SAM ROSS - CROSS TRAINING
Don’t worry I’m not going to tell you to get on a bike or sup round your nearest island, although both may be a good idea. The windsurfing we want to do isn’t always available to us especially in the summer months. Whilst this is frustrating it does give us time to enjoy the beach or local reservoir in nice weather and presents us with an opportunity to still improve our windsurfing.
The phrase ‘light wind freestyle’ can often get an emotive response from many windsurfers within certain demographics. “I’m too old for that” or ‘”it’s a bit boring”often pop up. “It’s great for your rig and board handling” is the normal reply of an instructor. So which tricks and how should we be doing them to our planing windsurfing more effective?
DON’T MAKE IT TOO EASY
The first thing is picking the right kit. The big-board-small-sail combo is the usual weapon of choice, but might not always be the best. A big board will certainly make cruising around between moves easier and add an element of fun and security, but take a sail that offers some resistance. If I’m going out in non-planing conditions to do light wind freestyle I’ll take the biggest sail I have in my wave freestyle quiver - a 5.7.
Two reasons for this are that if offers a bit of feedback and resistance in moves so I know if I’m getting it right or wrong, plus it’s the sail I’m likely to go and try moves on when the wind kicks in. It’s all very well taking your 4.2, but it will give you no feedback in light winds and it’s the most unlikely sail in your quiver that you’ll be attempting new moves on when the wind does kick in.
HAVE A STRATEGY
The next thing to do is pick the light wind moves that help you train for the high wind moves. Heli-tacks, sail 360s and sailing front-to-sail are all stalwarts of our light wind routines, but we need to put some productive practice in to get the high wind results later on. So when you’re doing the above, ask yourself why you’ve chosen it? What is your intention – and where is your attention? So a heli-tack might be chosen because it helps with footwork and rig flips. Our intention might be to control it clew first so our attention is on opening the rig off the wind.
By thinking about what we are doing rather than simply flinging a rig around and seeing what we can get away with, we can make the most out of our light wind sessions and reap the benefits when it picks up.
So maximize the warmer weather while you can, as when the nights start to close in and the temperatures drop, you’ll be glad you put the hours in when you could. SR
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