Introducing the Boards myth buster...
There are endless pieces of 'advice' out there, lots of stories, rumours and tales passed through the windsurfing community - but which of them are actually true?
Do you need all the latest equipment to be the best windsurfer?
Do you need to be 90 kilos plus to break 40 knots?
Can you only head to a wave competition if you're consistently landing forward and back loops?
Do you really need a T4 or sprinter for all of your windsurfing gear, or will a smart car suffice?
We will find the answers!
Over the coming weeks Boards will address numerous windsurfing myths that we've heard, getting to the bottom of the rumour and finding out the real truth.
The Myth Buster -
1. The Forward Loop Myth - I need to be carve gybing and landing massive jumps before I can learn to forward.
2. Aerial Freestyle - I need to be carve gybing before trying aerial freestyle.
3. A Big Van - I really need a van to windsurf here in the UK, a car just won't fit everything in it.
4. Wave competitions - I need to be a landing loops to enter a wave competition.
6. Overpowered - If I'm overpowered I need to change down straight away.
7. Choppy water and fin size - when do I change?
Have you heard a windsurfing myth that you would like solved? A rumour you've heard that you're not sure whether or not to believe? Or an old technique tip that just doesn't quite make sense?
Send your questions over to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will find the answers!
[part title="Forward Loop"]
The Forward Loop Myth - I need to be carve gybing and landing massive jumps before I can learn to forward.
Colin Whippy Dixon of WindSurf coaching and Andy Bubble Chambers explain more...
"The forward loop is one of the easiest and hardest moves I have ever learnt!
"It was easy because pretty much as soon as I held on I landed.
"It was hard because from day one in windsurfing we train to stop are selfs going over the front, and a forward is really just a catapult!
"If you can sail in the footstraps and kind of get the board out of the water you ready are ready to forward!
"With the right coaching it's easy, I would even say it's easier to do when you have just learnt to windsurf, because you're more used to the catapult feeling. So NO you don't have to be able to turn before you can loop, if you've got what it takes (balls, bottle, a can of man up, etc) there is nothing told you back, go for it!"
"Half the freestylers around the world could do Spock 540’s and vulcans as a way of turning around before they could carve gybe! Forward loops are 90% mental and 10% technique! Get out there and do it!"
Feeling inspired to give the forward loop a go? Check out all of the Boards forward loop technique features here.
[part title="Aerial Freestyle"]
Aerial Freestyle - Just like the forward loop, many people thing you need to be pulling of solid carve gybes or similar before taking on any aerial freestyle.
Max Rowe explains why...
These little myths that get created within many sports about what order we should be learning can be a major factor in making people hold themselves back.
Personally, when I learnt to windsurf I just couldn't wait to get the board out the water; my Dad and some other instructors I had along the way attempted to teach me the carve gybe but I simply wasn't interested.
As long as your happy in the harness and footstraps, and riding on a sub 110 litre board there's no reason why you shouldn't start attempting aerial freestyle moves such as vulcans.
I'm not saying never learn to gybe but just don't think that you have to have it nailed before you start attempting these manoeuvres, if thats what interests you.
Feeling inspired to learn some freestyle? Click here to check out the Boards freestyle secrets.
[part title="A Big Van"]
A Big Van - I really need a van to windsurf here in the UK, a car just won't fit everything in it.
Jony Price explains why...
"Do you need a big van? No!
I drive a 3 door Ford Fiesta and it fits all the kit I could possibly need.
It has roof racks but that jacks up the fuel consumption, so I don't bother using them unless I have a passenger. There isn't much need for them as inside it fits:
2 windsurf boards (68 + 75)
2 surf boards
As well as all my wetsuits, harness, accessories, bags of clothes etc
All this and I can still sleep full length very comfortably (honestly!!) down the drivers side. This year 3 of us went to the BWA event in Tiree in it with all our kit!! I was comfortable the whole journey, although I cant say the same for Megan Gayda who was squeezed into the back seat..."
[part title="Wave competitions "]
Wave competitions - I need to be a landing loops to enter a wave competition.
Si Crowther and Andy Chambers explain why...
"I entered my first wave comp only a few months after getting into the footstraps and harness, the only move I could reliably pull was the helitack.
"I attempted my first ever forward loop after just 8 months of windsurfing. I wasn't even close to being able to gybe. Going to wave events so early may have been a genius move, I crashed everything so much that the advice from the pros came flooding in. Within a year of first stepping on a board I was sailing out of forwards regularly, I still couldn't gybe... Two years later I won the Amateur wave title. The regular attendance to wave events (with all the free pro advice/coaching) and frequent time on the water accelerated my abilities.. I believe comps provide focus and it's the fastest way to learn."
"Absolutely not!! You will learn so much by going to the competitions. It's a great way to improve your sailing. As long as you are confident sailing around on the sea then get down to an event. There is always a fleet which will suit your sailing level or age!"
[part title="John Skye's Donkey Kicks..."]
Perhaps not as well known as the other myths addressed, this one has come straight from (a slightly jaded!?) Andy King...
Myth - John Skye's one handed donkey kicks are amazing and are also known as eagle wings!
Truth - They are lame and do not out score a ankle dry back loop to steal a British Championship, not that I'm still bitter or anything... Ha.
If I'm overpowered I have to change down straight away.
Jamie Hancock and Marco Wedele explain why...
"I think it is always good to try get the best out of your sail.
"By trimming the sail well you can really change its feel to adapt to the conditions. I find when I’m on smaller sails it is good just to stick it out, when you are on the larger sizes in your quiver and the wind gets quite strong it is harder to control.
"But it is a judgement call, some people like the full power and some people prefer smaller sails with less downhaul / outhaul."
"If there is one problem with a big nice equipped centre, it's that there are all different sail sizes and as a customer you get tempted to change down as soon as you feel a little bit powered up, only then to find out that the next sail you take is too small so you have to change again and in the end spending more time coming in and going out then on the water!
You can tune your kit according to the conditions - small change, big difference!
"A big one is the position of the harness lines, it makes a massive change if you move your harness lines back an inch!
"Another one is the boom height, if you move it down it will encourage you to get lower but it also flattens of the sail as it automatically tightens up the outhaul. If you are underpowered you can move it up to encourage you to stand up a bit more and it will give the sail a deeper profile, as there is less outhaul and therefore more power!
"As an intermediate you can benefit from being slightly overpowered to a certain extent, because it's more forgiving, especially when it comes to getting going or using the footstraps etc."
[part title="Choppy water and fin size"]
We've received this great myth from reader Marc:
"Mrs. Peter Hart and Guy Cribb seem to disagree if very choppy water requires a bigger fin or a smaller fin than usual. I seem to recall having read both. One theory says that a smaller fin keeps the board flatter on the water, the other says that a larger fin prevents spin outs more effectively in choppy water. Could you shed some light on that?"
We sure can, over to Marco Wedele and Simon Bornhoft...
"I personally think there are a few other factors that come into play here, it's not as simple as being able to say you need a smaller or a larger fin in choppy water. Depending on how powered up you are or what kind of board you use, one or the other can be relevant.
"If you are really powered up and sailing with a large fin, then this will create more lift and it will be hard to get any sort of control.
"If you are underpowered and you are sailing with a smaller fin you won’t be able to push too hard of the fin, so spin-out can happen.
"As you see this is a tough one to answer, as it depends a lot on wind strength, the board and even sail size!"
"With regards to fin choice in chop, 'listen to what your board' is telling you!' If the board is spinning out a lot, be it flat or choppy water, then soften the loading on your back leg and try a slightly larger fin.
:Conversely if you are very powered up and the windward rail or nose is lifting uncontrollably, this could mean you're on too larger a fin."
Here’s the Windwise fin formula to help you work out the right size fin for the sail and board you’re using:
Windwise Fin Formula for 115L-170L Freeride boards
Take the sail size you’re using, multiply it by 5, then add 4.
E.g. 6m x 5 = 30 + 4 = 34cm (+ or – a couple of cm’s using Fin Tuning Guide)
Windwise Fin Formula for 75L-115L Freewave/Wave Boards
Take the sail size you’re using and multiply it by 5, then add 2.
E.g. 5m x 5 = 25 + 2 = 27cm (+ or – a couple of cm’s using Fin Tuning Guide)
NB. Freestylers use a fin the size of a key ring about 18cm, so just shows how small you can go, even in chop!
Fin Tuning Guide
Possibly increase the fin size 1-4cm: Heavier sailors (+85Kg) / Struggling to get planing / Spinning out a lot / On a comparatively wide board.
Possibly decrease the fin size 1-4cm: Very Experienced or lighter sailors (-75kg) / overpowered conditions / Very narrow boards / Looking for an extra lose feel.
[part title="When is it time to learn to waterstart?"]
When is it time to learn to waterstart?
Waterstarting is a key windsurfing skill, that will take you into stronger winds and onto smaller boards. But when is the 'right' time to learn?
Some people think you already need to be in the harness and footstraps, comfortably planing before you master this new move but that simply isn't true.
As Simon Bornhoft says:
"The waterstart is a purely mechanical move, you can learn it well before mastering harness and footstraps."
Waterstarting is simply a deep water beach start, so if you are able to beach start then think about getting deeper and deeper; start with hip level water, then waist, chest and so on. This will give you the security of knowing you can still put your feet down when you need to, but you will have to work a little harder to recover the rig and then get up on your board. A good tip is to keep your feet of the bottom the whole time, even when you can put them down, the quicker you get used to swimming your equipment around using the wind then quicker you will be waterstarting!
[part title="Breaking 40 knots"]
The myth: I need to look like Bjorn (Dunkerbeck) or Antoine (Albeau) i.e. be around 100 kg to break 40 knots.
False! Zara Davis holder of two world speed records explains why this is not true:
Being big and heavy is not as much of an advantage nowadays as it used to be. Being 6 foot tall and weighing only 78 kilograms I am not what you would call heavy and my world record is 45.83 knots over 500m.
So how can you achieve your personal best in speedsailing if you are on the lighter side?
I use Simmer and Mistral boards and sails that are standard production, the only custom thing I use are custom asymmetric fins. The limiting factor is not necessarily the equipment but setting it up right for you personally is...
Key points to look at:
Are you using the right mast? The wrong or too stiff a mast is like putting a Morris Minor engine in a Ferrari. For example trying a softer top section for a lighter rider is sometimes is all it takes.
Fins are crucial to top speeds, if you can have a small quiver of quality fins. Plus if the conditions allow, use asymmetric fins. Not fast upwind but huge advantage down.
Footstrap positions, when was the last time you moved you strap positions? The wrong position for you on the board will slow it down and not allow it to fly as it was designed to do.
A small weight jacket with buoyancy and a few kilos in it help enormously with holding a bigger sail down. But more importantly helping you plane through the lulls.
I hope this helps you achieve your personal best.
Please feel free to contact me if you need help with specifics.
See you on the water Zara.
[part title="Windsurfing only starts when you're planing"]
The myth: Windsurfing only starts when you're planing.
We're probably all guilty of thinking you're only a 'real' windsurfer when you're planing, but it's simply not true. Whilst we agree that planing windsurfing is amazing (and the non-planing version will probably never be quite as much fun) this certainly does not mean that windsurfing is all about going fast.
Summer is coming and the winds could be light, but the sun should also be shining and you could even have a little more spare time to enjoy your favourite sport.
If there's less than 10 knots do you still head out windsurfing? If not, you really should!
Not only can you progress some skills, as Simon Bornhoft explains here, you could also gather together some friends and family and just have fun. Lightwind freestyle and longboard cruising might not seem as 'sexy' as planing windsurfing, but surely it's better than paddling for hours in one direction on a SUP?
As kids many of us windsurfer every weekend, no matter what the weather we would be out on the water with our mates. Sometimes this involved pumping around a race course, sometimes seeing how many people you could get on one windsurf board. It's all windsurfing, and involves a lot of laughs.
So, don't forget about non-planing windsurfing this summer...you'll be missing out if you do!
[part title="11. You NEED all of the latest windsurfing equipment."]
You NEED all of the latest windsurfing equipment - FALSE!
We all love new windsurfing equipment and yes, if we could have a full brand new quiver of the latest gear every year we absolutely would. BUT back in the real world this isn't always possible.
Luckily for us there is a thriving second hand windsurfing equipment market, where you can pick up anything you need for a very cheap price.
The key to buying equipment 'new' for you is deciding what the priority is and why you need certain equipment, this will then help you assess what it is worth splashing the cash on to buy brand new and what you can buy second hand.
Everyone's equipment needs will be different, from buying your first board to debating whether to go for a brand new 3 batten wave sail, it is impossible for us to provide a blanket rule on who should buy what and why. (Although there will be a second hand buyers guide coming to Boards very soon, watch this space!)
Our advice? Talk!
The Boards forum, equipment section here, is a great place to chat about equipment old and new and get advice from others in a similar position to you. You can also buy second hand equipment on Boards too, just check out the classifieds section here.
Another great idea is to speak to your local windsurfing shop. Boardwise for example have a massive second hand section on their website, as well as selling all the newest ranges from many windsurfing brands. They (like many shops) will be able to give you great advice on what to buy and why if you explain exactly where you're at with your windsurfing.
[part title="It's all about quads"]
Over the past few years wavesailing boards have progressed, and grown more and more fin boxes. First there were twins, then quads, now thrusters and trailers (both three fin boards).
Many think that the quad is now the go to waveboard, used by the majority of wavesailors and, whilst many do go for four fins, it's not for everyone in all conditions.
For example Philip Koster (and most of the Gran Canarians) still use twin fins in the Canaries and similar conditions. Whilst they might switch to quads for down-the-line conditions, it just goes to show you don't necessarily need a down-the-line board unless you're actually in those conditions. You're far better looking at a board that actually works in the conditions you will be sailing in and for what you want to do, that just going for the most radical wave board on the market.