Vulcan: a fundamental maneuver in freestyle windsurfing | Photo: Carter/PWA

The vulcan is a fundamental maneuver in modern freestyle windsurfing. After mastering it, you'll be ready to learn many new moves.

The history of windsurfing tells us that the vulcan, invented in the 1990s by Josh Stone, is the trick that paved the way for the freestyle revolution.

In other words, the vulcan is nothing more than a maneuver in which you jump, turn the board 180 degrees, get around to the other side of the boom, slide backward, and stop.

You can see it as a jumped jibe or a new school way of turning around. However, you must be prepared to try and fail several times before doing it right.

You'll only beat frustration with practice, so don't despair. Try to find a flat water spot with a little chop, and go for it on a beam or close reach.

There are three critical stages when performing a vulcan: the pop, the rotation, and the slide.

Vulcan 101

Here's how to do it:

  1. Head across the wind and find a small chop;
  2. Slide the front hand forward on the boom close to the mast;
  3. Make sure your back hand sheets the rig in;
  4. Get your feet in the foot straps;
  5. Adopt a body stance that keeps the board flat;
  6. Transfer the weight from the back foot to the front foot;
  7. As you pop, the tail will start leaving the water;
  8. Sheet in aggressively with the back hand and release it;
  9. Move the head to look behind you quickly;
  10. Tuck up with the back leg to allow the board to rotate;
  11. Grab the other side of the boom close to the mast with your back hand;
  12. Keep the mast at the same angle throughout the whole process;
  13. Work your hands down the boom;
  14. Gently sheet the sail in as the board comes to the end of the slide;
  15. Sink your weight upwind until the board starts moving forward;
  16. When the rig resumes sailing, switch stance;

Remember that for the vulcan, also known as air jibe, you need to spread the hands on the boom before the pop and make sure your feet are deep enough in the foot straps.

A fluid weight transfer movement between the pop, the rotation, and the touchdown phases is critical.

For more beginner, intermediate, and advanced maneuvers, get "Tricktionary 3: Windsurfing Bible."

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