How to do a waterstart in windsurfing

Waterstart: an intermediate windsurfing skill | Photo:

The waterstart is an intermediate skill in modern windsurfing. Fast progressing beginners will rapidly feel the need to eliminate the hassle of uphauling.

Waterstarting is easy. It only requires training and winds blowing in the 10-knot range and above.

It has very little to do with your blasting ability.

You may waterstart on any board, but it will be especially useful if you're on a shorter board.

The windsurfing waterstart is basically a deep-water beach start, where the power of the wind lifts you up onto the board rather than stepping up onto it.

Windsurfing Waterstart 101

You should train the waterstart in shoulder-depth water. Here's how to do it:

  1. Make sure the board is aligned across the wind;
  2. Align the mast across the wind before trying to elevate the rig out of the water;
  3. Let the wind fill the sail;
  4. When the rig is raised above your head, push with your front hand and pull with the back to turn the nose away from the wind, or vice-versa to turn into the wind;
  5. Slowly bring the back foot up on the board between the straps;
  6. Raise the rig and twist it forward. The sail will be totally exposed to the wind, and you'll pop up in a low stance;

Always be careful not to pull or bend your arms too much or stand up too soon.

Avoid lifting the hips up excessively or bringing the front foot up onto the board too soon.

If the clew catches in the water, immediately pull down on the mast and draw it to windward to get the rig horizontal and clear the clew.

If you lift the mast, the clew will drag even more.

Learn more about intermediate and advanced windsurfing techniques in "Windsurfing" and "RYA Advanced Windsurfing."

Find the best windsurfing books.

  • Dutch environmental activist and windsurfer Merijn Tinga, also known as the "Plastic Soup Surfer," has made an audacious journey from Oslo to London, braving the North Sea's currents and winds, to call attention to the pervasive problem of plastic pollution.