James Hart again joins Boards Basics, he has now been on the water for a good few months. James is on the sea, getting into the straps and looking forward to a windy winter; we find out more about his first experience of getting into the straps.
The sessions are coming to an end and after a full on year on the water with most of the time spent being in the water, not on it, I’ve been loving it! Starting off I was thinking that I would never get it and now I am in the harness and on a sea when it’s nice and flat. I am now setting up goals for future session and I want to LOOP… but first I might need to used the foot straps and learn how to turn a board that is not the size my garden decking.
I had my first really good sea moment the other day launching from Lagoon Watersports on a Sunday afternoon clinic, with ideal conditions. The session was about getting going and into the front strap, which were bits I had attempted with not a lot of success in the past. It started on the land with a group of us being shown on the simulator with very broken down demos and coaching points with a lot of encouragement. The instructor helped with getting the right kit for the conditions and ability and we were quickly rushed onto the beach to get on the water. With rules set out and the instructor in a boat I felt happy to bear away, strap in and blast!! As we got on the water we met out by the boat and started off with a follow the leader out away from the beach. He told us to just drop our weight back and down, and just go. With most of us starbursting over the sailing area with this new found speed the instructor had the massive task of rounding us all up but with the time on the taxi boat back to upwind land we had time for some one to one coaching.
On my second blast I got more speed than I had got before and felt that I needed to be in the straps so I took the leap and went for the front strap. When it was in and I was planing; it felt so alien to think I was in the first strap. It was bouncing around and still not going where I wanted it to go but it felt great for the whole 30 seconds I was committed to the board. Back on the boat on my taxi back upwind I was told a way of stopping the unpleasant bouncing around and go for the back strap as well.
Things were looking good for ending the year in the straps and blasting but I needed a couple more runs and a lucky gust to hold me up. As I started up again I was back in the front strap and shimmying the back foot back, I had no idea I was going downwind but I was flying and didn’t care!! There was a moment where the water was flat and I went for the back strap but as soon as I did the board shot into with, stalled and I fell in! Again, after that I was back in the boat being coached on the next step.
That was it, I had all the know-how but just needed the bottle to go for it and again I had my spot of flat water and the wind to be planing comfortably, front strap came with ease as all I was thinking about was the coaching points and the back strap. As I stepped into the back strap the board this time didn’t shoot up into wind and I kept going with even more speed and I just had to go with it and hope for the best. I heard the powerboat coming from the side with a very excited instructor shouting away at me to keep going, I was buzzing! I went into a lull and it was all over but the feeling was amazing and it was the biggest change in my windsurfing, turning the board around was still a small issue but I do not care, I was just planing in the straps on the sea with nothing stopping me apart from French customs that may have something to say.
The first year has been going from step to step and now strap to strap with coaching along the way from anyone willing to help a beginner, which in the windsurfing community is always easy to find. So, from a time where I was just giving it a go the sport has eaten my time and energy in the best way possible and now as the winter is coming to a start I am thinking what to do – maybe Dahab or a very thick wetsuit!!
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