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Importance of Technique on Water

Someone , who will remain unnamed , pointed out - correctly - that this blog and my discussions in general are about "old" equipment and NOT technique. There is a reason for that -  
my technique SUCKS :-)
Somewhere else I wrote about WHY people windsurf. There are many reasons and for me the most important one is - for the FUN of it.

If you are lacking technique completely - then the fun factor drops quickly. Thus , there is a minimum of technique required in order to have fun. NOT everyone has access nor the desire to become a wave windsurfer. THAT is REAL windsurfing. What I do locally is more "boardsailing" - sailing on a "board".

So, what are some of the minimal skills one needs ?
You need to be able to swim = obvious.
You cannot be afraid of deep water = obvious.
You need some balance as you will be standing on a flotation device = obvious.
You need to get that sail out of the water = obvious.
You need to be able steer/ control direction = obvious.
You need to tack/gybe/turn about and get back = seems obvious.

Once one gets past the obvious - what is next ??
The basic "skills" are beach/water starting, stance, harness, footstraps, tacking and gybing - not necessarily in that order ... This site seems to summarize it well:

If one intends to race or sails in stronger winds and/or more difficult conditions, the skill set becomes much more important !! If you are "sailing" on flat water with minimal chop , as I do, you can get away with uphauling, tacking and a minimal set of skills.

How can you best develop the less obvious skills?? One of the most obvious answers is TOW aka time on the water. People here have told me that going to Cape Hatteras or Les Isles de Madeleines is priceless. All the conditions exist for all the skill levels and shallow water can be found so as not to tire you with water starts or other restart methodologies. They tell me this is available for under $900 per person. Nowadays you can even go to Hawaii and get personalized courses from the Pritchards !! Personally, i cannot go on a "vacation" without my better half ... and so, lack the funds...

There are also excellent DVDs by Jem Hall, Guy Cribb, Dasher, Peter Hart and others. Extracts from their teachings can be found on youtube.

Lessons are NOT always available in the area where people live. Just recently i discovered a local school called VOILEOKA {actually spelled VOILOKA} that offers personalized 3 hour courses for about $100. Both Helmut and myself have considered going. Helmut has issues getting the back foot in the footstraps and for me = both :-)

Even with all the skills in the world, if your equipment is not setup properly , you will suffer. Also, the pros can sail anything well - not so, for the average joe. For the less experienced , beginner and intermediate equipment has reached a good state now. Even the older stuff (less than 5 years) is still very good.

My mission is to make windsurfing accessible - regardless of age, cost, athleticism, etc. You do NOT need to be a super athlete in order to be a windsurfer and have fun. You do NOT need to be rich in order to purchase equipment. Locally the APVM rents out stuff. The aforementioned school, VOILOKA sells equipment at the end of the season - about $600 a board.

So, you decide what you want to do, how important technique is to you and how you want to get there. And as I said in the beginning - make sure the FUN FACTOR remains !! i.e. donut get bogged down in technique NOR equipment ... Just go have fun !!

As far as "tricks" go, probably the only one i will ever try is the body drag. Tricks are definitely ALL about technique and things like flaka, volcan, villy skipper, 360, spock, etc will NEVER become part of my vocabulary :-) To each his/her own :-)

It is fairly obvious that technique becomes more important as conditions and/or equipment approach  less than "ideal". If you need to pump to get on a plane rather than passively wait - technique comes into play. If your board volume is less than 1.6 times your weight in kg, well then, once again technique becomes more important. In overpowering conditions on a big board = good luck. Not to discourage - just to be aware - in order to not affect the FUN FACTOR :-)

Ironically I received a Windsurf Mag from the UK for XMAS 2013. Peter Hart is covered in an article and is quoted as saying the BEST session ever is the current one AND the best way to get out of a technique slump is GO in light winds - like with a windsup in 7 knots !!!! Like i said - just go out there and have FUN !!

Addendum: along the lines of what Peter Hart was quoted as saying ...
Just saw or heard an interesting saying on a BBC show called MI-5. The Russian spy and ex-wife told her British spy ex-husband," Happiness is NOT about getting things. It is about being happy with what you have." BE happy with the session you are in.
As Carlos Castaneda said, "Live in the here and now !!"