Steering: learn how to change the trajectory of your windsurf board | Photo: Carter/PWA

There are many ways of changing the movement of the board in windsurfing. You can tack, jibe, turn 180 degrees, and steer the rig to guide your windsurfer in a different direction.

Steering is a basic windsurfing technique. You will need to master the art of steering to make subtle changes in trajectory while sailing.

Always remember that the board will respond to the combination of your body and sail positions.

In windsurfing, steering is nothing more than just tilting the sail toward the front or back of your board.

As a result, you will steer away from the wind (bearing away) or toward the wind (luffing up).

For example, when you move the sail toward the back of the board, the front of the board will turn toward the wind.

But if you tilt the sail toward the front of the board, the nose of the board will turn away from the wind.

Steering a windsurfer is easy, but first, you need to relax your legs, tuck in your bottom and hips, get your hands should-width apart, and get your front foot behind and close to the mast.

Steering also has implications on speed. If you steer too much toward the wind, you'll slow down.

If you head away from the wind, the board will accelerate.

Steering a Windsurfer 101

Now, let's try turning your sail towards the wind, i.e., luffing up:

  1. Sail in a straight line with the board perpendicular to the wind;
  2. Look upwind and choose a goal point;
  3. Lean the rig towards the back of the board by extending your back arm;
  4. Put your weight on the back foot;
  5. The board will turn toward the wind:
  6. Resume a normal sailing position;

Time to steer away from the wind, i.e., bearing away:

  1. Move your hands three inches back on the boom;
  2. Extend your front hand towards the nose of the board;
  3. Put your weight on the front foot without leaning forward;
  4. Lower your center of gravity;
  5. The board will steer away from the wind;
  6. Return the rig to the upright position;

In both cases, try to counterbalance any movement of the sail with subtle body movements.

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