Wannabe a Wavesailor with Jem Hall: One-Handed Top Turns

Duncan Slater
This month Jem Hall fully engages in his frontside series once again as he invites you to rejoice in the joyous freedom of one-handed top turns.
Photos: Dave White

Jem goes one-handed up top
Jem goes one-handed up top

Jem Hall fully engages in his frontside series once again as he invites you to rejoice in the joyous freedom of one-handed top turns. Photos: Dave White

I’m just back from another great trip to Punta San Carlos (PSC), Baja, and as with all my coaching weeks I’ve learnt a great deal from my crew and my tutoring of them. The group comprised a mix of more experienced wavesailors wanting to step up their game and relative novices who were keen to join Waveriding Club – although we all know that doesn’t exist, right?

What was amazing was that if I set them targets and they actually did them well then they moved their sailing forward. One of the targets was to get out there and do some one-handed top turns so that their hands were surfing the boom as much as they surfed the waves. Those that did a lot (more than 10) made more progress, and most importantly achieved that crucial feeling of being comfortable with being uncomfortable. In fact my main man Clive ‘El Toro’ Boden did so many that he was almost nonchalant about them, where at first he was somewhat tentative. As always the standards you set and the targets you aim to achieve will strongly affect how much you improve.

I have to say it – I love one-handed moves. I feel more free and they force me to counterbalance with more finesse while giving increased feedback from the board and rig. Over this series I have set you many challenges, so how about stepping up and doing this one?

One-handed moves get you to really counterbalance the pull of the rig using your body, and force you to consider the position of your head, hips and hands. This is crucial to developing some style in your wavesailing, and particularly in your riding. When I get people sailing one-handed their stance transforms. If I get them going one-handed front-to-sail they truly understand sail control, and if you do tail-grab jumps… Well, you know what that does for you.

I will revert to my trusty formula for this move:

Who? This move is for people who are happy making frontside bottom and top turns in cross-off to cross-on. You don’t have to be ripping to do it.

What? As you’re going up for your top turn it’s a dropping of the front hand as you drive through the wave to redirect.

Where? Off small to medium and relatively green waves – i.e. not too steep or critical and on an open face, and perhaps as a cut-back to the steeper section of the wave.

Why? This is another trigger move that will boost your confidence, technique, hand positioning and style.

When? As for all moves do it when you’re fresh in your first hour of sailing after getting a couple of rides under your belt to warm up. Have a session of 30 minutes on it and no more – and do one on every waveride!

How? Just let that front hand drop and feel the joy.

Click here to read Jem’s Wannabe 266 article in full…

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