Michigan Windsurfing

Windsurfing & Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Michigan

Hi, last weekend I spent Friday and Sunday helplessly getting catapulted in a vain attempt to water start.  The wind was great and there was plenty of power in my 6.5 sail, but I found that my board spun into the wind most of the time when I started trying to get up.  The few times I got moving forward and 25% up, the board spun up on the inside rail and I just got dragged through the water.  Any advice from the experts?  I've watched all the VHS waterstart videos I can handle and it just seems different in the water. 

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It's really hard to diagnose without seeing it, but I'm sure there's lots of people here who could help.  Where do you sail - are there other sailors there who you could ask?

I didn't really understand what you meant by "spun on the inside rail".  Are you pushing the board away with your feet as you come up out of the water?   If you hang like a monkey (don't bend elbows and pull yourself up) until your body is up over the board, you'll keep mast base pressure and keep the board from rounding up.  Also, staying low like that will keep you from getting catapulted.  I'm not an instructor, and didn't really see what you're doing, but just a guess.

Again, I'm sure that someone at your local launch could help.  Sometimes you think you're doing one thing until you see yourself on video.

Hi Brian,

Yeah, I'm certainly doing plenty wrong I'm sure!  I'll try to get it on video one of these times to be able to see my mistakes.  I think I am, in fact, pushing away with my feet (causing the board to flip up as the sail pulls me). It was really windy (20+) and I got pushed around pretty good, but it was a blast.  In addition, this new board and rig is much lighter than what I had before, so I'm getting used to that as well. 

I appreciate the input, and will surely keep that in mind the next time I'm out.  The problem for me is that I windsurf on the St. Mary's river in the U.P. near Pickford; far from anyone except walleye fishermen!  My buddy and I started a few years ago, and are entirely self-taught (other than videos).  We're typically the only people actually "in" the water. 

Funny I just clicked on this!! Another tip is to keep the nose of your board further down wind than you might think as it wil round up a bit on you as you mount it!!




I guess it's your job to 'spread the faith' up there in the wilderness - thanks for that!  There are a ton of youtube videos (Don posted one) that point out all the common mistakes, but it's really hard to self-diagnose.

I think Ted Schweitzer will have some Original Windsurfer events in TC this summer.  That's not too far of a drive for you.  http://www.originalwindsurfer.com/site/events.html

Also, maybe someone from the north country will chime in - someone who might live closer to you.  Don't give up - once you get it, it will make sailing so much less work.

Interrestingly, in really high wind conditions I find it much easier to lay down and waterstart poition to get going than to step onto the board. Try starting shallow and work your way into deeper water.

PS Sounds funny tho to hear you say north as we are from Canada and south of you!!

I remember spending an entire day in Aruba working on waterstarts. That was in warm water, where I could stand to rearrange the gear. Maybe I'm just slow, but it takes a lot of practice. It really does make fully-powered windsurfing so much easier, so keep working at it. One exercise you might try is to get the sail flying, then put your toes on the board and just drift downwind a bit, steering with the sail, keeping yourself in the correct orientation for waterstarting. As long as you stay low, you'll avoid getting catapulted, and it'll build up your muscle-memory for keeping the nose downwind during a real waterstart. You may need to pay attention to getting your feet onto/close to the centerline of the board to avoid sinking a rail. You'll probably have to get used to pushing the sail way forward to avoid rounding up... Good Luck!

Bravo!! nailed it!!!  well done!!

Thanks for all the great advice!



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