TECHNIQUE: VIDEO & TEXT


TOESIDE TACK

Enter the turn on your toeside, carve into and through the wind and then ride away heelside – Neal Gent has the tips to nail it!


TECHNIQUE: VIDEO & TEXT


TOESIDE TACK

Enter the turn on your toeside, carve into and through the wind and then ride away heelside – Neal Gent has the tips to nail it!

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INTRO - SCROLL DOWN FOR THE FULL VIDEO

Once you’ve cracked gybing on the foil, which we all know isn’t a one session process, the most obvious next challenge is learning to tack, otherwise described as turning up into and through the wind, rather than gybing downwind / turning away from the wind. Winging on the foil makes upwind riding so effortless anyway that unlike in other forms of sailing, the ground you save upwind by tacking compared to gybing isn't so essential, however, tacking is a really satisfying way to turn around, and nowhere near as difficult as you think. There are two ways to tack while wingfoiling: to enter riding on your heelside, pressuring your heels to turn up into the wind and then exit through the wind riding toeside; alternatively, you can ride along in toeside, pressure your toes to turn up into the wind, and exit the turn on your more comfortable heelside. I’d say the latter is definitely the best way to start your tacking journey; entering the turn on your toeside and carving through the wind to heelside, so you exit the turn more securely in your most comfortable stance. In your first attempts you will probably slow right down to almost stalling speed, so by coming out of the turn in your strongest heelside stance, you should have more chance of saving the manoeuvre. Foot straps do make this manoeuvre easier as you get away with more robust movements but, as you can see in the videos, strapless is fully achievable and if you're only used to riding strapless then sticking with what you're used to makes things easier anyway.

INTRO

Once you’ve cracked gybing on the foil, which we all know isn’t a one session process, the most obvious next challenge is learning to tack, otherwise described as turning up into and through the wind, rather than gybing downwind / turning away from the wind. Winging on the foil makes upwind riding so effortless anyway that unlike in other forms of sailing, the ground you save upwind by tacking compared to gybing isn't so essential, however, tacking is a really satisfying way to turn around, and nowhere near as difficult as you think. There are two ways to tack while wingfoiling: to enter riding on your heelside, pressuring your heels to turn up into the wind and then exit through the wind riding toeside; alternatively, you can ride along in toeside, pressure your toes to turn up into the wind, and exit the turn on your more comfortable heelside. I’d say the latter is definitely the best way to start your tacking journey; entering the turn on your toeside and carving through the wind to heelside, so you exit the turn more securely in your most comfortable stance. In your first attempts you will probably slow right down to almost stalling speed, so by coming out of the turn in your strongest heelside stance, you should have more chance of saving the manoeuvre. Foot straps do make this manoeuvre easier as you get away with more robust movements but, as you can see in the videos, strapless is fully achievable and if you're only used to riding strapless then sticking with what you're used to makes things easier anyway.

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TOESIDE TACKING STEPS As for all transitions, going into the move with good speed and riding high on the foil makes things easier. The foil itself is more stable when up and running with decent speed, affording you more time to manoeuvre the wing when you're not so reliant on it generating power. 1. Approach the tack on your toeside confidently quickly, not wide-eyed, edge of disaster fast. Find a speed where even if you lose some momentum you're confident that the foil won't stall. 2. You don't need to power your way through the turn using the wing. That's how windsurfers would do it, and in fact my windsurfing technique held me back in my wingsurfing tacks because the longer you hold power in the wing, the harder it is to carve into the wind; away from the wing's power. Once you’re moving nice and quickly, as soon as you're ready to tack depower the wing above your head and THEN do the turn. 3. (A little more on that wing overhead movement, which is hard to describe; you can really over exaggerate it by imagining you're throwing the wing like a javelin into the wind; leading your body into the turn. Use a straight front arm over your head and then transfer your new front hand to take over in the same position while you’re doing the carve.)

4. Now you've got that wing above your head you can concentrate on carving really hard up and through the eye of the wind and onto your new heading. As soon as you put that wing over your head and started to carve the board you’ll only be relying on the momentum you built up before initiating the manoeuvre. The harder you go into the turn, hopefully the more speed you come out of the other side with and the more time you then have to get the wing into a position where you can sheet in and cruise away. (As you get more experienced, you'll find you can pump the foil round the turn if you come close to stalling.) 5. While doing the turn you need to swap your old and new front hands on the front handle/boom, which you do above your head as your turn goes though the eye of the wind. Imagine you’re hanging from your front hand with a straight arm. As your turn brings you onto the new tack, the wing basically puts itself downwind of you where you want it. Keep the wing above and in front of you, then when you have gone through the turn and it is downwind of you again you can get hold of the back handle without having to reach. (Always trying to not 'reach' for your handles is another really good general tip for winging.) Now you’ve got both hands on and the power back you can race away on your new heelside tack looking smug!

TROUBLE SHOOTING:

From my experience 99% of failures come from not having enough speed, or commitment when it comes to carving hard into the wind. Learning is obviously much easier on flat water rather then when you have bumps / waves to manage, so try to find the flattest section of water you can and then really go for it positively. If you’re struggling to come out of the turn up on the foiling out of the turn, think about holding the wing forward in front of you. This will help prevent you putting too much weight on your back foot when you reach backwards for the back handle. That change of weight will stall the foil and / or cause you to breach. Biggest tip: keep your weight forward so you ride nice and positively!

STILL NEED TO IRON OUT YOUR GYBE?

Learn the skills by checking out this video & text instructional feature from WSW issue #01:

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