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National Windsurfing Championships 2018
Iona receiving her trophy from Guy Cribb having come first in her fleet (4.5m)

Cool Moves

Nayra watching a cool move
Date Date: 04/05/10
It was during a rather less-than-taxing light wind session in Dahab that I began to wonder which trick I really should start to learn. What is the coolest move in windsurfing?

But 'cool' is notoriously hard to define. Witness the fights on Top Gear over the Cool Wall. Also, in most instances, what is cool goes in and out of fashion - or so Jane tells me when she rummages through my wardrobe. (Although you could argue that the ultimate in cool is something that never goes out of fashion: 'that little black number' or, for the boys, the Aston Martin DB5).

So back to windsurfing... how should cool be interpreted? Is it a personal hurdle thing ? i.e. the move that really opens up your windsurfing? Is it the most spectacular trick possible? Or should it be the hardest one? To some, speed is the ultimate cool.. but is 'speed' a move as such?

So after thinking long and hard I have come up with my coolest 5 moves in windsurfing and invite your comments. I'd like to think my stature is more Jeremy Clarkson than Richard Hammond so I reserve the right to push my entries up the wall, out of reach of others.

Number 5: The Waterstart

This move alone isn't going to get you through to the final stages of the Aloha Classic, but if you can't do it, you certainly won't be there. This is definitely an 'unlocking' move. Unless you sail inland on big kit or sail only formula boards then coastal sailing really is something you're never going to feel comfortable with until you can waterstart. Only then can you get off that supertanker and onto a fast, highly-manoeuvrable board. You also won't have the confidence to try many other new moves until you feel able to get back on your board with confidence whatever the wind strength and water state.

Number 4: Air Chacho (a.ka. the fruitloop)

This move came along when moves were starting to fall into one of two camps: either spectacular or fiendishly-difficult-but-a-bit-samey (I think 'technical' is the correct adjective to use if you want to avoid upsetting half the teenage population of Venezuela). The same old tricks were now being done clew-first, switch-stance, one-handed - all very laudable but often leaving the crowds feeling a bit short-changed.

Ricardo then showed us the air chacho - which was both. This is basically a duck gybe with a forward-loop half way through. A big move - and the crashes are even bigger. And I've yet to hear of one being done clew-first, switch-stance blah blah blah...

Number 3: Carve Gybe

OK, a bit old school for some but to many others it is their Everest. It is hard not to be impressed by a good carve gybe - one where the exit speed appears higher than the entry speed. Technically, it is only a proper carve gybe if the board is still planing when you come out which means there is a good argument for saying it is impossible to do a bad carve gybe - there are not many moves which are as black and white as this.

But I reckon the best thing about the carve gybe is from a personal development point of view. Once you have ticked this box then really the burden of learning this leaves you, and you open your mind to finding loads of other ways to crash.

Number 2: One-Handed Aerial off the Lip

Josh Angulo, Cabe Verde. If you don't know what I am on about, beg, borrow or steal a copy of the Windsurfing Movie. I think 'iconic' is the term I am looking for here?

Number 1: The Forward

This HAS to be number 1 - and this is because it quite simply it ticks all the boxes and never goes out of fashion. Partly this is due to the number of variations the move spawns, but let's start from the beginning:

Firstly, A forward is spectacular. Whether it is a flatwater attempt pulled off yards from the beach or a huge end-over-end off a wave, everyone notices them (and notices the crashes even more).

Secondly, the sense of spectacle extends even to non-windsurfers. During the London Indoor competitions, no matter what tendon-tweaking freestyle tricks were pulled off, it was the flat water forwards that always raised the biggest cheers from the crowd. They are always crowd-pleasers, of that there is no doubt.

The forward is also a personal thing. At one level, like the waterstart and the carve gybe it is a measure of your ability and, more importantly, attitude in windsurfing. However unlike the carve gybe and waterstart it is far more than just a box that has been ticked. It is a real confidence move and learning to forward goes beyond windsurfing - it is a moment of confronting and overcoming your fears.

Finally, the forward has been around for decades now but it is still downright cool. My final piece of evidence is the timeless RIP by a certain Mr Naish. Ever since I first saw this video I was drawn to a huge stalled forward (ironically performed by one of the great man's friends rather than Robby himself - I cannot identify the friend, but it is 18mins into the movie if you are interested).

Freestyle moves date, there is no doubt of this. But a huge jump in mast high waves certainly doesn't. So surely the pinnacle of cool is to undertake a big jump, get to the apex and then seemingly as an afterthought throw in a casual looking forward - just for the sake of passing the time on the way down?

I rest my case.

Last updated: 04/05/10 21:55 By: Andrew
Views: 1807

Added by jonathan on 04/05/10

Nayra watching a cool move

Nayra deciding what is 'cool'....

Added by Duncan on 04/05/10

Nice list Jonathan. However remember I'm as tall as you so don't go trying any of that Top Gear 'sticking it at the top of the wall' lark!

However if you're going to put in any 'New school' move it has to be the humble Vulcan. The move that started it all and spawned the whole of planinn modern freestyle. And even though it's now the long lost grandparent of the moves the pros are doing it's still fiendishly difficult to do for anyone over the age of puberty without destroying body and soul. Just go to Dahab and watch the middle aged Neilson staff reducing their life expectancy every day.

Having said all that my number one would be the body drag. Now cynics may say that's just because I can do them, and there'd be an element of truth. But honestly, what's not to like about a move where you're planing happily along, decide to jump off and dangle yourself in the water and then leap back on, still planing and for no apparent reason.


Added by Carl on 05/05/10

Great List. I think a top gear style wall of all the coolest moves nowadays would you would need the side of a sky scraper to fit it all on. I'm not so sure about the body drag, Duncan, went off them ever since I lost a boot, but then I probably wasn't really that cool, wearing boots in the first place! I agree about the Vulcan though, I must be well into a year of trying those and have yet to land one and even if I did I would most probably just fall off anyway because I still can't sail switch with both feet in the straps. Johnathan is right though, the forward has to be number one. Easy according to those that can do it, a physical and mental impossibility to those that can't. Either way, when someone pulls off a nice forward it makes everyone stop and look round. I would love to learn but somehow it never seems the right day.

Added by Lawrence on 05/05/10

... Jonathan I think you may have upset Duncan.

Duncan has spent years practicing & perfecting the upwind & downwind 360, & you have failed to put it in your top 5! ... just like the body drag. Both being manouvres that serve no purpose, loads of effort to end up going in same direction ;)

I'd vote for the waterstart, planing carve gybe & fwd loop two in the same order you had them in... have not got a clue about the other two moves you mentioned, I slow-mo'ed many freestyle tricks & can't even get my head around how to even initiate them.

I don't think I would have had waterstart in my original list if I had not read your explanation first, but it seemed a well thought out argument that left me agreeing.

Right, I'm off to start my 'windsurf kit' cool wall.......

Last updated: 09/05/10 20:16 By: johng

Added by beth on 05/05/10

My vote is for a perfect aerial off-the-lip off a mast high wave - check out moves at Punta Preta competitions...oh if only...or maybe you're right a forward - as Carl says it's never the right time.

Added by Lawrence on 05/05/10

....think the coolest in vids I've seen has got to be Robbie Naish pulling a forward on a Mistral Equipe long race board.......just going to show, its not the equipment under your feet that matters, it's what you do with it ;)

......looping a longboard for pete's sake - there's looping, & then there's loopy!

Added by Duncan on 06/05/10

I did once see someone loop a Starboard Go. Wouldn't have minded but it was mine!

Added by Lawrence on 06/05/10

.......don't think I would have admitted to having a 'Go' if I were you Duncan ;)

.......BTW the kids send their love 'Uncie Duncie' ;)

Added by Duncan on 06/05/10

Hey don't knock it, it was a good board!