The first experiences of windsurfing among the waves can be frustrating: they all pass under your board and you don't catch a single one. But acquiring the right waveriding technique will open the doors to a magical discipline, perhaps the most exciting of windsurfing, which really puts you in contact with the sea.
Waveriding: basic technique for catching and riding waves
On this site, we have already dedicated some articles to the rules of right among the waves, and to the main waveriding maneuvers. But if you don't know how to catch waves, these articles will be useless to you. So, we thought we'd take a step back and share with you our experience in the basic waveriding technique: how to catch waves, and how to do bottom turns and cut back.
Let's start by saying that in this article we will analyze frontside waveriding, i.e. the technique of riding the waves, during which the descent into the wave through, the bottom turn and the cut back (see below) are carried out with the rider's face looking towards the wave crest and wall.
Another very important preliminary consideration is that the direction with which the wind impacts the wave is fundamental and determines significant differences in the technique to be used, but also a different level of difficulty. The overall simplest condition (but not entirely problem-free) is the one in which the wind arrives side-off on the wave, i.e. it reaches the wave by impacting its wall frontally (not its back) with an oblique direction. We will mainly deal with this condition, to add, during the explanation, some other considerations in the case in which the wind arrives on the wave side, or side-on. This last one condition (side on wind), very frequent in many spots in the Mediterranean, or in other closed seas, in which the waves are mainly generated by the local wind (windswell), and both have almost the same proceeding direction, is the condition, in some ways, more complicated in waveriding.
That said, let's begin a step by step explanation. And if you have some doubts if waveriding is worth doing, enjoy the first video below, with me in action in the fantastic spot of Funtana Meiga, Sardinia.
Central part omitted. The reading of the main part of this article is reserved to Waterwind Supporters. To become a Supporter, click here.
By exiting the cut back, and returning to go down the wave, you can go back upwind, to bring you back close to the section where the wave is unrolling in order to exploit it as much as possible in waveriding, and to not lose too much water (since in waveriding you drift a lot). Or, you can keep sailing abeam, and immediately set a new bottom. Finally, you can escape from the wave that is closing out, moving far ahead of it. This depends on the behavior of the wave, but also on what is on the shore in front of you!
For example, if you have a rocky coast, such as in Hookipa or Cala Pischina, in Sardinia, once you start riding the wave you will not have to go upwind too much, but you will continue in a certain number of bottom turns, until you jibe on the shoulder wave to leave it, to avoid being pushed by the wave onto the rocks (see video below). If you have sandy spots, and with a stretch of flat water, in the inside, in front of the breaking zone, you will be able to go upwind more, and ride the wave until it has lost power, to tack (preferable option, if the wave has completely lost power, so as not to lose further water) or jibe, at the end of the ride, and head back out to sea, to start the game again.
I hope this explanation can be useful to you.
If you have any suggestions or considerations, you can insert them in the comments below at the end of the article.