hodge·podge [hoj-poj] noun. A mixture of dissimilar ingredients

Speed Tips

By Kevin Pritchard

Just because you’re not on the latest slalom stick and double-luffed race sail doesn’t mean you can’t go fast. With that in mind, and my new fully equipped freeride gear, I headed to my first race with a two-cam sail to battle it out with the boys with their full-on race gear. My hesitation mounted, but then I started to think: what can I do to ignite my freeride gear? After years on the PWA circuit, I had a few tricks up my sleeve to get my freeride gear going fast.

Get Carbon
A 100-percent carbon standard diameter race mast is one of the keys to going fast. It’s going to be stiffer, offering more speed and more control at top speed. When you’re most likely to get overpowered, your boom is also flexing and that makes you get even more overpowered, so having a stiff carbon boom is a key ingredient.

Start Smooth
Work on your starts. When you’re battling with the guys on the race gear, you got to get a good start and control the pack. Coming into the line at full speed at the pin end of the line has always been my trademark move. It gives you a great chance at coming to the line in first.

Find A Good Fin

The fin might be one of the most critical items to get you blasting past your buddy. If you can get your hands on a nice clean racing fi n, you will be down the road. The fi n has the most area in the water and is really the foil you’re riding off. If this foil is perfect, welcome to speed-sailing bliss. I like a fin with a thin foil; it might make you sail a bit softer on the back foot, but will limit the draggy feel that slows you down at the top end.

Set Straps Up Right
One of the keys for going fast is getting lift. If your freeride board has outside foot-strap inserts, put the straps in the outside hole. This will give you more lift to get you planing early, and keep you out and leveraged on your fin.

Speed Techniques
Make sure you’re pointing your toes, extending your leverage over the board, and maximizing your speed. You need to be leveraging your weight off the fin and transferring that into speed. Search for the flattest, easiest part to keep your board locked in. Finally, keep your speed out of the turns. If you can stay on a plane and get going sooner than the next guy, you are ready to destroy the gearhead’s ego and send him back to the store to get some much-needed faster equipment.


Speed Tips

By Bruce Peterson
Feel like you’re getting left behind while everyone else speeds along? In this windsurfing how to, we’ll share some tips to help you catch up — and then blast ahead of the pack.

1. Sheet in Your Sail … Right

Sound obvious? It isn’t. You’d be surprised how many sailors aren’t sheeting in as much as they should be for maximum speed. Signs you might not be sheeting in enough? Harness lines are spread apart, which puts the front hand too far forward and prevents you from extending the arms and legs to put more pressure over the board. Another big one: leaving an open gap between your board and sail. That spills power — you want every ounce you can get. Close that gap, and pour on the speed.

2. Push Your Sail

Learn the powerful rig-control technique of front-hand control. Use your harness connection as a fulcrum and lead your rig-control actions with your front hand. Pushing away with your front hand becomes sheeting in with your back hand, while pulling in with your front hand becomes sheeting out with your back. It sounds counterintuitive, but this technique separates sheeting angle control from hiking out (rig leverage) and counterbalances the two actions into opposing forces. Push with your front hand to load the rig and lean back. Pull with your front hand to de-power and un-weight the rig. — Bruce Peterson

3. Find Flat Water

Aiming for top GPS speeds? Three words: location, location, location. Flat water means more control, and thus faster speeds. Your ideal speed strip backs water deep enough to sail in up to a breakwater of sorts — a jetty, a sandbar or your custom-made chop blocker. It’s also at a deep angle to the wind — 120 degrees is good, letting you bear off for maximum speed. So get on Google Maps, explore those hidden sandbars and push your limits. Just make sure there’s enough room to jibe.

4. Fix Your Board Trim

There’s a pretty simple rule for board trim — flatter is faster. This applies to side-to-side as well as nose-to-tail. Nose-to-tail is the most difficult to trim. Slow sailors tend to sail with less mast foot pressure, which lets the nose ride high and reduces control. The easiest fix is to raise the boom and lean well forward (and outboard). This flattens the nose and gets the board under control, letting you handle gusts by kicking it into top gear rather than sheeting out.

5. Get in the Front … First

If you’re looking for speed on the race course, nothing is as crucial as getting a good start. Starts are all about timing — knowing where the start sequence is and hitting the line at full speed just as the flag goes up. The advantages of a good start are two-fold. In addition to being first over the line, you’ll also have the benefit of clean air and smoother water that hasn’t been disrupted by other sailors.

6. Jibe With Speed

A fast jibe takes commitment. Start by moving your back hand farther back on the boom. Bend your knees and get low as you step onto the inside rail with your back foot. Oversheet the sail to keep the foot from dragging and drive you into the turn with speed. Pull down on the boom with your front hand to keep the rail of the board from bouncing. Get your body weight into the turn; use bent legs to push the board into the water. Carve hard initially and then open up the radius of the turn to retain speed. Once the board passes through downwind, step forward with your inside carving foot to flatten off the board to keep up speed. Flip the sail and step back onto your new reach.



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