Sailing Backwinded

Learning to backwind and sail on the leeward side of your rig is an important thematic in windsurfing providing the groundwork for masterful sail control... Backwinding to a freestyler is like sketching to an artist. Just like an artist who sketches becomes a better artist; a windsurfer who practices backwinding becomes a better windsurfer. The more you practice the better your overall windsurfing will be... Oh ya, its also great fun.
Step 1 instruction for Sailing Backwinded
Step 2 instruction for Sailing Backwinded
Step 3 instruction for Sailing Backwinded
Step 4 instruction for Sailing Backwinded
Step 5 instruction for Sailing Backwinded
Step 6 instruction for Sailing Backwinded
Step 7 instruction for Sailing Backwinded
Step 8 instruction for Sailing Backwinded
Step 9 instruction for Sailing Backwinded
Step 10 instruction for Sailing Backwinded
Step 11 instruction for Sailing Backwinded
Step 12 instruction for Sailing Backwinded
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Rider: Royn Bartholdi


Tips for step 1)   Unhook, get out of the foot straps, and rake the sail back like you are going into a tack. Keep your body weight forward.
Tips for step 2)  Step in front of the mast and anchor the front foot. This will be your pivot point for the backwinding.
Tips for step 3)  Throw the sail forward into the eye of the wind a step hard onto the front foot. Slide the front hand back on the boom just a little. This will provide you with more leverage.
Tips for step 4)  Move the sail forward to get more of the sail exposed to the wind and to force the nose of the board into the other direction.
Tips for step 5)  The board will now be facing the other direction. Extend your arms a bit and make them slightly rigid.
Tips for step 6)  After getting backwinded, you tend to rake the sail back to the nose just a little bit so the center of effort is more to the rear of the board.
Tips for step 7)  Find the sweet spot and maintain the stability of the rig. Your head turns slightly over shoulder looking in the direction you are sailing. This feels a bit odd at first.
Tips for step 8)   Your front arm is angled across your body.
Tips for step 9)  The foot of the sail is leaning against your shin.
Tips for step 10)   Your hips are forward. Your rig will move slowly in the desired direction.
Tips for step 11)  You control the sail by pushing in and out with the clew hand in addition to moving the sail forward to the nose or backward to the tail. All these movements are subtle. Learn to feather the sail.
Tips for step 12)  Here we are. You can do this for a long time by learning to feel the wind and to be in the moment responding to the subtle changes of the wind and your rig. All connected; all in harmony. You have now entered the Zen of windsurfing.


  • Be very aggressive getting to the backwind position. Really throw the sail into the wind to get backwinded.
  • Try stepping a little further in front of the mast if you are initially having trouble getting backwinded. This will cause you to be more centered over the board in addition to putting more force on the nose of the board.
  • To get in the backwinded position, visualize the mast as a wedge that slices thru the wind then push on the clew to get backwinded.


  • Try to go as long as you can; try to backwind in chop; and learn both directions.
  • In really light conditions, put your hands on the bottom instead of the booms.
  • Do this no-handed by placing your knees against the sail.