How To

Wannabe a Wavesailor with Jem Hall: One-Handed Top Turn

One-handed top turn

In this instalment of his comprehensive series examining every aspect of wavesailing, Jem Hall looks at a variation in the regular frontside top turn as he inspires you to go one-handed…

I trust you’re feeling inspired after reading all the great tips my wavesailing crew bestowed upon us last month. The one theme that ran through their tips was being challenged – either challenging themselves, or having challenges set for them by me. When you’re challenged you progress, you improvise, adapt and overcome.

As in fitness, if you do not overload your body and force it to attain progression, well, then you will stay the same.

One-handed moves get you to really counterbalance the pull of the rig using your body, and force you to consider the position of your head, hips and hands. This is crucial to developing some style in your wavesailing, and particularly here in your riding. When I get people sailing one-handed their stance transforms. If I get them going one-handed front to sail they truly understand sail control, and if you do tail-grab jumps, well you know what that does for you.

OK, enough of the sales pitch. Let’s use our trusted formula for new moves.


This move is for people who are happy making competent frontside bottom and top turns.


Off small to medium and relatively blue waves, i.e. not too steep or critical and on an open face.


As for all moves do it when you’re fresh in your first hour of sailing after getting a couple of rides under your belt to warm up. Have a session on it of 30 minutes and no more.


This is another trigger move that will boost your confidence and style. It will improve your hand movement and positioning in wave riding and therefore your ability to keep speed and make sweet turns. The one-handed top turn will also put more style into your sailing.


As you’re going up for your top turn it is a dropping of the front hand as you drive through the wave to redirect.


Just drop the front hand dude. (OK, I’ll be a bit more technical and cover it in the sequence later.) I teach beginners and all sailors to sail one-handed in light winds to understand where the power in the sail comes from and to pull down on the boom while keeping the back leg bent in order to maintain their sailing line. You can be training to be a better wavesailor from your first day of sailing by seeking challenges and receiving good coaching.

Click here to read Jem’s Wannabe 242 article in full…


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