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  1. #1
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    Question Front/back foot bottom turn

    As a beginner, for years you learn to stay back to avoid catapulting.

    Then you have to re-learn to lean forward to jibe properly.

    Then you think you got it, and for your bottom turn in waves you just use pretty much the same stance as your jibe entry.

    And then you learn that in onshore conditions you have to use your back foot to steer the board in your bottom turn...

    Why so? Is it because in side-shore you have to keep more speed without using the sail so much, so you use your rail more and your sail less, while in onshore you have to carve tighter and you use the sail to keep the speed (so you favor a tight carve over speed)???

  2. #2
    Senior Member Silicon Beach's Avatar
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    Yes, I agree with you about most of that. It is a constant learning curve and the balance between back and front foot is one of the most crucial things. As you say it definitely changes between X-off, sideshore, and X-on ... between different locations ... and personally I think even between different waves at the same spot.

    I sail the same spot all the time, but I'm continually experimenting with exactly what you're talking about. My current approach for a lot of the waves here is to split the onshore bottom turn into three phases:
    1 - go up the wave backside to the top, just before it breaks, then pivot the board around to frontside as tight as possible using lots of back foot (maybe 80% back - 20% front).
    2 - transfer my weight to the front foot (maybe 40% back - 60% front) as I drop down the wave frontside, sheet in, and carve the board on the front part of the rail.
    3 - in the last part of the bottom turn, increasingly tighten the turn using back foot pressure again, but also 'pushing' the board up the wave with the front foot (so, maybe 55% back - 45% front) to face back at the wave, go as vert as possible and hit the lip.

    But then other waves are different. For instance if I come over the back of the wave (ps only when there's nobody in the way!) I miss out stage 1 and just carve the board hard straight away on the front foot / rail.

    It's an interesting subject for discussion. I'm sure our resident wave-writer will have something to say about it (Tomas?).

    ps also re gybes - only 50% of my gybes are full speed front foot gybes now - eg inside gybes on flatter water where I want to come out planing, or outside gybe on swells ... a lot of my other outside gybes are tight pivot type turns using lots of back foot, to stay in position to catch a wave.
    Last edited by Silicon Beach; 19th September 2017 at 09:26 AM.
    -----------------------------
    Currently writing the World's first Windsurfing Novel: 'Too Close to the Wind' - watch this space!
    ps check out my musings from El Medano: Life on the Reef
    -----------------------------
    Boards: Quatro Supermini Thrusters: 94 & 85
    Sails: Severne Blades.

  3. #3
    I think the metaphor "pushing with you feet" in fact inflicts quite a bit of damage when progressing as a wave sailor. It is not used here but kind of lurks in the background. Turning is not only pushing the rail. In fact, initiating bottom turn is in many cases more about unweighting the board and putting it on rail. Essentially you let your board continue going straight while you lean in, angulating the board as you go. Only then comes the phase when forces make you put pressure on the board (rail, but is in fact more the bottom surface, which now is already at an angle). The front/back foot balance it essentially about how much rail you want to use in various phases of the turn. Any time you want a tighter curve, you want less rail which is achieved but transferring your weight to your back foot. It is the curve of the outline that let you do this in a relatively simple manner. it is just as much about releasing front foot and using your sail-front foot structure to pivot the nose "into" the turn.

    So essentially, the back/front distribution pattern through the turn does not depend on if it is onehore or sideshore but in the shape of the curve you need to carve. Typically though, if it is sideshore and cross off, the first part (two thirds) of the bottom turn is straighter and typically, in onshore there is some itghter curves involved int he bottom turn entry.
    There is one exception and that is if you end up getting dragged along by the sail around a section, pretty much going straight, waiting for a section to hit to reach you. Then you are going straight, while typically being very back footed. I don't really consider this a turn though, it's more like downwind sailing in search for a wave...


    Coming towards the top turn you again (ideally) have a new unweighting phase when the board is put on the new rail. Quite a complicated move, actually, but another story.




    I think that it generally helps a lot to think about "surfing the board" to turn rather than to push the rail. A good mental exercise is to think that you hold your board with one hand on each strap. Then you want to direct the board through your hand to follow some path on the wave. When you think about going down the wave, through the flats and up again you probably feel that the movement involves a particular pattern of up/down and side/side movements you you hands (feet).
    Ola H.

    – Simmer Style Boards and Sails –

  4. #4
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    This is difficult. So don't take any of it as good fish as we say up here. I don't sail sideshore and I'm not very conscious about which foot I weigh. What I have noted from watching videos of onshore riding in slow motion is that the nose of the board tends to rise in the tightest part of the turn at the bottom of the wave. But this may have as much to do with the opening up of the sail clew first as with any conscious transfer of weight to the back foot.

    As opposed to fast dtl sailing which I guess in some ways resembles a high speed flat water gybe entry, the really onshore "bottom turn" has three more or less distinct phases. You drop down the wave to get speed. You make a sharp turn at the bottom while actually reversing the wind flow over the sail. And you sail clew first back up the wave.

    Perhaps counterintuitively the biggest need for getting weight forwards is in the last phase. It's partly because with decreasing speed the tail of the board will want to sink and partly because you need to open the sail clew first by swinging it out and back so the rig won't automatically generate much mast foot pressure. So instead you hang forwards and transfer body weight on the boom (without pulling it into the body!). I've promised not to repeat myself, but it's the old opposing theme: In this instance it's body in and forwards while the rig goes out and back.

    As said above I don't know much about side shore (or big waves!) and I've never practise lay down style slalom gybes where the sail is raked to the (inside and) rear. But I believe that it's especially in such situations when the power is cut off (because you want or need to depower or loose sail power because of a lull or wind shadow) that the need to weight the front foot is the biggest. The mast foot always plays a role in keeping the board flat. And it's either done by wind power or body weight.

    In my regularily well powered up small onshore conditions I don't focus much on getting weight forwards in the first phase. I guess I use sail power both to turn off the wind and keep the nose down. Keeping the mast hand far back is crucial. Focus is on getting as much speed as possible rather on hard carving or taking up a particular body stance.

    At the bottom I move my boom hand back, oversheet and drop my body weight sharply to the inside and immediately start to swing the sail out and back. You could perhaps also think of this as just "turning the board under the sail" in the sense that you rotate your body and shoulders in the opposite direction of the turn and to compensate for the board turning around. And the more the board turns and the more speed you lose, the more forwards you need to get your hips and upper body so you can transfer an increasing amount of weight onto the mast foot through the boom.
    Last edited by boards_Tomas; 19th September 2017 at 11:38 AM.
    The infamous wavewriter

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by ultimoamore View Post
    As a beginner, for years you learn to stay back to avoid catapulting.

    Then you have to re-learn to lean forward to jibe properly.

    Then you think you got it, and for your bottom turn in waves you just use pretty much the same stance as your jibe entry.

    And then you learn that in onshore conditions you have to use your back foot to steer the board in your bottom turn...

    Why so? Is it because in side-shore you have to keep more speed without using the sail so much, so you use your rail more and your sail less, while in onshore you have to carve tighter and you use the sail to keep the speed (so you favor a tight carve over speed)???



    Let's break this down into the issues involved here.
    1) We stand back or forwards on the board to level it and the board works best when level with our weight over the centre of buoyancy. Beginners do tend to stand back too much, sailing along with the board's nose up, perhaps for fear of catapulting.

    2) Catapulting is where we fail to translate a gust into forward motion, so the board stops but the rig carries on. That may happen because of slow reactions, a badly rigged sail, or because the sail is incorrectly sheeted for the wind angle. The force of the rig is applied to the board via the mast foot and through our feet, and the beginner often catapults simply when sheeting in because the increased rig load is not applied to the board via the front foot.

    3) When we turn the board we always use the back foot to carve the rail and that means applying weight to the rail via the back leg. This is body weight and rig load applied to the SIDE of the board. The more you lean forwards when doing this, the more you keep the board level fore-and-aft, to keep good speed in the turn. If you stand back then the board slows as the tail sinks.

    4) When wave riding you keep the back foot in the strap, so you HAVE to lean forwards when initiating a bottom turn. The bottom turn is different from a carve gybe because for the gybe your back foot usually comes out of the strap and is placed further forwards and on the rail. You might help your wave turns by moving the front footstrap nearer to the mast, as that helps you get your body weight forwards.

    5) Once wave riding – with both feet in the straps – you can choose a long and fast bottom turn, or else you can load the back foot more, for a more pivotal turn. Having good leg spread between front and back strap helps you choose either option.

    6) The difference in onshore versus sideshore is not so much what you do with the board, as what you do with the rig.

    7) The rig is always sheeted to the apparent wind, and that's a mix of the true wind and the wind 'created' by your forward motion. So the sheeting angle of the rig is often different for onshore versus sideshore conditions. And what wind angle you sheet the sail to depends on the strength of the true wind and on your board speed on the moving wave.
    Last edited by basher; 19th September 2017 at 02:03 PM.
    Now back in the UK.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Bmg253's Avatar
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    There's a good view of what we should be doing in this video at 00:41.
    https://vimeo.com/234196742

    Jules Denel goes from backside upwind to frontside downwind, he seems to lean rather than weight one or other foot.

    Wish I could do that!

  7. #7
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    I once started a thread on footsteering (but got little useful response). I argued that focusing on feet is not helpful. Boards are turned by shifting body weight. Especially in toside turns the transfer of weight onto the inside rail follows rather automatically if you just drop your hips to the inside. I believe that much tripping/skipping/nosedigging/bouncing is a penalty for trying to use the feet too actively. It's a bit like hoofing around on the board during gybes.

    Also weighting the front foot becomes a question of how. With good rig control you can use wind power to shift more weight onto the front foot. If instead you just decide that you want more weight on the front foot you're likely to push down on that foot by extending your leg which may upset the board and ultimately bring your weight rearwards. That's my guess anyway.
    Last edited by boards_Tomas; 19th September 2017 at 06:36 PM.
    The infamous wavewriter

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