View Full Version : Front Foot First or Back Foot First

19th September 2011, 09:27 PM
I am looking for some feedback regarding your style of getting into the foot straps after a beach start, water start or gybe. Some extensive dialogue has been ongoing on another forum regarding this technique. It started with a novice asking which foot to put into the strap first once on plane, front or back?

It seem that there are differing opinions, and what people do seems to depend on what type of sailing they do and on what type of board.

Please give a brief explanation of what you do and if there should be any differences between learning strap use and what an advanced sailor would normally do. What about the PWA slalom sailors? I have tried to watch their videos to see, but they usually don't follow the sailor long enough through a gybe to get a good look.

I won't share my believes at this time.

mark h
19th September 2011, 11:16 PM
Hi Ken

When I first started windsurfing, I used to go for the back footstrap first too avoid being catapulted. Nowadays, it's strictly front footstrap first. Slalom boards and boards in general are pretty short, and need to be stuffed downwind to get going. Front footstrap first makes it easier to stuff the nose off the wind.

On little speedboards, if sailing super over-powered, I do waterstart in both footstraps. Its tricky at first but helps avoid struggling to get your feet in the straps with a 6.3m in 35/40k winds.

Iv'e never seen a PWA slalom guy/girl go back footstrap first.

I have a friend that still goes for the back footstrap on all of his slalom boards. He is not very strong, and likes to be powered to overpowered but hates getting slammed which is why he goes for the back footstrap first ( or so you he say's).

19th September 2011, 11:37 PM
Great question !!!

I nearly always now go back foot first; I know its against "current" thinking (fashion??) but after experimenting I found I can get board planing quicker this way.I also think its more secure as mentioned earlier. (back foot can hel[p stop catapult) On a recent holiday with a bit of coaching thrown an instructor tried to get me to revert back but after watching video replays of both (filmed from mast) he accepted it was probably quicker onto plane for me back foot first.Suspect sailor weight plays a big part; watching lighter sailors on similar size boards I could see that front foot first had less effect on board than when I do it. (I`m 105 k)

Really think we should get away from this right and wrong attitude.. Instructor was also trying to get me to use longer narrower spaced harness lines... I found longer lines far more tiring on arms; less stable and more likely to catch back into hook during gybing.. He insisted narrower spaced lines give more feel to the hands; I suggested this was the case but gave less feedback to the harness ??? (Was quite funny ;as he was having a go I was flicking through an old boards mag... Dunkerbeck had well spaced shortish lines ...

Each to his own... No right or wrong... What works for you works...

20th September 2011, 02:00 AM
I guess I should add that the information I am gathering is not for my sailing, but hopefully to support my thinking in an ongoing debate. Plus it may just help someone else just getting into the straps to see what others are doing.

I am secure in what I do and believe it is the correct way for my sailing conditions and boards,but others have differing opinions.

Chris Pressler
20th September 2011, 02:59 AM
Hi guys,
I would suggest that you get firts your front foot in the straps. This gives a natural stance. The back foot is placed in between the front and back straps, along the the center line of the board. When you feel a bit of acceleration you get in the back strap. More skills you have faster you can do it. Th eother way around is out of my view harder due to the fact that the stance is super wider and you give the board the chance to turn upwind or into the wind.

Check out Iballa Moreno setting her feet up after a jibe: http://www.continentseven.com/2011/04/22/carve-jibe-iballa-moreno/

Hope it helps and come back to me, if you need any support!


20th September 2011, 10:14 PM
Unless the wind is super light, I always put right foot first whatever the tack (sometimes on port I have to pull it back quickly). IMHO a light sailor doesn't need to push downwind that much to get planing, provided there is a bit of power in the sail. Long years ago an experienced sailor told me that going in the straps would help launching the board. I'm still struggling with that idea and most often I will wait until the board if half/full on plane. So front foot first...OK. And what about harness? On the video it looks like the right sequence is front strap-harness-back strap... but everything goes so fast.

21st September 2011, 04:11 AM
I jump into mine so they both go in together ! Best of both worlds ...

I normally put my right shoe on first if that helps.

21st September 2011, 12:48 PM
I tend to be open for new ideas, but in this case there is only one correct way. Front foot first!

21st September 2011, 02:06 PM
I use the same sequence whenever for straight line blasting (1) or on jibe exit (2): pumping the sail to start the planing with both feets on the median line of the hull, insert front foot into front footstrap, pump the sail again, hook in and insert back foot into back footstrap.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbsdR59Ogcs (1)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HU4YnWEc6nc (2)

In super overpowered conditions, I usually do the waterstart hooked in and with both feets footstrapped, no matters the board and sail size.

I would avoid to footstrap the back foot first because it's super easy to either spin out or stall the board speed while pumping the sail and starting the planing with an unwanted excess of back foot pressure.

Cheers !

21st September 2011, 05:36 PM
I always put my front foot first, I guess like most of us.
In heavy overpowered conditions with huge chop I still put my front foot first, flirting sometimes with the catapult. Putting first the last foot in, would too often result in spinning out or stalling the board.

22nd September 2011, 04:55 AM
Still cant sign in !!!

Think its a bit simplistic to say back or front first without knowing where you are coming from (and what you are sailing) Any sailor going from slogging to straps doesnt do it in one simple step;its more of a process.There are instances when its simple but generally there is a couple of small steps towards the straps. In most cases I step towards back with rear foot placing it somewhere in front of rear strap;then place front foot in ;then if well powered put rear one in; so thats sort of front foot first??? But if I know I`m going to be well powered and front foot isnt too far forward I`ll put rear in first and then front soon after ???

If I`m over powered or its very rough I like to get back foot in first but I know I`m rear foot biased . Most instructors will tell you front foot first but I also think there are situations/sailor types where rear first is advantageous.. but there are few (if any?) situations where I would sail with front foot out and rear in but there are lots where I remove rear and place it mid board so it probably (???) makes sense to put front in first ? (You are already in a natural sailing position?) You arent with rear in front out ? But you are more likely to catapult with front in rear out ????

There are arguments for both ... Despite what it says in coaching manuals !!!


28th September 2011, 10:26 PM
Normally, as most windsurfers, I put front foot first. In overpowered conditions I concider rear foot first to avoid the catapulte feeling when putting front foot first and then lifting backfoot to get in strap. It feels much safer to start with backfoot in hard conditions. Anyway I think it is good to have the choice and I recommend all mediate surfers to learn put back foot first:

If You donīt manage the two possibilities - You donīt have the choice!

4th October 2011, 01:40 PM
If you put your back foot in first your going to putting presssure on it so this pressure will cause the board to spin out. Putting the front foot in helps control and stabalise the plane as one foot is in the straps so it does not cause any spin outs and you can put your back foot in

5th October 2011, 04:31 AM
It must depend where your other foiot is ???

Its impossible to put front foot straight into strap from standing at our near mast foot; you`d be crossed over ! So you must step back towards rear strap with your back foot first. Question should be do you out it straight in at that point or somewhere infront to put front foot in...

Previous poster must be wearing clogs or hob nailed boots !!! Reckon you can put your back foot on tail of board without spinning out IF YOU ARE CAREFUL !!!

Being able to do both and knowing when to make right choice is way to go....

12th October 2011, 12:53 AM
I really can not see why You will find Yourself in a spinout-position when You are going to start planing with back foot first. The board is normally downwind position when You start. I was out on the water today and used back foot first to start planing in gusts, without beeing near any spinout-feeling. It is very easy when You have learn the tecnique and after some training You could even (in hard gusts) accelerate better with back foot first. If the conditions are easyer - use front foot first. If the conditions are ruffer - consider back foot first and You will automatically avoid catapulting.

12th October 2011, 05:27 PM
Maybe it doesn't matter that much when you're well powered, you will have enough speed/pressure on the fin to avoid spinout. Front foot first is probably better in light or unsteady breeze when you must help the board to get/keep planing or pump the sail. In such conditions going too fast in rear strap will most often slow down or stall the board.

12th October 2011, 09:45 PM
There was a heated debate on the iwindsurf.com forum on this issue and I wanted to gather additional input from a broader base, so that's why I posted the question here. However, the BFF postion basically came from one hard line guy that sails in the Gorge.

In a nut shell, what one does depends on skill/experience, equipment, type of sailing and conditions. There is no one absolutely correct answer.

My own experience is that 100% of the time, I put my FFF. I never get pulled or tossed over the front when doing this. I find that I plane up faster (keep the board flatter), feel more secure, plus I can keep the board planing longer in a hole with only the FF in the straps (when falling off plane, I pull the back foot and center it on the board). When I pump to get on plane, I do it before getting into the straps, once planing, I go for the front stap. However, I do pump with the front foot in the strap occasionally if trying to get through a hole without falling off plane.

If you are happy with the BFF, go for it if it works for you.

15th October 2011, 10:18 PM
Ken - I am always happy windsurfing both with FFF and BFF!

95 % I use FFF but after this dialogue I pobably be a little bit more happy in rest 5 %! Best Regards /Pelegrin

17th October 2011, 07:12 PM
Normally FFF. This because they teached me to waterstart with the back foot, as it seems to be right and common, and then if wind is strong, in few seconds I put the other foot in the straps, with no more steps around on the deck.