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Tacking is more difficult than jibing, and the fast tack on small boards is really a tough maneuver to learn, because it requires perfect timing and movements; it almost doesn't forgive anything, since you have to slip into the wind, and to overcome a phase in which the sail has no lift, and you have nothing to hold onto. In this article, I will try to share my experience so far, in this regard.


Windsurf, maneuvers: Fast tack on small windsurf board

Knowing how to tack well on every kind of board is important, even when there are no obstacles downwind, that prevent us jibing. Infact, it is useful if we need to gain water windward. When you are properly powered with the sail, or even overpowered, going upwind it is not a problem. In that case, indeed, jibing becomes almost an obvious choice to deliberately go back downwind. But when you are not powered to perfection, or the wind is unstable, or when you are trying new maneuvers, and consequently you easily lose water, tacking is really important. Even in waveriding frontside (wind that comes basically from the stern of the board, and you face the wave crest, when you point to it), tacking is important, as when you are surfing the wave you tend to drift a lot. Moreover, the wave boards do not plan close upwind, and, therefore, do not allow to gain much water while riding.   


That said, let's examine together the phases of the maneuver, and the essential movements to be performed on small board (obviously, with referring to the rider's weight).

We are gliding. If we have good speed, and especially if, entering the wind, we will meet formed waves, it is better to accelerate before you start to luff. To do this, you should ride a short distance at the beam, if we are going tightly upwind. Gained good speed, you start to get into the wind. 


Windsurf Bordighera Liguria 263

Windsurf Bordighera Liguria 264

Windsurf Bordighera Liguria 265



Virata 2b

Virata 3b

At this point, you get your foot out of the back strap, and you put it as close as possible to the front foot (still stuck in the strap), positioning it on the windward rail. Personally, I believe that, especially on fsw or wave boards, it is not necessary to push a lot with the heel of the back foot to make the board luff. Rather, you should slightly slide the rig toward the stern (element in common with the base tack), as this will turn out useful in the moment in which we pass in front of the mast: the weight of the body will be better opposed to the weight of the rig. If the rig is too advanced in this passage, almost inexorably you will fall forward, or otherwise you'll make the bow sink, which is not always remediable. However, I think it is very important, when the water surface is not flat (and tends to slow down the board), and/or when you are on small boards (maybe a wave board), that quickly lose the planing, to change side with the board still planing, or, at least, at good speed. This allows you to have good body support when passing in front of the mast.


Windsurf Bordighera Liguria 266

Windsurf Bordighera Liguria 267

Windsurf Bordighera Liguria 268

Windsurf Bordighera Liguria 269

Windsurf Bordighera Liguria 270

Windsurf Bordighera Liguria 271

Windsurf Bordighera Liguria 272


Virata 4b

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This is what I understood so far. I would like to receive comments, suggestions and your opinions about how to perform this maneuver.

Hang loose. Fabio


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Below, I show a few videos (some in slow motion), to understand better the movements of the maneuver.


And, finally, a great video, in which Colin Dixon explain this maneuver in a very clear way

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