Learning How to Windsurf with a Waterstart
By Susan M. Keenan © 2008
The waterstart is done with a short board. It requires heavy winds. The board is not designed to hold the weight of the surfer until after the wind takes hold. Therefore, it is essential to make sure that the trade winds are heavy enough to accommodate a waterstart.
It is extremely important that any individual learning to windsurf with a waterstart be well-versed in basic windsurfing first. Additionally, the proper equipment should be secured for a successful venture. You will need a life vest (properly fitted), a surfing wet suit, a windsurf board, and windsurf rig.
Once you are ready, you can follow these steps for your windsurfing adventure:
1. Position your board in a way that allows the wind to blow across it. You should now be on the windward side of your board.
2. Maneuver your sail in a way that its mast is parallel to your board. The wind should blow across it. Hold the mast in the spot just above the boom. The boom should be pointing over the tail of the board. The clew of its sail should be pointing downward once it is properly positioned.
3. Pull the mast parallel to the water. It should go into the wind. Your sail should now be clear and flapping freely.
4. Now, place your foot that is to maintain the back position onto the board. Select the foot that feels the most comfortable in that position. Place your foot into the foot strap.
5. At this point, you should swing your mast forward and slightly upward into the wind. Place your hands onto the lower side of the boom. Use a pumping motion to get the wind to catch it.
6. Once the wind catches the sail, use your back hand to sheet in. Allow the wind to pull you up. You should be on your back foot and your legs and hips should be somewhat bent.
7. While you are rolling up onto your board, try to kick your front foot. This should provide an extra boost. Additionally, you should avoid bending your arm during this procedure.
8. At this point, step carefully onto the centerline of your board using your front foot. Stand firmly on the board.
9. Hook in to the harness lines that are located on the boom.
10. You are ready to try windsurfing now. However, you typically need 15 to 20 knots of wind to start up so check the conditions before you go through all of these steps.
For the best and safest results, you should practice some waterstarts in shallow water. You should always wear your life vest when windsurfing. When learning to windsurf or to waterstart for the first time, wait until the conditions are mild and have an instructor show you want to do rather than attempting it on your own.
Also see: Snorkeling and Popular Windsurfing Spots in Hawaii