In this article I want to talk a bit about the best stance on the board for speedwindsurfing. You need to try to get the maximum effieciency out of your gear while still keeping control over your gear to go really fast.
Take a look at the picture above. What you can see here is, that you’ll want to get your center of gravity as far away from your rig as possible. The more weight you can get out there, the bigger your lever is. This lets you put more pressure onto the board, therefore giving you a better accelaration. It’s also the reason why bigger and heavier guys are usually faster. If you are not that big and heavy like myself (180cm/83kg) it just means you have to learn a good technique to make up for it 😉
While in speed-stance I recommend you stretch your front leg out and make it as straight as possible while you will almost automatically bend the back leg a little bit. Keep in mind to keep as much body tension as possible. This will stabilize the board. Less movement in the board results in less drag and therefore more speed.
What do you do with your arms and hands? It is god to stretch out the arms as much as possible while still keeping the majority of the weight on your harness. Also I like to do a reverse grip with the front hand while doing an over grip with the back hand. A lot of guys are doing this, but actually I think this is pretty much up to preference.
How to set your gear to adapt your speedsurfing stance:
Keep in mind that most speedsurfing guys are self-tought. There are a lot of different styles out there and many guys are fast while setting up their gear very differently. So I can really only tell you what works for me!
- Harness lines
As mentioned above I like to stretch my arms out as far as possible while still keeping most of the stress on the harness. For me 30 inch harness lines do the job, in some cases 28’s or 32’s. Of course if you have longer or shorter arms you will need different lenghts here.
I like to put the footstraps really far to the back in good flat conditions. If you have the footsteps more towards the front the board will ride lower and will produce more drag, yet will also give you better control in most cases. If you put the footsteps more towards the back the board will ride more freely. This results in less drag and more speed. Be careful though, if the board is lifting up to much you will not keep control and go slower again. You’ll want to keep the board as steady as possible, while lifting onto the fin as much as possible to give you a smaller wetted area of the board. It’s a fine line and I can basically just tell you to play around with that until you find a setting that works for you.
- Boom height
The same I mentioned above goes for this setting. If you put the boom up, the rig will produce more lift and the board will ride more freely. If you lower the boom the board will ride more flat, yet you have much better control over your rig especially in higher winds. Also I lower my boom a little bit as I change to smaller sails.
- Downhaul tension
This is a difficult topic to adress in such a general article. The downhaul tenison depends on so many factors like weight and height of the rider, your sail, your mast, your preference, etc. What I can say in general is that you should put maybe 0,5cm less tension on your sail compared to a slalom setting. Also, when you feel overpowered with your sail, but don’t want to rig down yet, just adjust your sail by adding a little bit of downhaul tension.
This one is quite easy: Just use as little tension as possible here! This will give you a full sail with lots of power. Also make sure to check your outhaul tension again after adjusting the boom height as it will change! Also if you feel the sail has to much power and the wind is really strong you can give a little bit of outhaul tension. This will make the sail more controllable.
I hope I could help one or two of you with this article, as some of those tips really helped me progress when I started to get into speedwindsurfing. Keep in mind though that I am not a Pro rider and these are just the things I’ve found to help me personally. Some people might use different settings/technique and it works for them. Just be sure to not be lazy when speedsurfing and play with the settings of your gear and work on your stance to be ready for that record breaking day!