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Wannabe a Wavesailor with Jem Hall: Top Turns

17:27 25th August 2011 by Duncan Slater
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Jem top turns at PSC, Baja

Jem top turns at PSC, Baja

Jem Hall forges ahead with his fully frontside series as he gets you attacking the lip with some tantalising top turns.

Let’s take your amazing wave selection and full-power bottom turns and put them to good use by throwing some spray in your top turns. As you’re starting to get in the bottom turn groove you’ll now be in a position to arrive at the top of the wave with more speed and power, allowing you to get much more aggressive in the top turn. However, the initiation of the top turn begins much sooner than you think.

The top turn calls upon some basic skills that we use in all our windsurfing sessions:

• Look where you want to go – in this case turning back upwind.

• Bring your hands together when sailing upwind to power up the rig. In the top turn this follows through to opening up the sail, thereby powering it up.

Before we get all techy let’s keep it simple. Wavesailing is all about head and hands. Look downwind with your hands apart for your bottom turn, then look upwind with your hands together for your top turn. If you start really focusing on your head and hands in your blasting, sailing upwind, gybes and tacks, well, then you’re evolving as a wavesailor – so get on it!

Tuning

I covered this last month, so no slipping back please. It’s worth taking a look at the March issue to remind you of the key areas to look at – especially as your kit may now be poking its head up for the first sessions of the year.

By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.

Timing

With all your ocean realignment in wind and watersports you’ll now be benefiting from better timing, and at this stage of your journey will have fully realised that ‘good judgement is based on experience, and experience is the result of poor judgement.’ You must enjoy both the pain and pleasure of getting it wrong and right, and reflect on it to move forward. You will go too late up to the lip and get smacked down (over the falls), or fall off the wave (going over the back), as well as getting your timing spot-on and making that connection so that the bottom of the board is exposed to the powerful surge of the wave, redirecting you with speed and energy.

Location, location, location…

Wavesailing is hugely condition dependent and the good times flow when tide, swell direction and size, wave speed, wind direction and speed all combine to give you some kick-arse action. Cross to cross-off winds give you speed down-the-line, and cross-off especially so, as you have cleaner faces and often longer waves. We benefited from a great swell and the consistent cross-off winds last year in Punta San Carlos (PSC), Baja, and the longer waves gave my crew more opportunities to get into a flow in their turns. So please seek out these conditions to take your riding forward. Cross-off gives you easier, longer turns with plenty of speed, yet it is harder to get more vert. Cross-shore is bumpier and easier for going more vertical and making aerials. Cross-on, our standard in Europe, will be covered later.

Click here to read Jem’s Wannabe 260 article in full…

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