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Ken 19th September 2011 09:27 PM

Front Foot First or Back Foot First
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).

Unregistered 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...

Ken 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:

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


Farlo 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.

Unregistered 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.

PG 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!

Jean-Marc 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. (1) (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 !

BelSkorpio 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.

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