Ready for when it counts

Do you want to get into waves, but don’t always have access to the vital ingredient? Are you struggling to cope with turning tightly with control? Well, we’re here to help. Following on from initial preparation for your wave session (how to prepare for waves part 1), this issue we ramp it up with some full on Windwise Flat Water Wave Riding.  It’s an incredibly rewarding and skill enhancing exercise, teaching your body to move more efficiently and perfecting your counterbalance and rig control. This one exercise contains elements of so many windsurfing moves and it can be transplanted directly into a wave sailing environment. 

Photography: Windwise & Marc Van Swoll

What Is Flat Water Wave Riding? 

This Windwise Skills Training exercise is done ‘out ‘of the harness in the straps. We introduced the basics in the last feature, where we emphasized our ‘Look’, ‘Lean’ (in Warrior) and ‘Lever’ mantra, to move the body into the turn and force the rig the opposite way to counter balance. You need to learn to turn your board completely upwind, then massively downwind (and beyond) forming a hugely exaggerated 300+ degree twisting, snaking run. It’s packed full of Vision, Opposition, Core Touch Points and incorporates our ‘Warrior ethos’. 

WINDWISE WARRIOR = Looking, (chin on or near shoulder) and leaning over a heavily flexed knee. This proliferates throughout the sport whenever we’re steering a board and in the apex of many moves. 

One exercise, many applications! It’s pure progression for those looking for greater control and for everyone looking to get into or enhance their wave sailing and it can all be done on flat water!

Simon Bornhoft

Dyno Freewave Set Up 

If you’ve also got yourself a Dyno, then you couldn’t be better placed to start your adventure into the third dimension. Ranging from 85-125L there’s a Dyno for everyone and they’re the gateway into joyful moves and waves. For this exercise, here’s how to get set up perfectly.

Thrusters & Inboard Straps: Easy getting going, extra manoeuvrability and ease in waves.

Boom & Footstraps: Lowered boom, compared to freeriding and super loose inboard straps. 

How To Flat Water Wave Ride – ‘FWWR’ for all levels!

Core Principles

Vision: Massively exaggerate looking where you want to go – chin on shoulder!

Opposition: Lever the rig/mast pretty much totally in the opposite direction.

Warrior: Exaggerated look and lean over a very heavily flexed knee.

Windwise Touch Points

Shifting your hands is a vital component to success.

Upwind: Hands well forward on the boom. 

Downwind: Hands spread wide, clew hand pulling in close to your head – “Talk to the mic”.

Warrior Upwind Flat Water Wave Riding

The hands are well forward, sometimes the front hand is literally within touching distance of the boom clamp, rear hand is near rear harness line. The rig is raked right back, almost ‘touching’ the rear knee or shin. 

Warrior Upwind: 
Look, chin on or near shoulder and lean ridiculously far forward over a heavily flexed knee, leaning the rig back towards the tail to counter balance.

Warrior Downwind Flat Water Wave Riding

In many situations, we pull the clew hand in and down very close to the head to gain control of the rig. At Windwise, we call it ‘talk to the mic’.  Pulling in and down with the clew hand, enables you to exaggerate the lean into the turn as the mast is forced the opposite way. Get as super twisted or ‘tweaked’ as you can, try to sail virtually back the way you’ve come from.

Vision: Looking downwind, chin near or even on the shoulder.

Warrior: Look and lean over a heavily flexed knee into the turn.

Opposition: Rig is leaned out of the turn to counter balance.

Touch Points: Shift the rear hand well down the boom.

Super Tweaked Warrior Downwind

Click through this sequence to see how far you can take it, look, lean (in warrior) and lever the rig the opposite way. On a wave you’ll have more speed, but practicing and exaggerating it on flat water, is the best preparation possible! Move those hands and use your vision and opposition to control the power. 

The whole concept of FWWR is to steer, upwind, and downwind, massively accentuating the opposition between your body and the mast/rig – moving your hands up and down the boom. This does wonders for your windsurfing flexibility, counter balance, and ability to stay on that board in tricky situations. The amount of times you’ll get caught out on a wave, lose wind, power, and board speed. If you practice this you’ll become incredibly talented and grateful to still be on that board with crashing white water around you. If you have any aspirations to wave sail, become amazing at it, both in non-planing and planing conditions.

Warrior Flat Water Wave Riding Planing

This is the fun part, which can still be done on flat water or rolling swell. First, get your speed up, tuck the feet right into very loose fitting straps, check the coast is clear, unhook and get ready to massively accentuate everything. 

Upwind Warrior

Get carving and massively head upwind first. Unhook, hands forward, lean forwards, dig the heels and carve upwind. This replicates the ‘back-side’ wave riding and climbing to the top of the wave in preparation for your bottom turn. 

Carve Downwind Into Exaggerated Warrior

As the board starts to slow, come up slightly take a deep breath and then drop down into the turn like you really mean it (Keep both feet in straps). Drop super low and carve the board in ‘Warrior’ …. ‘Looking’ and ‘Leaning’ into the turn. The more you carve downwind and round, the more you lean towards the clew and try to keep the ‘microphone’ pulled in and down, levering the rig/mast the opposite way to the body. With practice you’ll learn to keep planing and bring the board round to almost where you’ve just come from. This replicates turning towards the wave ‘front side’ on small to medium size waves.

Cut Back Into Warrior

When changing from the bottom turn (Downwind carve) to turning back upwind again, be ‘wise’ and push the rig ‘downwind’ and away from you to help carve back upwind. Whip the head round, sheet out and shift the hands forward as you rotate the body back upwind. This simulates the ‘cut back’ or ‘top turn’ on a wave. Be mindful to lean massively far forward to keep the board flat.


Don’t ‘foot steer’ or weave like a drunk cyclist, snaking your hips from side to side. This is a committed full body and rig movement OUT of the harness. Throw yourself into ‘Warrior’ upwind and then downwind and beyond, shifting those hands to help counter balance the rig. This teaches you to carve from ‘rail to rail’ with exaggerated rig and body positions and forces – it feels energetic and dynamic. 

The reason you’ll catch an edge or lose control of the sail carving downwind is often due to letting the clew get away from you. This happens because the mast arm flexes too much. So try ‘twisting’ the boom by extending the mast arm and pulling in on the clew hand, as in the main sequence. 

If you find the tail sinks or the board trips over, this is due to no ‘opposition’. So keep more weight over the front foot and sheet the rig in and back to counter balance. 

Wave Environment Video

In this video, you’ll see some wave examples using elements of our Flat Water Wave Riding skills training, in particular, the movement of the body into Warrior when going from rail to rail.

On really big waves, where you are going much faster and have more time, you’ll learn to develop a ‘laydown style’ bottom turn (we’ll cover this another time). But this FWWR exercise teaches you to put the board where you want it to go for small-medium waves and is a great way to prepare for less than perfect conditions. So get amazing at it! 

As ever, ANY windsurfing questions ask Simon @

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Copyright: Simon Bornhoft Windwise 2022

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