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Windsurfing Fact & e-Learning Plan Your Windsurfing Destination Get your Passport to Windsurfing
Get to surfing with wind. Sounds Impressive. Here is your e-Learning course. Want to get some background of what is windsurfing is all about? Look no further, you'll find all the facts right here. Let browse the lesson step by step to give you a better view and understand of the sport. In Malaysia, we offer a great opportunity for sailors to surf in east & west coast of peninsular. However it attract a lot of sailors from local and international to catch the wind and gather once a year to compete and improve their skills in windsurfing. Especially the Monsoon Madness held once a year in Cherating on January. This is a brief of introduction of Wind-surfing courses. It provides you a preparation before go into the actual course. Hope you'll find something useful in this course.
  Why Windsurfing   Peninsular Malaysia   Beginner Windsurf Courses
  Do you need to be strong   East Malaysia   Advance Windsurf Courses
  What kind of Windsurfboard   Thailand  
  What other equipment do I need    
  Elemental Protection    
  How to Surf Right    
  Wind direction and sailing    
  The Tide Guide    
  When do you use the harness    



Whether you're into racing, radical wave sailing or just gently pottering about on your local lake, windsurfing is all about fun. There's nothing like skimming across the water at 30mph to give you an adrenaline rush! But it's not all about speed. With your feet mere inches from the water's surface, face speckled with spray, every muscle and sinew working in unison with the board and rig, it's just you and the elements and your kit; no phones, no fax machines, and no appointments except for the next tack or gybe. Sheer joy, and sailing in its purest, rawest form. It's a great stress reliever and a sport that ANYONE can do and enjoy, no matter what their age or level of fitness. It's also a very friendly sport, and no one cares how good you are, although the theory is that if you don't end up in the water you're not trying hard enough!

One of the main attractions of windsurfing is its enormous diversity and the challenges it offers to all levels of sailor. Whether you're 8 years old or 80, taking your first precarious steps on a beginner's board or preparing to initiate yourself into the high speed thrills of performance short? boarding, the sense of achievement is unsurpassed.



While committed fanatics aspire to the high speed wave-slashing aerial antics of the experts, you don't need the athletic prowess of a decathlete or the body of a Greek god to enjoy windsurfing. Technique plays a greater part than strength, and it's a well known fact that women and children make better pupils than men. It is only at top level that strength becomes a deciding factor. High technology equipment also plays a large part in making life easier for the beginner. Today's boards and rigs are much lighter and more efficient than their forebears. Beginner boards now weigh as little as 12kg, and you no longer require a course of steroids to haul them down to the water. Sails are available in all shapes and sizes from two to ten square metres, and it's simply a question of selecting the size that suits you and the prevailing conditions. We've met all sorts while windsurfing, including someone who had just had a hip replacement and another who had recently undergone a triple bypass!



This will depend on whether you're going to splash out on a brand new board, or intend to save a few quid and opt for an older second-hand model. There are a few things you need to know before you decide what's right for your needs.

Not so long ago boards were categorised primarily by length, and grouped into classes. 'Long boards' of 340 - 380cm with daggerboards and volumes of 170 - 240 litres were generally either course racing or beginner boards. Next came 'mid-length boards' of 310 - 340cm, which were usually referred to as 'funboards'. These also had daggerboards to offer the wobbling intermediate a bit more stability and upwind performance, and were often used as a stepping stone to the windsurfing holy grail of 'short boards'. They were around 260 - 295cm long, 85 - 110 litres in volume and required waterstarting skills to enjoy. Below this came wave boards, which could be anything from super radical 240cm, 60 litre asymmetrics to floatier but still 'sinky' 260cm, 80 litre models. Definitely for experts only.

The beginner's learning curve was thus broken into distinct stages, with each stage involving the purchase of a different board. First, you bought a big, floaty long board to learn the basics of light wind sailing. When your skills had improved enough you'd buy a smaller 'intermediate' board which still had a dagger board and was uphaulable, but could handle much stronger winds and planing speeds. Then, as soon as you had mastered waterstarting and honed your gybing skills, you'd go for a short board for ultimate high speed, strong wind fun.

Today, with the recent developments in design and technology, this has changed out of all recognition. The new 'widestyle' boards offer hitherto unheard of levels of stability and user-friendliness for their length, but are still much more responsive and manoeuvrable than their longer counterparts. A well-chosen widestyle board will see you through the learning stages and way beyond, allowing you to learn the full range of windsurfing skills without having to shell out on a new board when you feel confident enough to try sailing in stronger winds.

Although you'll still see manufacturers quote a board's length in adverts, the concept of categorising boards purely by length is now completely out of the window, and can no longer be used as a criterion when choosing a board. Often, in a magazine test the most stable, highest volume board is also the shortest!

Sounds confusing? It needn't be. Just remember that, when you're starting out, as far as new boards go it's the volume and width that are the important factors, not the length.

Volume is also the most important consideration if you decide to buy an older beginner's board. This can't be emphasised enough, for it determines the board's buoyancy, weight carrying ability, and stability. When choosing your first board, it's vital that you establish not only the manufacturer's quoted volume, but the amount of Reserve Volume, which is the amount of volume remaining after the weight of the board, rig and sailor (Total Weight) is deducted from the board's volume. The RYA recommend that beginners should choose a board with a minimum 50% Reserve Volume over the Total Weight, and it's easy to work out yourself, e.g.:

Weight of Rig & Board & Clothing in kg + Your body weight (in kg) x 2 = Volume of board in litres
(typically around 30kg)


So a sailor of 75kg would need a board with a volume of around 180 litres

A board with this kind of volume would traditionally be around 370cm (a "long" board) with a retractable dagger board for extra stability and upwind performance. As intimated above, its modern equivalent would possess the same amount of volume, but be considerably shorter at around 320 - 330cm. For example, the HiFly Revo used by many teaching schools packs an amazing 240 litres of volume into just 335cm, creating a much wider and more stable platform for learning. Also, because it is short it's still very easy and responsive to turn. As we said, windsurfing has never been so easy to learn!

Weighty matters

The weight of the sailor makes a great deal of difference to correct board choice. Lighter folk (65kg and below) will be better off with less volume in their board, otherwise they will find it unresponsive, and more difficult to control as the wind gets up. (This is particularly important for youngsters.) Conversely, the heavyweight sailor (in windsurfing, 'heavyweight' is usually taken to mean over 75kg) should be looking for even more volume in their board. More volume = more flotation and more stability.

What sail types suit for beginner?

There's a bewildering choice of designs on the market, and some of the specialist models can leave your wallet looking decidedly battered, but for the beginner perfectly adequate sails can be found among the cheaper 'recreational' ranges with no need to go to the expensive type of sail until you reach the level of expertise that demands Porsche style excellence and prices!

The simplest kind of sail (often favoured by windsurfing schools) has no fibreglass battens to support it. Consequently it is light for learning, but soon loses its shape and becomes unstable when the wind picks up. A sail with battens is more powerful and stable - full length battens are used to support extra area in the bottom (foot) and side (roach), and if there are five or more can transform the sail into something that performs like a solid wing. Most of these sails with full-length battens are called 'rotationals' because the luff tube rotates around the mast, allowing the sail to set on the leeward side where it is aerodynamically more efficient.

The best sails to learn with are probably 'soft' sails which have a full-length batten supporting the top and bottom, with shorter leech battens in between. They tend to be lighter and more manoeuvrable than fully battened rotational sails, and are thus easily handled if it's not too windy.



When buying a second-hand package you will often get an entire board. Apart from the sail, the components of a "rig" include a mast, a mast-foot, uphaul rope, sail and boom.


The mast fits inside the luff tube of the sail. Standard length masts are 465cm, and the most popular are made of a composite mix of glass fibre and carbon. There are masts on the market which feature large amounts of carbon, but these are aimed at the high performance sector, are extremely expensive and not really suitable for beginners.

Mast Base

This fits in the bottom of the mast, and is connected to a rubber or mechanical universal joint (UJ) which connects to the board's mast track. The UJ allows a rig to be inclined at any angle, and it is this device that endows a windsurfer with the unique ability to steer by manoeuvring the rig. The mast base may also include an adjustable mast extension, or one can be added if the mast proves to be too short for the sail.


The boom is made up of two wishbone shaped aluminium tubes with moulded plastic end fittings. The front end fitting clamps to the mast at around chest/shoulder height, and the sail is then attached to the boom's rear end with a length of rope, or 'outhaul' line, which can be adjusted as necessary to alter the trim of the sail. All booms today are adjustable in length so that they can be used with different sized sails. If you're buying second-hand, avoid the older style booms that you have to tie on to the mast. Always go for a clamp boom - you owe it to yourself!


So you've got your rig, now what? Rigging to perfection is an art in itself! You may want to seek advice of your dealer or other friendly windsurfer to begin with as rigging does vary depending on your equipment. However, here's our simple step-by-step guide!

1) Unroll your sail onto a soft surface and slip in the mast. Apply a little downhaul (see picture above)

2) Attach the boom at about shoulder height (as you progress you will find the boom height that suits you)

3) Thread the cord at the outer end of the boom onto the sail, tension the outhaul and tie off the cord

4) Fully tension the downhaul; you can never apply too much downhaul! This should remove all horizontal     creases in your sail

5) Tension the battens

6) And you're ready to go!



Wetsuit, sailing without a wetsuit can be dangerous. Wind chill combined with repeated immersion in the water can rapidly lower body temperature, which in extreme cases can lead to hypothermia. It's important to choose the right suit for the season. For summer use, you can get away with a relatively thin neoprene suit, but for colder weather a thicker winter suit is essential. Whatever the season, the best wetsuit to buy is a one piece 'steamer' rather than an old fashioned long john and bolero jacket. 'Steamers' are so called because they feature a watertight 'blind stitch', and are consequently the most expensive. Suits that have an 'overlock stitch' are cheaper, but will let small amounts of water flush through every time you fall in; useful on very hot days to help keep you cool, but not so good for colder weather.

The most important factor is the fit, so be sure to try on a good selection before you buy. Make sure the suit isn't too tight or too loose, especially at the neck, wrist and ankle seals. If it's too tight it can cause muscle cramps; too loose and it will let too much water in and you'll lose heat.

Buoyancy Aid
Although a wetsuit will provide you with extra flotation, in the early days of learning buoyancy aid does wonders for your confidence as well as providing an element of safety. On some inland waters you're not allowed to sail without one.

Boots and Gloves
Unless you're lucky enough to sail from a sandy beach, a pair of rubber soled neoprene boots or rubber surf slippers are essential to protect those tootsies.

Gloves aren't necessary unless you plan to sail in very cold weather, and even then many sailors find that they make gripping the boom hard and tiring work for the forearm muscles. If you do intend to continue sailing into the autumn/winter months though, we recommend that you go for a glove that is thin and flexible yet still warm, or try an open palm glove, which features a cut-out section in the palm to maximise grip, but still offers protection for the fingers and back of the hands.

Harnesses and Harness Lines
The windsurfing harness has a hook positioned about waist height that lets you hang from a line attached on either side of the boom. It offers tremendous advantages for more experienced windsurfers, since it allows you to take the strain of holding onto the sail in stronger winds with your whole body, not just your arms.

However, the harness is not necessary for beginners. It's pointless using one in light winds, and you shouldn't attempt to sail with one until you've learnt to handle a board confidently in moderate and fairly strong winds. When that time comes there are a variety of styles available - chest, waist and seat harnesses, but the seat harness is the most popular, being comfortable and offering a good degree of support for the lower back. There are now models on the market designed specifically for women and children.

Roof Rack and Straps
Windsurfing is very much a portable sport, and there's an unparalleled choice of sailing venues all over the Malaysia to check out, so you're definitely going to need a good quality roof rack and a set of sturdy straps. There are plenty of roof racks on the market, but we'd suggest that you avoid the cheaper brands as they're not really designed to cope with the loads imposed by a roof full of boards travelling at 70mph.

The racks on a car roof must be positioned as far apart as possible. The board is best placed deck down with the nose pointing to the front of the car. A second board can then go on top, and with care four 370cm boards can be carried safely on a small family car. Do make sure that the rack and rack straps are correctly fastened. Every year there are accidents with racks and boards coming off car roofs, so tighten the rack properly and yank those straps down good and hard! Never, ever use bungee cords!

If you don't like the idea of putting wet and sandy kit in your car, there are plenty of purpose-built top boxes on the market. These simply bolt to your existing roof rack and allow you to store your sails and booms inside with the boards on top, offering both security and safety.


You've got the kit, your all rigged up, Right, lets get going !

This section focuses on getting out on the water for the first time and covers the skills that are fundamental to becoming a competent windsurfer.

Getting ready to set sail!

The board should be carried to the water first, hold it with your fingers in the daggerboard case and carry it so that it is parallel with the wind direction. The sail is best carried either lightly resting on your head or straight out in front of you with one hand on the mast and one hand on the boom. Beware when carrying the sail on your head or you can end up stretching the sail. Point the clew (the back end of the sail attached to the boom) in the direction of the wind (downwind) and lift the rig by the mast and boom so that the wind gets underneath the sail, that way the wind will do all the carrying for you. Never carry the sail to the shore first as by the time you've got your board your sail may well have blown away! You can also carry both board and sail to the water together if you feel strong enough (and have foot straps fitted), just make sure that they are downwind when you pick them up. Stand in between board and sail; hold the mast with one hand and one of the foot straps with the other.

Right lets get going!

Check out the wind direction, as a beginner never sail in an off-shore wind on the sea or large lake if you have no idea of windsurfing techniques, a gentle wind on the shore will be twice that out at sea and unless there's a rescue boat around you may well find yourself washed up on the beach of the nearest continent (that's if you're lucky)! If you are planning to sail on the sea always check out the tides (refer to the Tides section of this guide) and speak to locals if unsure. It is amazing how far out you can be blown without realising in an offshore wind. If however the wind is on-shore, cross-shore or somewhere in between attach the sail and board together.

A suitable guide to wind strength for a beginner is a Force 2-3 on the Beaufort scale. If it is blowing a force 2 you will see small short wavelets, crests have a glassy appearance and do not break. A force 3, (still a light breeze), and you will see large wavelets, crests begin to break. There may be scattered white horses. Frequent White Horses indicate a force 4 and this would not be a suitable wind condition for a beginner trying to learn.


Once past knee-deep water push the daggerboard down and back to it's vertical position and stand so that board & rig are downwind (the wind is behind you and the rig). Make sure the rig is downwind of the board, stand the opposite side of the board to the rig and push yourself up onto the board and onto your knees, position your hands either side of the mast, take the opportunity to move around a bit on the board to get used to the feel of the board underneath you. When you are ready stand up begin uphauling by bending down and reaching for the uphaul rope, be sure to bend your knees and keep your back vertical to the board, DO NOT bend your back or you will be setting yourself up for back problems in the future.

Using your leg muscles (by slowly straightening your legs) and weight (by leaning back slightly) pull the sail partially out of the water. As the sail starts to come out of the water uphauling becomes easier and you should then work up the rope hand over hand until you reach the mast. Grab the mast with both hands just below the boom this is the "secure position" where the outer edge of the sail is just in the water.

Should you find that the rig is upwind (closest to the oncoming wind) at this point raise the sail above the water and let the wind get under the sail to swing the board round, make slow steady movements or the rig will take you with it as it swings round.

It is worth noting here a "good practice" for falling in the water, if you are prepared for a fall put your arms above your head as you fall, this will prevent you from surfacing from the water only to get knocked on the head by your mast!

Once you have reached the secure position try leaning the sail towards the back and front of the board (whilst holding it over the centre of the board) and turning the board under your feet to experiment with the way the board moves, you will find that leaning the rig towards the back of the board makes the board turn into the wind and via versa. Keeping the rig over the centre is a matter of balance that will be second nature after a few sessions on the water.

Aim and go!

First find a point to aim for on the water, (preferably a buoy rather than somebody's million pound yacht) that is ahead of you and at right angles to the direction of the wind. Release the mast with your back hand and move your back foot a little towards the back of the board keeping it over the centre line. Move the front foot back so that your toes are almost in line with the mast and point it towards the front of the board, to provide balance.


Foot Positioning

Turn your body to face the direction in which you want to go then pull the rig towards the board until it is at right angles to the board. Place your back hand on the boom and pull the rig in so that the sail fills with wind, transfer your weight onto your back foot whilst doing so. Finally move your front hand onto the boom - the sailing position! Aim to sail at right angles to the wind towards your goal. This is called sailing on a reach or a beam reach.

Beware! a common mistake of beginners is to grab the boom too quickly!


The position you adopt on the board is vital to stability and speed, the head should be up (looking where you are going!), the arms slightly bent (shoulder width apart) and the shoulders parallel to the boom. Your back should be straight and the bottom tucked in (many beginners adopt a going to the loo stance which should be avoided at all costs)!!! The front leg should be straight and the back slightly bent to control the power, feet should be shoulder width apart.


Windsurfing is about balancing forces, steering makes use of this. When steering you have to take into account the centre of lateral resistance (CLR), which you can imagine as a vertical line going straight up from the daggerboard.

A) When the rig's force is balanced over the CLR the board travels in a straight line.

B) Moving the rig backwards means that the front turns upwind.

C) If the rig is leant forwards the power of the sail will be forward of the CLR and push the front of the board away from the wind.

           Turning Into The Wind                             Turning Away From The Wind
How do I change speed or stop?

The power of the sail is controlled by the back hand, pushing this hand out and the clew away from you reduces the power in the sail as less wind is trapped in the sail. Sheeting in (pulling your back hand in and the clew towards the board) gains you maximum power in the sail. As wind increases you can use your body to counterbalance this power by leaning out. To stop release your back hand and grab the mast with both hands, returning to the secure position. If you need to stop very quickly you can lay the rig on the water, however you will then have to uphaul to get going again.



There are different terms used for sailing against, across and with the wind, as illustrated below:

Sailing as close as possible to the wind is known as sailing close hauled, if you find that your sail starts to flap when you are trying to sail close hauled you will have entered the no-go zone, lean the rig forwards to bear away from the wind slightly and get yourself back onto a close haul. To sail upwind you must tack, this is explained in more detail below.


Running is a term used to describe sailing when the wind is coming directly from behind and the sail is at right angles to the board. This is the most unstable of techniques and you will need a good sense of balance when sailing on a run! The daggerboard will help with stability but as wind increases the board is liable to tip up, at this point the daggerboard should be retracted.


Sailing directly into the wind is impossible so sailing upwind involves tacking, whereby you must sail as close as possible to the wind then turn and proceed in the opposite direction again as close to the wind as possible.

Turning the front of the board through the wind and no go zone is achieved easily by returning to the secure position and leaning the rig towards the back of the board, this allows you to turn the board straight into the wind and beyond. Once you have turned your board through the wind shuffle around the mastfoot keeping your feet near the centre line. You will now be on the opposite side of the board and can transfer your hands back to the boom, then sail off as before. As your technique improves you will be able to do this in one clean movement keeping the board moving and not needing to get into a secure position at all. And when you get even better you will be able to simply throw the sail round hardly losing any speed at all!


Gybing involves changing course when sailing downwind. Gybing is basically when you are sailing on a reach and you turn the front of the board away from the wind onto a run (when the wind comes directly from behind) and back onto a reach while the sail crosses the front of the board. To perform a gybe lean the rig forwards towards the front of the board, keeping the sail filled, and steer the board away from the wind. To begin with you will find it easiest to shuffle round the sail holding the mast as in tacking. As you get better you can use the rig to propel you round and your weight to steer the board.


Practice practice practice! If you practice tacking, gybing, running and steering regularly they will become second nature to you, practice going in and out of shore and getting to and from a particular target. Yes it is fun to go fast but not if you can't get back to the shore or turn properly when you need to, you'd be surprised how many good windsurfers there are out there who still can't master turns properly.


When you are nearing any other vessel on the water the one with the wind coming from the starboard has right of way. As a simple rule if your right hand is nearest the mast on the boom you have right of way and if your left hand is nearest get out of the way!! Generally though you should give way to vessels or people that are less manoeuvrable, i.e. swimmers, canoeists etc.


The Tide Guide

Sailing at Sea

Sailing on the sea is great fun. This section aims to provide you with some knowledge on tides.

One of the best ways of learning about tides is to speak to locals and fellow windsurfers who sail on the particular stretch of sea that you are planning to sail on. Titan recommends that you NEVER sail alone or go too far out to sea. Unlike inland lakes where there is normally a safety boat to rescue you, on the sea you are basically alone, and the sea is a big, big, vast area ! Where possible stick to enclosed bays and harbours to begin, again the WaterTrader team does not recommend sailing in an offshore wind unless you are a hardcore mad-man!

What should I check for when sailing at sea?

1) The Weather

OK this may seem an obvious thing to check but some people may turn up at the coast, and if its windy start setting up their kit. Sound familiar? Always check a weather report before going out on the sea, there are some excellent weather sites, i.e. http://www.oocities.org/titandiveteam which will provide you with information on wind strengths and risk of storms. If storms are forecast leave the kit at home ! Storms bring with them extreme variations in weather, plus there's the added risk of being struck by lightening.

2) Sharks! and other dangerous sea-living creatures.

It is always wise to check out the local wildlife ! You want to know whether there are any good pubs to go after a hard days windsurfing don't you?

No, not that kind of wildlife! Find out whether the area is known for sharks, Portuguese Man-O-War, needlefish, jellyfish or any other health threatening creatures. A simple sting can impede your windsurfing and prevent you from getting back to shore safely. Always wear a full body wetsuit if there are any dangers as this will lower the chance of your skin coming into contact with stings and the like (although needlefish have been known to go right through wetsuits with their long needle-like noses). You should always make yourself aware of "self-rescue" techniques, so that should you ever get into trouble you can get home without having to windsurf. (Also useful if your rig breaks out at sea)

3) Tide times

Normally there are two low and two high tides a day. There are various reasons why you need to know the times of high and low tides. For Malaysia you can check the tide via this government website - http://www.kjc.gov.my

Firstly if you set sail in a high tide and return in a low tide on long beaches with gentle gradients you may have a long walk back to where you started from. This is the best case scenario.

Secondly if you set sail in a low tide and return in a high tide, if the beach has a steep gradient you may sail back in only to end up where large waves are breaking. Not a good scenario for your rig and more importantly you, especially where there are underlying currents that you are not aware of. At some locations there may even be a sea wall. Again you may sail back in after a hard days windsurfing only to find yourself where large waves are breaking against the sea wall, and you will no doubt end up wherever the waves are going, well you can figure this scenario out for yourself…

4) Tidal Streams

Tidal streams normally flow parallel with the coast, changing direction as the tide changes. The tidal stream does however tend to follow deep water channels, some of which lead straight out to sea. When sailing in estuary's you should be wary of tidal streams when the tide is going out as there is a risk of being taken straight out to sea. From high tide to low tide takes 6 hours, the tidal stream flows fastest between hours 3 and 4 and you should at least be aware of this.

Other advice on sea sailing

Always wear a good pair of rubber soled windsurfing boots, when the sea is particularly murky it hides a multitude of dangers, broken bottles, coral reefs, sharp rocks etc.

This guide to tides is just a brief overview to make you aware of dangers at sea, it should not be taken as an exclusive guide to windsurfing at sea, you cannot glean a better knowledge than by speaking to locals and gaining experience yourself.



The harness is used when sailing upwind, always unhook when tacking and gybing! Unless experienced it is not a good idea to use it when the wind is very gusty unless you like being catapulted into the water at fast speeds, although that can be fun…..

Improving Techniques - The Harness and Beach Starting

OK you've mastered the basics, it's time for some more advanced techniques. Read on for techniques on how to look like a cool windsurfer !

Want to look like a pro?

Then practice the beach start…

This technique enables you to walk into the water, hop on your board and sail away! Sounds easy? Looks easy? It is with a bit of practice! Anyway here's how to do it…..

You will need to start knee deep in the water with your board and rig (make sure the daggerboard is retracted). Stand windward (the side of the board nearest the wind) of your board and rig, with the board at right angles to the wind. Hold the rig above your head, slightly upwind. Steering at this point is done via Mast Foot Pressure - hold the mast above the boom with your windward hand and hold the boom near the middle with your other hand. Pushing down on the mast will make the board turn away from the wind whereas pulling up on the mast will do the opposite, it's worth practising this to get you used to moving the board using Mast Foot Pressure alone.

When trying the beach start for the first time a cross shore wind is ideal, position your board on a beam reach and move towards the back of it (do not try pulling the board towards you at this point or you'll be at the beach for the rest of the day!) You should start the beach start standing near the back end of your board; upwind of the board & rig.

Transfer your front hand onto the boom whilst lifting your back foot onto the centre of your board (in between the front and back footstraps). Keep your back leg slightly bent and use your foot to keep pressure on the board to stop it heading into the wind as it no doubt will…

Providing that the board is still across the wind you can now raise the rig and sail off in style!

Actually raising the rig can often be the hardest part of the beach start but all you need to do is push the rig away from you and by straightening your arms you will increase the power in the sail. You can then push down slightly on your back foot and allow the wind in the sail to bring your centre of gravity over the board. Lift your front foot onto the board just behind the mast track, lean forwards, keeping low and off you go!

Troubleshoot: If you find yourself flat on your back in the water this is most likely to be caused by pulling on the boom whilst getting your front foot on the board, don't do this, let the wind do the work and lift you onto the board.

Want to go really fast?

Then use a harness…

A harness may seem a scary prospect to some but they really are the only way forward! To progress and be able to endure a days windsurfing they are essential. Modern harnesses are easy to hook into and also to hook out of, and virtually impossible to get stuck in!

Harnesses tend to fit around the chest, waist or seat. The seat harness is by far the most comfortable and enables you to use all of your body weight to balance the force in the rig. However as a beginner a chest harness may be the best option for you if you are particularly nervous about hooking in and out as they are the easiest to hook in and out of, they also restrict your movement less.

Harness lines:

Harness lines normally attach to the boom with velcro and vary in length. As a beginner when hooked into your harness, you should find that your arms are nearly straight. If not adjust them accordingly.

Harness lines must be positioned at the balance point of the rig to prevent one arm taking more strain than the other. To correctly position your lines the following steps should be taken:

1. Stand your rig out of the wind and support the mast foot with your foot. Hold the rig with your hands     shoulder-width apart.

2. Now slide your hands together until you find the point where the rig is most balanced. Mark this point.

3. Lay the rig down and attach the lines either side of the balance point, shoulder width apart, on both sides of     the rig.

When out on the water if you find your front arm is taking more strain move the harness line nearer the mast. If your back arm is the aching one move the lines further back.

Long harness lines should be used initially due to the ease of hooking in and out, as you progress and feel the need for speed(!) look at getting shorter lines, or if buying brand new buy adjustable lines so that you can discover what length suits you best. Modern rigid harness lines are excellent, they have a plastic coating and are very easy to hook in and out of.

Fitting your harness:

Harnesses come in various sizes and forms. A well fitting harness should most of all feel comfortable, with no looseness and at the same time not so tight that it rubs, for example on the hips. Leg straps should be tightened first and then the spreader bar, any looseness will make hooking in and out harder.

Hooking in and unhooking

This is best initially practised on land, especially if you are nervous about using a harness.

Hold the rig up (out of the wind) with your hands outside the harness line and put your foot against the mast foot.

Pull the boom towards you and move just your hips forwards slightly towards the harness line, bend your knees so that the harness hook goes over the line and traps it, then straighten up. It is important to bring the sail towards your body, do not move your body towards the boom.

To unhook bring the rig towards you and the lines will drop out, this is much easier than hooking in (honest!)

Once you feel confident with hooking in & out get onto the water, and once hooked in lean back and let the harness take your weight.

Using the harness for the first time

When in the harness your movement is restricted somewhat but you can still power and de-power the sail as before, all that is required is more subtle movements.

To increase the power in the sail move the hips to face the rig and use your weight by leaning hips & bottom in and out to cope with gusty winds.

To de-power the sail move the hips to face towards the front of the board.

All movements when in the harness should be slight, if you observe other more experienced windsurfers you will probably not notice their movements at all.

Most importantly when using a harness for the first time RELAX! Tense muscles do not aid windsurfing at all.

When you are not in the harness practise using your fingers just as hooks on the boom, use your weight & hips to balance the wind. Then when you hook in with the harness you can do the same thing without thinking about the harness. Just use your fingers as hooks and loop them loosely over the boom, you should be able to relax enough to allow the harness to take all of your weight and release both hands from the boom briefly.

When you are comfortable with releasing both hands from the boom briefly test that your harness lines are fitted correctly;

Whilst in the harness release both hands from the boom momentarily, if the harness lines are fitted correctly the rig will be balanced.


  Updated on 1 February 2003. 22:40 ver 3.0 Titan Dive Team  
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