couldn’t waterstart.” Wrote a youthful Simon Bassett. “I took up windsurfing because I hate running. What was the point?”

In retrospect, it wasn’t well conceived. The run was too strenuous and too early before the sailing session to be a useful warm up.

And as a general attempt to make everyone fitter for windsurfing, it was a very blunt instrument. For those who didn’t run as a way to keep fit, it was way too brutal.

For those who did (and there were a couple) it barely changed their heart rate. 

In my defence the general aim of the run was to serve as a wake-up call to basic instructors who spent a large portion of their working day sitting in a boat wrapped in a duffle coat, with a cup o’ tea and loud hailer bellowing at beginners to keep their bums in.

Windsurfing, and coaching, at the more advanced levels is physically very demanding. It’s a daily triathlon of sailing, swimming and sprinting around the beach.

Get fit or go home … but not necessarily by pounding the streets of Cowes. Training, the volume, intensity and type, has to be relevant to the individual and what they want to achieve. 

The fitness world is a commercial jungle. Exercise gurus with a magic product may claim to be able to give you perfect abs in 6 weeks (and produce a study and a ‘Doctorate of Ab-ology’ to back it up). But they can’t.

For a start that study didn’t include you did it? And what sort of fitness are they selling? Pert glutes and plump pecs may be desirable, but will they help you plane earlier? 

So perhaps the best starting point is to consult expert windsurfers? They might not have the right letters after their name to be able to offer the definitive windsurfing work out, which doesn’t exist anyway, but they will have anecdotal experience of what has worked for them.

“ What the true experts seem to agree on more recently is that the body is a far more complex instrument that many give credit for and that we all respond to exercise in very different ways. The trick is that, without ignoring every scientific principle, listen to your body and discover what really works for you”

I was sat last week at a conference with a handful of icons of the sport past and present, including Ross Williams, Nik Baker and Dave White, who have reached various pinnacles with very different body types and attitudes to training.

The following may seem as logical as getting Hitler to deliver a sermon on racial harmony, but I’m going to give the first word on fitness and training to speed phenomenon Dave White. 

Whitey, for those who haven’t had the pleasure, has the dancing feet of Nureyev, but the physique of Mr. Blobby. That’s unfair.

He just has a classic endomorph body – solid, heavy boned, strong but prone to putting on kg. easily (and then reluctant to get rid of them). He’s waged a long and bitter war with his weight, which currently he seems to be winning.

Having indulged in a myriad of diets, from Atkins to protein shakes – and exercise regimes – he has this to say about conditioning.

“The answer I’m expected to give is ‘get fitter, lose weight and your windsurfing will improve.’ It’s very good advice. But imagine standing outside a divorce court and saying to every bloke who came out: ‘you should have treated your wife better.’

That’s good advice too (although a bit late). But the answer they’re likely to give is: “If I was enjoying my marriage I might have.”

There lays my problem – no not my marriage – I didn’t enjoy the training I was doing and so I didn’t carry on.

Right now I’m on the fitness path, not from outside pressure, but as the result of some great sailing on the right size and style of equipment that fills my every waking moment with thoughts of windsurfing.

No, that’s not sort of subconscious RRD advertising, I’m just suggesting you ask yourselves, do you have the right gear to make the most of where you live?”

If someone puts you on a diet of llama’s intestine and boiled swede, however much weight you may lose initially (probably through retching), you are very unlikely to make such a regime part of your life because you’ll dread meal times and will surely revert and regrow.

It’s the same with exercise. In some perverse way you have to look forward to it.

The Laidback Waterman
Back at the conference and I’m about to have a chat with Ross Williams when Amy Carter (coach and herself a Crossfit fanatic) enquires incredulously “you’re going to talk to Ross about physical training…?” inferring, I guess, that he doesn’t do much.

I have a lot of time for Ross. If the PWA still offered an overall crown he’d be favourite. He rips in the waves but is perhaps best known as a slalom and Formula racer.

Have you ever hung on to dedicated slalom kit in race conditions? You should try it once. The forces going through every cell of the body are brutal.

Ross is built – but he doesn’t look like a gym monkey. If the symptoms of someone on steroids are short-tempered, aggressive, border-line psychotic with veins bulging from parchment skin, well Ross is definitely clean.

Smiley and laidback to the point of collapse, his approach to the fitness question is that of a waterman.

“Whenever I get the chance, I surf – and I will do it because I enjoy it and from a fitness point of view it’s harder than windsurfing!

But for me I relate my performance entirely to the time I spend windsurfing. It’s all about muscle memory and developing the right muscles.

Yes I know not everyone can get out there when the wind blows so from personal experience I would say:  don’t be totally unfit – any activity is better than none. 

Don’t do just one thing – vary the exercise to keep your drive. And don’t forget to stretch – strength is one thing but you have to be able to move.”

“Whenever I feel like exercising I lie down until the feeling passes.”Anon

especially when it’s very light. STRETCHING the POINT Flexibility for the average windsurfer, or lack of it, has the greatest influence during the waterstart.  The more they can bend their legs, the more compact they can make themselves, the higher they can throw their shoulders and the more they can bend at the waist, the more power they produce and the smaller their arc of movement. Here’s the bad news. To a large extent it’s genetic. You can stretch to maintain flexibility, but if you’re trying to increase it, you have a job on your hands. When you stretch and appear to be getting more limber, you’re actually just developing a tolerance for the discomfort. In order to change the structure of the tissue you’d have to train for hours every day for months (some yogis do just that). For most sports the experts say that stretching is over-rated. It’s possible to be too supple to the point where the joints become unstable. And recent studies have revealed that static stretching before the activity actually weakens the muscle. Most people are flexible enough for what they want to do.  Photos Dave White

Lessons from the Hart
From the age of 10 to 16 ½ I trained seriously as a gymnast. Lucky for me my coach, Bert Dooley, was something of a visionary.

Bert believed that all strength and conditioning training had to be directly relevant to the sport and what we wanted to achieve.

Heaving dumbbells around, he said, would just build big, irrelevant muscle. All his conditioning exercises, therefore, used the apparatus and your own body.

For example we’d do sets of swinging dips on the parallel bars, (with ankle weights if he was feeling mean), push-ups from head to handstand.

Leg circles on the pommel horse. We’d do shuttle sprints, but at the end of each have to do a vault or a tumble – and many more.

Each exercise was designed to target a muscle group but because it was part of a balance movement, you were working all the smaller muscle groups as well.

And everything had to be done with a tight stomach. Tension is key in gymnastics, and indeed anything acrobatic or dynamic.

You’ve probably seen the TV bloopers, where a gymnast loses that tension in mid-move, they fall from the sky like a dying spider.

Basically we were doing high-performance Pilates before it was called that.

It was hard but somehow fun because. …

a) He introduced an element of competition.

b) We were actually doing the sport, not just grunting.

c) There was a technical incentive. If you held balance and form, the repetitions were a lot easier.

He also kept the exercise bursts to around 90 seconds, just a bit longer than the length of a competition routine, which these days is called, ‘training above race pace.’ Gymnastic is an intense, explosive sport, so our conditioning training was explosive and intense.

I’ve carried those messages with me into my windsurfing. In all my training (and there really isn’t too much these days) I try to replicate the sport. Keep as close to the water as I can. So in order of preference:

1. If it’s windy – go windsurfing!
Set aside part of the session, perhaps the end, to conditioning. Intensify the session. Get planing without hooking in. Try stepping straight into the straps and pumping from there. Count the pumps.

Try sailing out of the harness for longer and longer periods holding the hips high and the stomach as tight as possible.

Do a series of  ‘pops’ or chop hops without hooking in, on each tack. 

If you’re sailing in waves, sail in the waves! Imagine you’re in a 20-minute heat and have to complete 5 jumps and 5 rides and stay in the same spot. You’ll crawl up the beach.

The All Black rugby team draw the difference between ‘man strength’ and ‘gym strength’.

Man strength is the natural strength you develop over years from continuously performing a physical chore like chucking sheep into the back of a truck.

Gym strength is just the ability to lift a weight and grow a muscle.

2. Don’t be a WINDGURU SLAVE.
In light winds, still go windsurfing. It’s the same exercise, same techniques but, without a solid counterbalance, it’s potentially even more demanding, if you make it so.

Gybe or tack continuously so you have little time to hook in and relax. Light wind sailing in the waves on a floaty thing can be the most aerobic of all.

3. Little wind  – on the beach.
So there’s barely enough wind to windsurf. But you can lay an old fin-less board on the beach, fit it with a small sail and get twiddling.

See how many tacks or rig changes you can do in a minute – you’re working the right muscles and drilling a technique.

4. No wind and the SUP.
The SUP has transformed many a windsurfer. Learning to balance and turn without a counterbalance is brilliant exercise for windsurfers who often use the rig like a drunkard uses a lamppost.

And when it comes to cardiovascular training, if you get it as a by-product of doing a sport you enjoy, rather than grinding it out on a static pain machine, you’re far more likely to persevere. 

And finally, if the water is not available through weather or lack of general proximity then you do have to find something else to do. 

For aerobic training everyone has their own favourite tools, running shoes, a bike, a swimming pool. Personally mine is the Concept 2 indoor rower.

I say ‘favourite’ – I hate the bloody thing, but being a supported exercise it’s easier on my dodgy knee and I have yet to find anything that better mirrors the act of windsurfing. 

But whatever tool you’re on, think windsurfing and replicate its rhythm and intensity.  It’s periods of relative calm (hooked in reaching) followed by short explosive bursts (a gybe, a jump, a tack, gouging bottom turn).

So if you’re on your step machine, program in hills.  If you’re on your bike, find hills. If you’re running, look for a hill or put in the odd sprint.

That sudden intense effort is you fighting to keep head and rig above water in the shorebreak and waterstart before the next dumper. And does it have to hurt? Probably…

There is a very basic stretch test. If you try and put your chest on your thighs and  can touch your toes, you’re plenty  supple enough. If you can’t get anywhere near your toes to the point where your back is pointing backwards, then you should think of doing something about it!

Once, after 2 months of heavy gym training I flew to Barbados for a regatta. On the first morning I met up with fellow racer Mike Burt. He too had been on the weights. We compared pecs – it was official, we were both ripped.

We went out into the waves – we came back in 5 minutes later both totally knackered and feeling like we never windsurfed before.

Some regimes, notably heaving big weights around, can actually be counter-productive in a sport that is primarily about balance.

Overload – the one true fitness principle
According to the well respected Journal of Applied Physiology “overload is the one overriding truth in physiology.” You go the gym and do the same old circuit, it may have general health benefits, but you’re not getting any fitter.

To get fitter you have to push yourself and ‘overload’ the system and actually damage the muscles and connecting tissues. You’re no doubt familiar with DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness).

That soreness is not lactic acid but tiny muscle tears that have brought an inflammatory response. The tissues then repair themselves and become stronger and more pliable – but only if they’re allowed to – which is why rest and recovery is so important. It is the foundation of fitness.

My body reacts far better to high intensity, interval training (HIIT in the trade) than it does to lower intensity volume training.

I’d also rather dive into a freezing swimming pool than edge in inch-by-inch – and pull off the Elastoplast in one rip.

Get it over with I say. I’d rather hurt a lot for a short time, than a hurt a little for a long time. 

But overload does not have to imply a ‘sprint ‘til you vomit’ approach. It can simply mean gradually increasing the frequency, length and/or intensity of your workouts. 

Are you a  ‘Non responder’?
As mentioned in the beginning, people respond differently to the exercise. A recent study in Finland put 175 people through the same aerobic and strength program.

After 21 weeks some had improved by as much as 42%, others, not one iota.

Some of you may have seen last year’s BBC Horizon program ‘the truth about exercise’ where the presenter sought an exercise regime to reverse the descent towards ill health, notably diabetes, that had been the fate of his ancestors.

The researchers identified him as a ‘non responder’ to exercise. That is to say he could run or cycle as much as he liked and he wouldn’t change his VO2max – his ability to process oxygen.

However, by obeying a shockingly brief daily routine of 3 X 20 second full sprint bursts on a static bike, he altered positively many of his health markers including his sensitivity to insulin.

The ‘non responder’ label provoked a bit of a backlash in the physiological circles – namely Louisiana State University

“People do respond differently and it appears to be in the genes. But motivation plays a huge role. We have people who come in four times a week but they are not pushing themselves. But there are no ‘non responders!’

Everyone will get fitter and healthier following the right exercise approach, which should be relative to their goals and appropriate to their current level of fitness.”

I do encounter people on courses who love their windsurfing, but who have thrown in the exercise towel claiming that nothing seems to make any difference.

But I’m afraid if you are such a person it is probably that you’re just not trying hard enough in the right way … sorry!  Your gym, fearful of litigation, may be to blame.

With notices like: “if you feel tired or hot or short of breath immediately stop, go home, have a little lie down and call a doctor” plastered on every machine, no surprise people remain a little too comfortable.

Mr. Motivator
When all is said, motivation is often the elusive ingredient. And it’s the same for the elite sportsman as it is for the amateur. Hence the pro usually trains with a view to peaking at a certain time – like a 3-year plan leading up to the Olympics for example.

The amateur can do the same – just shorten the lead time and swap ‘Olympics’ for ‘holiday.’ It should be a massive incentive.

It’s tragic how many holiday sessions have been wasted because the perpetrator went nuts on the first morning and by day 3 hadn’t got a functioning cell left in the system.

But on the subject of motivation I leave the last word to Mr. Motivator himself – Whitey:

“For me it’s the possibility of maximizing the conditions when they finally arrive that keeps my thoughts positive as I pass (without stopping) yet another McDonalds or when my heart feels like bursting through my chest on a run…. Yes, I did say “run”.

P.S. If you’re interested in the latest fitness science in layman’s language may I suggest you read ‘The First 20 Minutes’ by Gretchen Reynolds.

Harty continues the physical theme in this month’s Affairs of the Hart’ on the back page. Next month he hits the technique looking at the Freemove phenomenon. Many of his life-enhancing clinics are full this year but a few spaces remain. Check them out soon by going to, or by liking his Peter Hart Masterclass Facebook page.

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