It is perhaps fitting that I have chosen to combine these two weeks in the blog because it highlights a key difference I think there is between learning to sail and learning to windsurf. When I spent a winter season in Austria, my ski instructor, who was also a snowboard instructor, said the learning curves for the two snow sports were very different. To paraphrase, when skiing you become good quite quickly but it’s harder to perfect whereas with snowboarding the learning curve is more consistent so it’s harder to begin with but if you put the hours in you’ll improve. In short, skiing is sailing and snowboarding is windsurfing.
Under the tutelage of Star Wars Pete and new boy Tommy, the Leapers improved hugely over these two weeks. We got to try more intermediate sails and boards. Whilst we certainly didn’t go Ferrari, we moved away from the Ford Fiesta to more VW Golf type kit. My favourite sail was a 5.4 Severne. It was light, and very responsive and most importantly big enough to propel my ample frame across the water.
Over these two weeks, we looked at improving our general windsurfing using the Fast-forward formula (Vision, Trim, Balance, Power, Stance) Being the comic genius and social justice warrior that I am, my mnemonic to remember it was Voting Tory Brings Permanent Sadness. Using the Fast-forward formula, we worked on our upwind windsurfing, downwind windsurfing, tacking and gybing.
Running alongside the windsurf syllabus, we also had clinics. The two skills we needed were the non-planing carve gybe and beach starting. The non-planing carve gybe involves carving meaning using the rails on the board to assist the efficiency of the turn. As the name suggests you are not planing whilst doing this gybe. The Beach start is to start windsurfing straight away from being up to about knee deep in the water. Looks cool…Windsurfing is very much about looking cool.
During theory and general knowledge sessions, we were introduced to different windsurf disciplines and the kit that goes with them. We were also introduced Windsurf legend Sam Ross and his instructional videos. He’s a big cheese for Windsurfing with the RYA and Star Wars Pete and Matt, have pictures on him on their bedside tables.
I’m not that bad at windsurfing which is cool. I was elated to get onto a bigger sail which would get me moving along nicely. Star Wars Pete complimented me on my balance, which is pretty good considering my board spends most of its time submerged. It’s all about practise for me and I’m happy to do this. Couldn’t wait over the weekend and went out with Herr Sam Wyse and the prodigal son Peter for a cheeky windsurf.
I need to work on improving my stance and as sumptuous as it is not stick my bottom out. It’s getting there but it’s so key. I am also working on keeping my board less submerged by moving further back down the board. I tried a smaller board this week but unfortunately, I lost my balance and in true me fashion broke something. Not me but a sail, I managed put my foot through it. Sorry Rockley. Luckily it was an old-ish one.
Highlight of the week:
Almost getting planing whilst using a 6.3 sail. Very gnarly. Big splash when I fell off. Hopefully mastering a harnessing will help get me planing consistently.