Now you’re getting to grips with the harness, it’s also a great time to look at getting into the footstraps; Simon Bornhoft continues his Basics technique series, catch up with previous instalments by clicking here.
Being secure in the straps is wonderful feeling and the basis of stronger wind windsurfing. At first it can be a pulse racing experience to actually get your feet in them. Problems are rarely due to the movement of the feet it’s almost always down to not maintaining a counterbalance. Hence our prime mantra when going for the straps – Body moves one way, the rig moves the other. When you combine this with weight in the harness you’ll be able to move your feet more freely.
Vision Look forward, not down at the straps!
Trim Place the feet close to each strap before trying to get into them.
Stance Form a strong 7-shaped stance, with weight in the harness before and after going for each strap.
If you’re new to straps use the ‘inboard’ settings.
Once mastered, move the straps to the more outboard settings.
On narrow boards, use a single back strap. On wider boards, use a double back strap.
FRONT STRAP TECHNIQUE
Rig Forward & Body Back
Sail across the wind in controllable conditions or slightly upwind in more challenging winds.
Sit back and over a bent back leg to un-weight the front foot. As you do so, extend the front arm to keep the rig forward.
Simultaneously slip the foot into the strap. Once in the front strap, ‘lock out’ adopting a 7 shape stance.
Don’t go for the back strap yet, just sail.
Rig Back & Body Forward
Getting into the back strap is usually the big stumbling point in marginal or rough conditions, when the back foot seems fixed to the board.
The best way to create that safe and all-important ‘opposing’ environment, is to head UPWIND before going for the back strap.
Through out, it’s vital to weight the harness and pull down on the boom.
Head slightly upwind, by leaning the rig back.
This enables you to then lean the upper body forward un-weight and slip the back foot into the strap.
Once in the strap, put the rig forward re-establish a good 7 shaped stance, steering downwind if you’ve lost speed.
BACK STRAP PROBLEMS
- Excessively pulling on the arms is a harness and footstrap killer.
- Don’t stab at the footstrap slide the foot in smoothly.
- Getting catapulted? This usually means you’re too far downwind when going for the straps.
- Keep heading upwind? You’ve leant back, stood up or pulled the boom too close.
- If you’re going too fast, head upwind slightly by digging the heels, raking the rig back and sinking harder in the harness.
On the water, a lot seems to happen all at once, so weight that harness and follow your mantra.
Look forward and form a decent 7-shaped stance before and after hooking in.
Rig forward and body back when going for the front strap
Rig back and body forward when going for the back strap
We’re going well now, next up how to get some extra blasting control!
Check out the rest of the Basics section for more technique and advice for getting into windsurfing, plus head to the technique section for online coaching across all levels.