Waterstarting is a real game changer in terms of what it can do for your windsurfing. It opens up so many avenues for sailing in stronger winds, using smaller boards and coping with rougher water. It’s much kinder on the body and less technical than uphauling and pretty much every windsurfer will tell you that it was the catalyst to obtaining greater confidence and really moving on in the sport.
What are you waiting for? Well hopefully nothing. You really shouldn’t put if off, waterstarting has very little to do with your windsurfing ability. It’s a very mechanical move and is taught very successfully to virtual beginners – if you can beachstart, you’re at a level where you should and can learn to waterstart. So don’t wait until you’re blasting in the straps or harnessing perfectly, get waterstarting as soon as possible. It will take perseverance, energy, missing out on some ‘sailing’ time and few gulps of water, but it’s truly worth it.
Here’s the Boards technique from Simon Bornhoft on how to perfect this vital skill:
• In strong winds line your waterstarts up 5-10 degrees upwind of a beach reach.
• In lighter winds line your waterstarts up 5-10 degrees downwind of a beam reach.
• When arranging gear, swim the nose of the board into wind, then sort the rig.
• Aim to position the mast at 90 degrees to the wind, before trying to fly the rig.
• Learn the ‘Waterstart Gybe’, to make rig recovery much quicker (see below).
• Practice in shallow water, taking your feet off the bottom – no cheating!
• Initially use a buoyancy aid, it makes practicing flying the rig much less energy sapping.
We’ll break the main waterstart down into component parts.
1. Rig Elevation – Getting the dam rig out of the water!
3. Rig Twisting – The art of controlling and creating lift from the rig.
4. Nose Over Toes – Coming up smoothly on to the board and sailing away.