How to handle lulls and gusts in windsurfing
High wind and no-wind conditions are common in windsurfing. Learn how to cope with the extremes.
It happens all the time. Whether you're a recreational windsurfer or an accomplished competitor, sooner or later the wind will always play a trick on you.
In other words, it's never good to be underpowered and overpowered. It leads to frustration, fatigue, and sometimes injuries and dangerous situations.
On the contrary, a steady and stable wind force wind enables us to sail consistently for a long period of time without interruptions or wild catapults.
So, what should a windsurfer do when confronted by an agonizing wind lull? As soon as you feel yourself falling backward, and the pressure of the sail decreasing, do the following:
1. Sheet in harder than normal;
2. Swing your weight toward the boom and the center of the board;
3. Repeat the process several times while keeping both knees bent - pump it;
Handling gusts is a bit harder, but not impossible. As you feel the pressure on the sail dramatically increase, and your body being pitched across the sail, do the following:
1. Sheet out as quickly as you can;
2. Move your hands forward on the boom toward the mast;
3. When you're ready to resume sailing, slowly lean to windward;
4. Sheet in again;
Learning how to handle the sail in both low and high winds will make you better windsurfer. Practice the sheeting techniques in safe environments and surrounded by people who may help you in case anything goes wrong.