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If your goal for 2017 is to jump higher then check out Pozo high flyer Alessio Stillrich’s guide to increasing your altitude.

Words  Alessio Stillrich // Action photos  Arno Ufen


I have been sailing most of my life in one of the best spots for going as big as possible. It’s one of the most windy places on earth and most of you will know it for sure, Pozo Izquierdo. I think it is important to have the ideal conditions for going really high, you need a good ramp that is not too offshore or onshore in respect to the wind, a lot of wind or at least a lot of power in the sail and last but not least, a lot of speed.

Try to look for a wave that is really steep. Normally the optimal section is the one closest to the breaking part of the wave, but sometimes on smaller days or choppy conditions, a ramp with 90˚ is also useful to go high. Once you have seen the ramp, you have to go towards it at full speed, as fast as you can. As I said before, speed is really important, the faster you go, the more projection you get into the air.

What to do while you take off

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Once you are on the ramp, just before lifting the board into the air, the fundamental thing you need to do is to pump the sail towards your body. This movement will give you the lift into the air and helps you to get higher. When you feel that you don’t have any water under your board anymore, get your body as small as possible, tuck your back foot as much as you can and straighten the front foot. Keep the boom close to your body, the sail has to continue in that pumped position you made just before take off. Try to get the nose of your board as vertical as possible, the optimum is 90˚ from the water surface. Keep in mind that you also should keep your feet a bit pointed, this helps to get more lift from the wind as the board surface will catch more wind from underneath and lift you more.

What to do in the air?

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This is maybe the simplest part. You need to maintain the same position that you have from the steps before and open the sail a bit on the highest part. Keep the body tucked up and imagine being a small ball. It is crucial to keep the body position as stable as possible because this will make the jump much more controlled. A tip as you become more experienced is that sometimes, depending on the spot, the wind can get stronger or weaker while you rise up into the air. Try to use the gusts to get an extra bit more lift while you do a pumping movement with the sail, the same way as if you would try to get planing in windier gusts on flat water.


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Open the sail and let the power of the wind out a little bit before impact. Extend your legs a bit and use them as if they are the suspension of a car or a bike just at the moment of water contact. If you keep your legs too tucked, you will get hurt a lot in your ass and other precious body parts that are around there!

“ Keep the body position as stable as possible because this will make the jump much more controlled ”

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