Windsurfing is a really big subject when it comes to learning, as the possibilities are pretty infinite and you can spend a lifetime chasing your goals and dreams.
For many of you, once you’ve had some beginner windsurfing lessons, you decide to be a weekend windsurfer, that just wants to sail on a local lake for some relaxation, but don’t let that stop you from progressing.
That said, there will be others amongst you, that get bitten by the bug so hard you dream of sailing around the world in exotic locations and riding giant waves, or going full speed on glassy flat water.
As I said, windsurfing is different for everyone, but ultimately, if you can get on the water, you make it whatever you want.
Getting the basics right
The first thing to do is make sure you have the right foundations in place. Just drifting around and making a wobbly tack isn’t going to help you progress with real purpose.
When we run our beginner windsurf lessons, we start you off with very specific drills and movements, all of which act as stepping stones into more advanced moves. Whilst we are RYA qualified instructors, we also have our own methods that go beyond the very staged learning process that many schools follow.
For total beginner windsurfers you will have been taught to uphaul your sail and go into a secure position, before setting yourself up to sail away, but in many situations, this is time consuming and cumbersome and even unstable depending on the water state and wind. We tend to take our windsurfing students one step further to immediately apply “positive core techniques” which immediately leapfrog your learning curve.
What are Positive Core Techniques?
We refer to your core when describing the power, effort and focus you put onto a movement, so if we said, “Look over your shoulder”, we would expect you to do it with a very definite approach and not just a relaxed nod of the head or roll of the eyes: you need to use your neck muscles, drive the chin and really look at a focal point. What this does is bring your shoulders and hips round, which in turn adds a positive force to the movement and drive into the board and rig.
Even the most basic element of the stance, foot positioning etc will have a huge effect on how an action and move is performed along with how successful the move and outcome is.
For example, if you’re trying to tack as a beginner, the basic stages would have you coming back to a secure position, running the sail perpendicular to the board after which you could begin to swing the clew of the sail towards the back of the board.
The problem with this action is two-fold: if it is a bit breezy, you will find the board may propel forward, whilst trying to turn, especially the bigger school boards. Secondly the way in which you first come to halt, in secure position can be very unstable in anything but super smooth water.
Our goal here is to use Positive Core Techniques, to drive the board through the turn, so we spend as little time as possible in an unstable stance.
By sailing the windsurf board into the turn, then taking less, but larger movements to get round, means you success rate will increase, but more importantly you’re drilling the foundation moves for more advanced tacks on shorter boards, so let’s learn it right from the get go.
Now let’s speed up those basic moves.
Once the muscle memory has been programmed, you should be able to jump into a move and just do the movement without much thought and certainly without delay.
We sail together during the lessons and often do a copy cat game, where we sail a course or get you to follow and copy whatever we do. This forces you to be more dynamic and use those Positive Core Techniques, so you get those moves completed whilst under pressure and against the clock so to speak.
Every move we teach has a set number of movements within it and need you to be dynamic with your actions. If we take those same actions as we progress onto smaller boards, you will find you’ll have much better success going forwards.
Our intermediate windsurfing lessons will drive those new skills home and challenge you to better each movement.
What do you do if you want to improve your windsurfing
Without doubt you need to start off with the right skills and understanding of the basics. This is going to pay dividends as you sail in stronger winds and try new moves.
A professional and experienced windsurf instructor will be able to pick out key things for you to work on, which is where our windsurfing lessons really pay off.