Learning the basic tack when on a beginner windsurfing lesson

All of our windsurf pupils  learn the basic fast tack once they’ve understood the fundamentals of steering.

When you first learn to sail you will be shown what is called the Static Turn.  This is where you put both hands back to the mast, then swing the sail round the back of the board.   Whilst it will get you turning around and sailing the other way, it is a very inefficient method of turning that is not very stable, when the wind picks up and water gets choppy.

So what tack do we prefer to teach

The idea of tacking is to turn the board round and sail back whilst not losing ground downwind.  As I said before, the basic static turn, sees you coming to a total halt before initiating the turn.  You end up in quite a vulnerable position as you take small steps around the mast, when the board is turning.

Now compare this to a basic Fast Tack and you will find you’re quicker, more stable and gaining more skills that feed into more moves.

The basic principle when you sail the FAST TACK is you’re not going back to the mast. You continue sailing, whilst throwing the right back and extending the arms back, whilst leaning forwards onto your front leg.   As the board comes to a halt because it has gone through the eye of the wind, you then hop onto the new side of the board, switch hand and sail away.

Most people who come for windsurfing lessons will be able to perform this move within a few hours of joining an introduction to windsurfing. It is a lot easier to coach this move as we’re talking you step by step through the turn on the BBTalkin headsets we use.

Watch the video

Step by Step Guide to the Beginner Fast Tack

  1. Whilst sailing across the wind, lean the rig back. Think of pushing your hands behind your shoulders, towards the back of the board.  The further back you drive the rig, the faster you will sail and turn into the wind. It helps to slide your back hand up the boom towards your front hand so you can lean the rig more easily. As you’re leaning the rig back, drive your head and shoulders forwards, which will put weight more over your front leg whilst straightening your back leg.
  2. The board will carry round into the wind. As the board starts to slow, move your front foot around the mast base to the other side of the board.
  3. When the board has nearly stopped, take your back hand and pass it around the mast and put your hand onto the boom on the new side.
  4. Let go of the old front hand and now step around to the new side.
  5. With the sail leant back so far, you should find you have plenty of room to move around.
  6. You’re now ready to sail away


We’ll help you to improve your tacking technique in windsurfing with our beginner’s guide. Learn step-by-step instructions, safety tips, and expert advice to master your first windsurfing lesson. Our sessions are perfect for those new to the sport, this guide will help you navigate the basics and start your windsurfing journey with confidence.


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