Following yesterday’s feature ‘My First Carve Gybe’ Boards now present stories of the next mile stone move in many windsurfers lives, the forward loop. Find out how the pros, coaches and up and coming sailors cracked this ballsy trick and how you too can get around your first spin.
When I did my first forward loop I was 11 years old and windsurfing in Brandon Bay, Ireland. It was pretty light with waist to shoulder high waves coming through the bay providing some nice head on ramps. I was pumping onto the plane and just chucking myself into them when all of a sudden one just clicked, it felt so easy, all my kit went really light and just came round so smoothly and gently. It was the best feeling I have ever had and I have not been able to stop doing them since, the forward got me hooked on windsurfing all over again.
Aleksy Gayda – BWA Amateur Champion 2011
I started forwards with a lot of determination, perhaps too much as I went through some serious back slaps and lung abuse. After a few pointers from Jem (Hall) I started trying wymaroos, getting the rig across my body and my backhand all the way down the boom, which soon had me landing my first flat water spin loops, even on my weak tack. Through watching movies I then picked up how far off the wind I needed to go for big clean forwards, which is especially difficult in onshore conditions. I also found there was a balance between trying to be on the right kit (where you don’t feel too overpowered) and just having a ‘go for it’ attitude.
The best craic is going for forwards with a bunch of mates, where you can all push each other, keep an eye out and have a lot of fun. I still remember landing my first clean loop and sailing away; it was a sweet feeling and left me smiling for days.
Will Barrett - BWA amateur competitor
I started trying loops in Margarita off about waist high waves, I landed on my back a lot and it was so bruised, but I was super hyped! The next day I tried again with a life jacket, but then I popped my eardrum as I forgot to look back…oops! I decided a little self preservation was in order, so I stopped trying for a while. After trying again in the UK, it was in Brazil that I finally landed one; I was so happy! For a relatively simple move it took me a while, but I think it was because I kept closing my eyes so I couldn’t spot my landing and open out the sail so I always got stuck in the same place. I then went to Pozo to learn on the other tack, trying them on a 3.4 in really onshore conditions improved my spin loop technique, and I began landing them on port too.
Sarah Bibby – BWA 2011 Ladies Champion
With forward loops there was no real breakthrough point that I can remember as every attempt is different and you can hardly expect to come out fully planing on your first go (keep wishing)! So here are just a few key points that almost certainly helped me get to a point where I actually enjoy them; weird I know! NEVER (ever!) let go; if you hold on you are way less likely to land in a heap on your kit. Only let go if you really, really have to.
Do practice in light winds; practice catapulting yourself over the front (without your feet in the straps – obviously) over and over again until you are landing on your back or in the waterstart position before you try in strong winds.
Learn with someone; if you’re competing for that all-important win, then your brain doesn’t mind doing stupid things! Good luck and if you can get someone to video your attempts it will provide you with endless amounts of entertainment!
George Shillito – BWA competitor and man in the know at the Polkerris Beach Co.
My first forward loop was during my first season at Club Vass, I landed my 3rd one! I remember I was on an old Neil Pryde Soul 5.8, sailing towards the beach on port tack and I bore right off the wind and jumped off the back of a piece of chop, nose dived and looked behind me over my back shoulder, waterstarted up and hey presto!
Andy Bubble Chambers – Freestyle and wave competitor and windsurfing coach
My very first forward attempt was pretty pathetic. My best mate from school and I sailed into the middle of Brogborough Lake, did a tiny chop hop and flopped onto our sails. I don’t think it really counts to be honest! My first proper rotation however I still remember clearly. I had been trying a few more forward attempts in lighter winds but without much luck, never getting enough rotation and generally crashing face first into the water. The next properly windy day on the lake, I was flying around full power on a 4.0. When I tried my first forward this day, everything happened so much quicker. Instead of crashing into the water like normal, I did the full rotation and slapped down on my back. I can’t even remember if I sailed away or not, but I can still picture the exact spot on the lake and still have the image in my head of the rotation. It was so fast, but at the same time I can remember it all in super slow motion, with the sky, water and land, all flying by. It was such an amazing feeling.
John Skye – PWA competitor and British windsurfing legend