“I should have done that 10 years ago!” is what a lot of people say to me after a 2 hour lesson on how to improve their windsurfing skills. Check out this quick video of Geoffrey learning to master his jibes…. a few days complete with video analysis and learning the proper dance can fast forward the moves you want to make!
So many windsurfers are self taught and a lot of them learned over 35 years ago on equipment that has since changed….. A lot! I have learned a ton over the past 10 years of teaching and wanted to share some more tips for you to think about while on the water.
- Use your harness! I mean really use it, don’t work the arms too much. The more you tug and jerk with your arms on the sail, the more you tire yourself out and send mixed signals to your rig. Make sure you have the right length lines!
- Keep your head up- this one I can’t preach enough. Chin on shoulder is how I like to explain it. Look down= Go Down.
- Footwork and handwork for those working on their jibes is super key. Imagine dancing with a beautiful woman or striking gentleman and not knowing how to dance and where to put your feet. Establish correct movements on the beach, create a “jibe dance” as I like to call it so it becomes a natural movement. If you can’t do it on the beach, how are you gonna pull it off at full speed on the water?
- Direct connect. Think of your body as the universal joint, (aka UJ or the thing that connects the sail to the board) that takes the power of the sail and puts it into the board. This makes you go go and go. All the power of the sail should be going through your harness and being distributed by your legs, arms and the mast, (aka mast foot pressure) to control the board. If you lose that connection by having too bent a front leg or pulling in too hard on your front hand causing the sail to sheet out, you are gonna struggle with planing and keeping your speed through lulls in the wind.
- The most simple and effective tip I always give, Smile and Breathe! I can’t tell you how many times I say that to people and everything comes to life. The arms relax, the harness gets used, the air is flowing and we are having a good time!
For most people, improving their skills is just a few things that need to shift and be focused on. Being able to communicate and translate that back to people is a fun challenge for me. There are an infinite amount of ways to tell the story and everyone is different in how they learn and absorb the information. This process of the dance and connecting with people to see them “Get it” keeps my stoke flowing for the sport that has us all searching for the next great forecast!
See you on the water-
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