How to do a beach start in windsurfing

Windsurf beach start: the art of launching in shallow waters | Photo: Carter/PWA

The beach start is an intermediate windsurfing technique. As your sailing experience evolves, you'll have to master the art of launching in shallow waters.

Training is all you need to pull the perfect windsurf beach start. After ten tries, you'll do it like a pro.

But you shouldn't stop practicing it until it's properly done without falling off the board.

The beach start requires your constant attention to the board position and the rig's relationship to the wind until you finally sail away.

So, how can you do the perfect windsurfing beach start?

Beach Start 101

Let's see:

  1. Wade into knee-deep water and position the sail in the water so that the mast is approximately perpendicular to the wind and the clew is leeward;
  2. Get ahold of the mast about halfway between the boom and the top of the mast;
  3. Slowly lift the mast and let the wind lift the sail out of the water. If the board starts rounding up, get ahold of the mast even further toward the top of the mast;
  4. Raise the rig completely out of the water and hold the mast above forehead level without letting the board round up;
  5. Torque the board leeward by pushing with your hand nearest the bottom and pulling with your hand nearest the top of the mast;
  6. Slide your hands down the mast until your lower hand is about a foot from your relationship to the wind. Keep the board from rounding up, and transfer your upper hand to the boom and get under the sail;
  7. Get ahold of the boom with your other hand. Control the board with rig position and sheeting, and keep it slightly ahead and just to leeward of you;
  8. Get your back foot up on the board and find a balance point that allows you to keep the board perpendicular to the wind with the rig position and sheeting;
  9. Sheet in and step up smoothly;
  10. Keep your body leaned forward and sail away;

The windsurfing beach start is great for launching in the ocean (low tides), lakes and rivers, or any other shallow water area.

You will learn and improve this and other techniques in "A Beginner's Guide to Zen and The Art of Windsurfing" by Frank Fox.

Learn how to do a waterstart in windsurfing.

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