Get the settings right!

Ultimately we ‘all’ have the same aim – control, ease and an effective sailing position, all of which are massively influenced by harness line set up, be that for just blasting about, top speed slalom, wave or freestyle. If you suffer from slow early planing, poor blasting control, being over powered, (being over taken!!), arm fatigue, blisters or generally feel that the board and rig, “don’t quite seem right”, it could well be your harness lines and boom height. It’s important to stress that everyone will have a slightly different set up due to individual height, weight or kit choice, but here are some easily applicable ways for you to check on the water to make sure it is right for YOU!

Text: Simon Bornhoft/Windwise
Photos: Windwise & Kate Ocean

What you ‘feel’ on the water is key. Whilst there are a few beach guides, you can only really set your harness lines on the water, as variations of wind and sail setting on the same sail will effect where the lines need to go at any given time. Here’s a super easy, proven Windwise Touch Point trick that has helped hundreds and hundreds of people to master what can be a dark art. You just need to ask yourself one question….

Q. Can you blast in the straps, sheet in and still lightly touch and rear harness line with your rear thumb?

Your hand doesn’t have to always be there, but simply trying this helps you to set your lines in the right place.

Next time you’re out, look to see if your rear hand is way past the rear line fixing, if it is, something is wrong! You’re either sailing with a gorilla wide grip or your harness lines are too far forward! So keep adjusting the lines until it is very easy to touch the rear harness line with your rear thumb. You don’t have to sail with the thumb touching the whole time, but the lines should be set so that the rear thumb is within easy touching distance. The front (mast) hand can float around just forward of the front harness line fixing. But next time you’re out try this simple trick as it teaches you to get the lines to do the sheeting in for you and enable you to have a finger light grip on ‘both hands’.

Simon Says

This is a very simple proven system that YOU can do to set everything up to get YOUR kit working for YOU. Run through this routine, but always fine-tune your lines on a regular basis to adjust to changes in kit and wind strength, but always ask yourself one simple question…. “Can you sail with your REAR thumb easily touching the rear harness line?”

To help you, run through this routine every time you go on the water.

Harness Line Lift & Set

Find a place out of the wind to lift the boom with a very light three-finger grip. Adjust to find the balance point so that the boom is horizontal when you lift it. For now, just fix your harness lines either side of that point and get out there – don’t faff!

How To Set Your Lines On The Water For Any Board Or Sail!

When blasting along, narrow you hand spread and slide your rear-hand to TOUCH the REAR harness line with your REAR thumb.  If the clew lifts, you feel unstable, the apex of the harness line is clearly angled towards the tail or you feel you have to move the backhand quickly back down the again (because you feel out of control), then your harness lines are most likely too far forward! So, move both lines towards to clew, (as a set – about 1cm at a time), until you can sail with your rear hand close enough to easily touch the rear harness line and have virtually no pressure on the front hand.

If the board heads upwind, there’s excessive pull on the front arm or the apex of the line is angled forwards, then move both lines forward until you feel balanced BUT can still easily touch the rear harness line. The front hand/arm should be able to just relax just forward of the front fixing. Tweaking and taking time to find this setting will ensure you’re sailing sufficiently sheeted in and not pulling on your arms.

“We don’t sail the whole time with our rear hand ON the rear harness line, this is to get the set right so that the arms aren’t doing excessive work! But it should always be very easy to just touch the line with the rear thumb.”

Here are a few thoughts on when and how to fine tune to suit changing circumstances.

Common Indicators to move your lines FORWARD

  • The front arm pulls too much!
  • Lighter winds, less power or you’ve just flattened your sail.
  • More inboard upright wave / freestyle stance.
  • You lower your boom, move onto a smaller board or bring your mast base back.

Common Indicators to move your lines BACK

  • Rear hand pulling too much and you’re constantly reaching down the boom!
  • Stronger winds, faster speeds or increased sail power = Definitely lines back!
  • More outboard locked down Freeride or slalom sailing.
  • You raise your boom, move onto a larger/wider board or move your mast base forwards.
  • You ‘bag out’ your sail to make it ‘fuller’, creating more clew hand pull = lines back.

THE GREAT DEBATE!  Harness Line Length

  1. Velcro fixings should be approximately a hand width apart.
  2. Go narrower if you like a twitchier more sensitive ‘freestyle / wave’ feel.
  3. You can argue all day as to personal line length, but you want them set for the length of YOUR arm. Don’t copy a pro sailor, ‘coach’ or your mate telling you need 30-32-34 inch lines!
  4. Measure them for YOUR arm length!


Place the very tip of your elbow in the line and tension it…

Waist harness: The line should be approximately end of elbow to the ‘blister pads’ on your hand.

Seat harness: The line can be between ‘blister pad’ and ‘thumb pad’ part of palm.

*Personal taste or your twin might alter this slightly by 1-2cm*

*Generally wave & freestylers have them marginally longer than for freeride.*

*Make sure your harness is tight, otherwise it throws out everything!*


Is Your Boom High Enough?

*Never adjust your boom out on the water, always do it in the shallows otherwise you might not be able to clamp it up properly

Essentially you want a down force to create “Mast Foot Pressure” and this comes from having the boom positioned so that the ‘correctly placed’ harness lines are pulling ‘in & down’ on the boom. You don’t want the lines to be too horizontal, so make sure your boom is high enough so that the pull from the harness lines are down!

RAISE your boom marginally… and shift the lines back slightly.

When sailing wider boards and you’re more outboard.

You’ve moved your footstraps from inboard to outboard settings.

You want to improve early planing.

The harness lines are not pulling down enough. 

LOWER your boom marginally… and shift the lines forward slightly.

When sailing narrow boards.

Switching to inboard footstraps and more rearward mast base settings.

You’re over powered and want a bit more control.

Whether you set the Dyno up with inboard or outboard straps, the action of sheeting the sail in comes from the lines being set in the right place. Basically when the body leans outboard, the sail sheets in through body position and not arm strength. I really hope this set up guide will help you to learn for yourself when things are right and enable you to get the most out of a Dyno, Fox, Psycho or Nano!

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Any Questions or Requests 
If you want some personal advice on your how to improve your performance and get the most out of your Dyno or any other Severne kit, then ask Simon Bornhoft

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