14. Where to go from here

I can't end at step 13, that would be unlucky and might kill the wind! So where do you go from here?

Actually, you have just begun to learn to windsurf. The fun has just begun. I have been sailing for about 30 years, and every time I go out on the water, I learn something new.

Consider a windsurfing vacation. There are fabulous places to visit. Combine a vacation with lessons (for example, Vela Resorts) or a windsurfing clinic (for example, ABK Sports Clinics).

There are a lot of windsurfing DVD's from instruction to action (one source). Every winter, to get through SAD (Sailing Addiction Disorder) I buy myself a video and/or go on a windsurfing vacation. Its about the same price as psychotherapy, but more fun.

Learn Free Style Tricks. There are many sites on the web that teach free-style (example). I have listed some of the easier tricks that you can do when just beginning to windsurf below.

Windsurfing magazines are a good source of information and usually have instructional hints for every level of skill. There is also information about clinics and windsurfing vacation spots.

Most localities have a local sailboard association. Join the association/club in your area. You will get a newsletter, meet some great people, and help improve the sailing sites in your area.

Support your local shop. A local shop can be the focus of activity for clinics, manufacturer demos, swap meets, etc.

Surf the web. There are dozens and dozens of windsurfing related sites including bulletin boards. One of the best is maintained by iWindsurf.com.

Sail Hard, Have Fun!

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Free Style

In 1976 at the North American Championships, sailors had heard that a 13 year old kid from Oahu could sail pretty well. However, this skinny kid blew everyone away in the free style by calmly flipping his board on its side, standing on the rail, and sailing away. The kid was Robby Naish, the place was Berkeley, California. The sport has never been the same since.

Here are some tricks to get started (from easy to difficult):

Sail Clew First. The easiest way to get into this position is to not flip the sail after jibing. A more interesting way is as follows: While sailing on a reach, first move both hands back on the boom. Reach your front hand back across your back hand to the end of the boom. Flip the back of the boom forward and reach over on the other side of the boom. This maneuver will help you learn how to duck jibe. When sailing clew first, don't try to sail higher than a beam reach.

Sail Downwind Tail First. Come head to wind as if you are tacking. Move in front of the mast and pull the sail perpendicular to the board (in the downwind position). Move out to the bow (pointy part) of the board in the sailing downwind position. The trick is to move far out on the bow of the board so that the skeg (fin) is out of the water. This maneuver is great practice that will help you do nonplaning jibes going the other way.

Pirouette. Sail on a beam reach in light wind. Move the sail across the board in front of the mast (the same position as when you started up, step 2). There is a position where the sail will almost balance on itself. After you find that position, let go of the boom, pivot on the balls of your feet (spin around 360 degrees), and quickly grab the boom.

Sail behind the mast. Step around the mast, and stand on the wrong side of the sail.

Sail 360 deg. Begin as in the pirouette by finding the balance point of the sail, and then do the following: Swing tip of the mast toward the wind. Step forward of the mast on the leeward side of the mast, pushing the clew in front of you. Continue pushing the clew around and follow it until you have circled the mast. You must be quick!

Helitack. Start out as if you are doing a normal tack. When the board is pointing directly into the wind, instead of moving in front of the mast, push the clew forward and through the eye of the wind. In other words, you tack, but you stay behind the mast and the sail goes in front of it.

Head Dip. On a beam reach in strong wind, lean way back with your arms straight. Bend your knees as when you do the limbo and dip your head in the water. Try a leg drag (prequel to a body drag).

Splits (for the Gals). This trick is one even Robby couldn't do. Stretch out on shore. It helps to have your booms rigged lower than usual. Sail on a beam reach in a light wind and go for it.

Rail Ride (Robby's trick). While sailing along, reach one foot under the edge of the board and pop the board up on its edge, i.e., rail. (I kid you not!) At first you can sail with one foot on the centerboard, the other shin resting on the edge of the board. Then stand up with both feet on the edge of the board (rail).

Not to be outdone, a few years after Robby invented the rail ride, Rhonda Smith performed the splits while sailing on the rail! Ouch!

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