Windsurfing isn't all about the planing side of our sport, but getting planing, especially for the first time, is an unforgettable experience for every windsurfer.
Marco Wedele of WindSurf Coaching joins Boards to talk you step by step through the planing process.
[part title="Perfect Your Lightwind Stance"][splitpost intro="true"]
Here we start with light wind stance, as you need to have this perfected before you can look at going faster and getting into those footstraps!
Now there might be alot of things we forget about in life, but getting planing for the first time on a windsurfer is certainly not one of them! I am sure everbody who has already experienced it agrees with me and if you're about to get planing for the first time in your windsurfing life - get excited! Even if you are out of control, it's all part of the game!
Getting planing is a feeling that can not really be described, but one thing is for sure, you won't be able to get enough of it and any doubt about whether or not windsurfing is the right sport for you will disappear.
Get comfy in light winds first.
Sailing in lightwinds gives you the time to get in a comfortable position and getting more confident.
Make sure your head is up and you look into the direction you want to go. As in most things, everything follows the head. By looking far ahead of you, you will automaticly get alot more stable and you will be able to see and react to gusts and lulls!
Your hands should be about shoulder width apart and fairly straight, the front hand should be placed near the front harness line and your ellbows pointing down slightly, so you are building some space between you and the rig to get the right balance!
Make love not war with the sail. A big tip is to have your thumbs up, that will stop you instantly from griping the boom too hard!
Your legs should be a bit more then shoulder width apart and centered over the board, front foot should be straight, toes pointing forwards and your backfoot slighlty bend!
It's important not to be too stiff on the board, so putting on a nice smile or singing away your favourite song should help you relax and make you a bit more loose!
A lot of the power in the sail gets controlled through the front, not as many think through the back hand!
If you pull in with the front arm you will sheet out the sail and therefor taking power out. If you straighten it you will power up the sail!
Once you are fairly comfortable in light winds, and you are able to steer your board up and downwind there is nothing that should stop you from going out in stronger winds and getting your board on the plane.
[part title="Upwind First"]
Go upwind before you get planing...
When you are out in stronger winds the first thing you should always do when you head out or after a beach, waterstart or even uphauling is to head upwind!
Don't try to get planing straight away, always head upwind first.
If you want to get planing in control it's important not to shoot off downwind straight away, as you are then very likley lose control, especially when it's very windy.
Head upwind by looking at a goal point that is far away and upwind.
Here you have the least power in the sail and it will therefore give you time to prepare to get planing. Finding the right gust to get you planing is important, when you are upwind you are in charge of your kit - you can decide when to go for it; if you head downwind then your kit will decide and take charge very quickly!
You will have to go downwind to get planing eventually, but certainly it be a lot more controlled from clause hauled to a beam reach, rather then from a beam reach to a broad reach!
[part title="Drop and Push"]
Drop and Push - Now you've prepared and done all the hard work, it's time to get planing!
Once you have found a nice gust and are ready to go, you have to drop your body and push the board off the wind...
Move your feet back slighlty and also widen your stance, this will alow you to drop lower, keep your arms extended and drop your body by bending the back leg more. Also, try to drop your head between your shoulders.
It is the front foot that pushes the board off the wind, so the lower you go and the more you can hang off the sail and the harder you will be able to push through your straight front leg.
Make sure when you drop your body that your weight is not going on through back foot, because then you will not able to push through the front foot! This will then stall the board and bring it back up into wind.
You should feel instant acceleration of the board in this position, if nothing happens then the gust might have not been strong enough, so come up into your comfortable position and start the whole process again.
Top tip - When you're trying to get planing I recommend to use slightly bigger sail, as it will make it alot easier to get up to speed as you have more power. I'm not saying when it's 4.0 weather use a 6.0... but maybe a 4.5!
Enjoy and dont feel a shamed to scream when you finally get planing- everyone has done it!!