The Progression to the Upwind 360º in the straps. Part 1

Watch the video first and them go through the steps

Neutral and balance point.

We have 2 types of neutral, Active and Passive.

Active neutral is when we are using either a little bit of power from the rig, or the weight of the rig to balance against.


Passive neutral is when the sail is in balance, this is approximately when the center of effort is over the centerline of the board, with now power. You are in balance, again over the centerline of the board. You and the rig are balanced so your weight makes the board flat. The center of balance of the board not moving is about halfway between the mastfoot and footstraps.



For example here I am coming in with almost no wind so balance and power control is very important.


Here I am waiting for the wave to come, there is no wind so I must be in a Pasive neutral.


The wave makes the board go forwards so I must close the sail.


Now going into a more active neutral as I have a little power.

You can see I use an interesting way to close and open the sail.

Remember you can find a passive neutral anywhere


Concept of power control. 

The first way we learn to control the power in the sail, is to hold the mast stationary and pull in or let out with the back hand.

This works but in modern windsurfing we are working more around the neutral position, especially in freestyle.

The mast is not over the center of the board, the center of the sail is.


So the first step is to adjust your hand positions. The front hand will have to go back. The object is to have your hands equally spaced around the center of effort of the sail.

To open or close the sail, it is the mast that is moving.


With this, the sail is opening and closing it’s self.

To close the sail, you release the pressure on your front hand and let the mast go forwards. keeping your back hand where it is.


To open the sail, you release the pressure in the back hand and bring the mast back.


This concept is important to understand as it is the only way we can control the sail when we are sailing back to sail.



Tack to back wind control of the sail.

This is the easiest way to get to back to sail sailing. To start with have your front foot just in front of the mast and practice closing and opening the sail and going back to the other direction.


On the left I am standing normal position. On the right back to sail.

In 1.) the sail is normal. In 2.) closed and  3.) open.

You will see that the opening and closing the sail has to be done by moving the mast as you are in the way. Even when you are standing close to the mast.

One of the main problems is that you have to think in mirror image.

It becomes a bit more complicated once you are at half wind as you have to react faster and moving the mast forwards and backwards, as well as controlling the power. to stay straight. Your brain has to learn to work in 3D


Another fun way to get to back to sail, is after the gybe. Go to back to sail from clew first.


You then can either do the change of the heli tack, or a back to sail gybe, or just back to clew first.

Heli tack 

I like to show the heli take with the front foot just behind the mast, plus with the front hand back, as this is a better progression to the 360º.



The key points are: 1.) Make sure you turn the board far enough.


  2.) When placing the mast forwards, it must float with zero power.


  3.) Engage the power in the sail by moving the mast.


4.) Make sure the board turns, the nearer you get to half wind the easier it is to rotate the sail.



360º on volume + variations

The 360º is only taking the heli take to half wind and then doing a back to sail gybe.


You can see from this picture the rig movement is exactly the same, doing both normal or back to sail.


The further you stand back the easier it is for the gybe part of the turn.

This next sequence shows that the important hand is the front hand.




In 2.) you can see that the back hand is stationary and I let the boom go forwards, so when it is right forwards the back hand will be back on the boom.

Once I engage the power in the rig you can see that I take the back hand off to show it is really not needed.




The mast coming back and away from the board is turning the board away from the wind.

In reality the rig is not moving, it is the board but it feels as if you are moving it back.




Key points.

1. Turn the board far enough and float the rig forwards.

2. Engage the power, keeping the front arm extended.

3. Bring the mast back to turn the board.

4. Control the power while the board is turning, by moving the mast.

5. Push the clew through the wind to gybe the sail.

When you are half wind you can put in a diablo if you wish. This can be done with the Heli-Tack or 360º.

1. Move your back hand back as far as you can.



2. Pass the sail towards the wind, keeping it in neutral. Placing your front hand as near to the back of the boom as possible.


3. When you bring the sail back up, it is important to place the new front hand where the harness lines are in one move.



Have fun trying all of this.

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