Windsurfing

The first move a beginner sailboarder needs to master is the uphaul. This is the action of pulling the sail out of the water to start forward movement.

Windsurfing is relatively modern water sport that looks easy. However, getting the board moving can be a challenge. But once starting is mastered the sport of windsurfing or opens up a range of exciting options.

How to Start Windsurfing or Sailboarding


Positioning the Sailboard

First, the sailboard needs to be positioned such that it is at right angles to the wind. This is important as if the board is not in the right position in relation to the wind it will be extremely difficult , if not impossible to start the windsurfer.

Positioning the Sail

The sail needs to be lying in the water to the side of the board opposite to the direction the wind is coming from. Again, this is important as it is nearly impossible to pull the sail out of the water with the wind.

The uphaul rope that runs from the spot where the boom connects to the mast should be lying on the board at the feet of the sailor. Or the sailor may hold the uphaul rope.

Positioning the Sailor

With the sailboard at right angles to the wind, the sailor stands on the board with their back to the wind.

The feet should be on each side of the mast connection to the board

Once standing on the board, the sailor keeps the sailboard in the right position by using the feet to move the board so that it remains at right angles to the wind.

Holding Point One

With everything in place, this is a good time for the beginning windsurfer to stop and check everything is right to go:

  • Sailboard at right angles to the wind
  • Sail in the water on the side opposite from the direction of wind
  • Sailor on the board, feet each side of the mast connection to the board

Uphauling the Sail on a Sailboard

With everything positioned as above, the next step is pulling the sail out of the water. This appears to require huge amounts of strength, but if done properly, it is not that hard.

First off, the sail should be pulled so that the mast is towards the front of the board. Slowly at first the sail should be pulled slightly forward and up. By pulling slightly forward rather than straight up, the wind starts to get under the sail and helps in lifting the sail.

Care must be taken with this technique to ensure the sail isn’t pulled too far towards the front of the board.

Once the majority of the sail is clear of the water, the sail can be pulled directly up. The sail must be pulled right out of the water until the sailor can hold onto the point where the boom connects to the mast.

While uphauling the sail, the feet must be working to keep the sailboard at right angles to the wind. If the board swings either way, it will be almost impossible to continue uphauling the sail.

The sailor can either hold the mast, or the end of the uphaul rope just beside the mast

The wind should be coming over the sailor’s back and the sail should be flapping in the wind, clear of the water and facing directly downwind.

Holding Point Two

With the sailor holding the mast at the boom connection, this is the second holding point where the sailor should check everything is in position.

  • Sailboard at right angles to the wind
  • Sail flying downwind
  • Sailor’s feet each side of the mast connection to the board

The sailor should hold in this position and take a few moments before the next move.

Getting the Windsurfer Moving

The next few moves require quick, decisive action.

  1. The front hand grabs the side of the boom that is facing the end of the board just behind where the boom connects to the mast and quickly pulls the mast towards the front of the board
  2. The rear hand grabs the boom a few feet back from the mast connection and helps push the mast forward.
  3. The rear of the sail is pulled into the wind, aiming to be generally parallel to the board.

The above three actions must be down quickly and decisively. There is no stopping between each action. Any hesitation will result in the wind forcing the sail in the wrong direction and dumping the beginning sailor in the water.

Once the sailboard is moving forward, the board is steered by the position of the sail against the wind.