The real deal

Have you been catching some wave sailing action recently? Well, here’s what YOU can do to get yourself into waves. Simon Bornhoft continues his Windwise series on how to fully develop your windsurfing skills, maximize your time on the SV Dyno and, for this issue, continue your mission in the waves. So whether you’re new to freewave/wave windsurfing or polishing up your existing wave skills, this will give you a focus and purpose for your next sessions.

Photography: Windwise/ FeelViana / Jerry Collyer/ Marc Van Swoll
Location: FeelViana Portugal

Unlike many YouTube wave videos or radical social media posts, we’re going to look at realistic real world situations. So we’ll address catching a wave, staying on it, and looking at some common issues. 

To help with your preparation and chances of success definitely check out our skill enhancing Windwise flat water drills in “How To Prepare For Waves Part 1 & Part 2”. These features will instantly help to get one wave ahead of the rest. Someone has to challenge Philip Koster and the Moreno Twins!

Are you….

  • New to freewave kit or waves?
  • Wanting to maximize every wave?
  • Looking to improve your board handling and wave confidence?

Then this is for you.

Severne Dyno Kit Set Up

Board: SV Dyno 95
Fins: Tri Fin for maximum manoeuvrability and grip.
Mast base: Middle to back of track.
Straps: Inboard, forward, and loose! 
Boom: Dropped slightly compared to freeriding.
Harness Lines: Marginally longer than Freeride.
Wind: In these shots, the wind is blowing right to left of photos.

Core Windwise Principles

Vision: Massively exaggerate looking where you want to go – chin on shoulder!
Opposition: We often lever the rig in the opposite direction to the body’s movement.
Warrior: Exaggerate looking and leaning over a very heavily flexed knee.

Windwise Touch Points

Shifting your hands is a vital component of success.
Upwind: Hands move more forward on the boom. 
Downwind: Hands spread wider, clew hand pulling in close to your head – “Talk to the mic”.

Heading Out
Getting through surf can often mean being out of the harness negotiating on coming waves and having to control being in the straps off the plane.

Waterstart In the Straps

A key Windwise exercise is waterstarting with both feet in the straps. This simulates the tucked up ‘in flight body position’ and really helps controlling getting over surf. The exercise teaches you to extend that front leg and tuck the rear leg in and keep the rig forward.

Air Time

If you get scared, over powered, or want to quash the power of an oncoming wave, head upwind and heavily flex the knees to absorb the impact. If you find you’re landing with a bang on the other side of a wave, it’s usually because the under carriage is down, so make sure you tuck up! 

Sail Upwind First

It’s usually best to blast upwind first to catch the swell. This puts you in a strong position to bear away if you need to and also you’ll catch the wave quicker than if you blast straight ahead. Practicing being in the straps off the plane really helps if the wind or board speed dies at this point.

Upwind On The Wave

When the wave is forming up, you can hang in the harness until just before you’re ready to go and use that time to look ‘down-the-line’ of the wave to see how it’s forming – smaller waves only hold up for a few seconds, so get prepared to go quickly. 

Prepare To Ride

As the wave picks you up, unhook, head upwind and try to climb to the upper half /top third of the wave to make sure you have a fast decent into the bottom turn. Heading upwind also helps to sheet the sail in ready for your bottom turn as you drop down the wave.

Wave Training

This can be practiced with some flat-water wave riding as in the last feature. Get into the straps off the plane, lean forward, and ‘sail ugly’ in an exaggerated Warrior position (looking and leaning forward over a flexed front knee) pulling down heavily on the boom. Keep the rig forward and, especially if the tail sinks, get the body and rig FORWARD even MORE. 

Look Look Look!

It’s vital to look down the wave to set up your move and aim for the curling peak of the wave, try to sheet in hard and go as fast as you can!

Speed And Purpose

On small waves or in under-powered situations, you’re not going to be doing the magazine hero laydown bottom turn shot. The rig will be more upright and the focus is getting the body over in towards the wave in Warrior – Similar to a carve gybe, but with both feet in the straps, flexed ankles and pressure on the toes.

Laydown Bottom Turn

If you have either lots of speed or a sizable wave, work on sheeting in and back and laying the rig down more on the bottom turn. Practicing laydown gybes and 360’s on flat water really helps build confidence in this situation. 

Top Turn

On the top turn, you’ll need to pivot the board extensively almost 180 degrees. So unless you’re going for a massive floaty aerial, 99% of the time, you need to sheet out completely. CRUCIALLY whip your head round and get the body leading the way back down the wave, so that board turns directly under the sail, just like our flat water wave riding practice.

Getting Ahead Of Yourself

It’s very, common during first time wave experiences to go too fast, too straight and run ahead of the wave and lose power. Sometimes, even a board length in front is too far ahead! Keep on the wave by either heading upwind (backside riding) or carving hard downwind (front side riding) and not straight ahead! 

Losing It!

Falling off the back on waves is also quite common. So until you’re ready to really whack the lip of the wave, start your top turn before you get to the very crest of the wave, especially if the waves are slack. If you’re finding you’re over powered and losing the rig in the bottom turn or at the top of the wave, this is usually due to not heading upwind on your set up or not sheeting in hard enough at the start of your bottom turn.

Simon Says

The actual wave riding itself is probably the easiest bit, especially if you’ve practiced your flat-water wave riding skills. The emphasis is on the whole Warrior ethos – Looking and leaning where you want to go and using the rig as a counter balance. We’ll go through more of that in the next issue with some examples of real life windsurfers. Until then, any questions fire away!

Windwise Winds Of The World Tour 

Tenerife / Bonaire / Alacati / FeelViana / Prasonisi / Mauritius & More!

Latest availability @ 

Improve your windsurfing and try some Severne gear?

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Copyright: Simon Bornhoft Windwise 2022

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