Windsurfing Instruction for Starts

There are three ways to get started in windsurfing:   you can either start from land (Beach-Start), start in the water by standing on the board an pulling up the sail (up-halul), or you can start while laying in the water (Water-Start).  

1. Beach Starts

There are two types of Beach-Starts.   The Standard Beach Start  where the water is more or less not moving and the the Advanced-Beach-Start where the water is rushing in and out in the form of a rip current, also known as shore break.   This requires a very specific technique and I will add this to my tutorial at some future date.

2. Uphauled Starts

3. Water Starts

In the beginning you probably learned to start from the water by standing on the board and uphauling the sail.   A physical demanding technique indeed, requiring good balance, a strong back, and friendly winds!  But eventually you will need to learn the Standard Water Start and use the sail to pull you out of the water.  After this technique has been learned then the Light Wind Water Start is a helpful technique so you can water start in almost any condition.

Going beyond the purely functional techniques are a few creative methods to play with while you are hanging out at the beach.   The  Clew ForwardFin Forward, Fin & Clew Forward, Switch, Switch & Clew Forward. 


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Video Play List

  • Beach Start -   from some rocks
    Play This Video
    Remember to walk your rig to the beach with the bottom of the board facing into the wind. I have seen people (during my windsurfing career) walk down to the water with the rig reversed; only to be met with disaster as the rig flips over the top of them. Yikes! Remember to place the board into the water so that the tail is down wind. In this video I just hop on the board, however stepping on the board is a more predictable approach.
    Rider = Royn Bartholdi
  • Clew 1st Water Start
    Play This Video
    Sometimes we fall into the water such that we are clew first in the water. You can water start from this position by pointing the nose of the board off the wind so you are mounting the board more from the rear. You will also need to really extend the forward arm (I mean really extend) so the center of effort pulls you out of the water. This is because the center of effort is more toward the rear than normal in that the sail is facing the wrong direction.
    Rider = Royn Bartholdi
  • Fin 1st Water Start
    Play This Video
    Sometimes we fall in the water with the board facing the wrong way. You can water start fin first. The board will be really unstable once you have stood up because you are now standing on a saucer with no fin. The most difficult aspect will be rotating the board to the correct direction by steering and shuffling your feet to rotate the board.
    Rider = Royn Bartholdi

Move Definitions for Starts

Beach Start: Starting to sail from the beach by stepping on your board and taking off without the sail touching the water.
Standard Water Start: Your standard water start on a short board.
Light Wind Water Start: Water starting with very little wind so you have to use the sail as a counterbalance to get out of the water.
Clew 1st Water Start: Water starting clew first. In other words, the clew is facing forward.
Fin 1st Water Start: Water starting fin first. In other words, the board is backwards so you are stepping onto the nose of the board.
Clew 1st, Fin 1st Water Start: Water starting fin first and clew first. In other words, the board is backwards so you are stepping onto the nose of the board in the clew first position.
Switch Stance Water Start: You are already in the straps switch stance and floating the sail.
Water Start: Switch, Clew-1st: Switch stance, Clew first and floating the sail.