MOVE ON UP – WINDSURFING TECHNIQUE
JUMP THE BUMP
If you cast your minds back you might remember my “Moves that Matter” feature last year where I implored you to put the “Joy in your jumps.”
This month I am aiming to inspire, educate and enthuse you to ‘Jump the Bump’ whilst enjoying your flat water sessions.
Words Jem Hall // Photo Nicolas Jones
(This feature originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of Windsurf Magazine. To read more features like this first, Print and Digital subscriptions are available. Prices include delivery globally for 10 x issues a year!)
You may very well ask why I want you to nail the chop hop and here are 5 very good reasons:
• It gets you into a risk taking mindset, vital for wavesailing and strong wind progression.
• Trains, or improves, an entirely new set of skills.
• Helps you get more physical and thereby perhaps realising you could be both stronger and fitter.
• Boosts your wind range and ‘Progression trinity’ (planing early, sailing fast and getting upwind!).
• Assists you in experimenting and learning from tuning your kit.
“ Send it’ – push the tail down and send the nose to the sky ”
I am going to now give you all the tools and tips that you need to get a bit of air under your fins and assist you in clocking up some air miles. Now before you go off like pogo sticks it is important that, as ever, this move has some clearly defined phases which we should all be focusing on.
These phases are:
• Preparation: unhooking and coming over the board ready to ‘send it’.
• Pop: getting the nose in the air through timing, skill and physical effort.
• Propel: actively steering and flying the board in the air.
• Touch down: landing safely and efficiently.
1.Unhook and get over the board with sail open..
2.Pop and lift up on the legs and arms and then scissor the board in the air.
3. Open the sail and begin to drop the tail whilst looking forward more than I am here.
4.Land tail first with flexed legs and throw the rig upright.
5.Open the sail and steer the board off the wind with your toes down to plane out…
When I am on one of my coaching clinics and I cover ‘chop hops’, I actually joke with my people that they will love this move as it involves firstly standing over the board and bending your arms, and these are 2 actions that I’m looking for them to lose in other moves. So yes, one of the primary preparation actions is to actually unhook and get over the board with bent arms. This will allow you to use your legs to push the tail down and ‘send it’ by ‘sending’ the nose to the sky. It also sheets out the sail slightly, which releases the nose and gets it ready for flight.
Here we go then:
• Spot a bump about 10 – 30 metres away and unhook from an outboards position by bending your elbows.
• Get set up with your body inboards, low and over the board.
• Bend the back leg and face up the board to weight the tail, open the sail and bring the nose up.
• You can keep speed like this by weighting your front foot’s toes and by pulling down on your elbows.
• All of the above are important and underestimated skills. FACT: People are not good unhooked so get better at this and nail the above phases!
From your perfectly prepped position you can pop until you drop. This part is often underestimated as to how important it is with regards actually getting the board out of the water effectively! The malaise from this can become a hangover in your jumps, thereby giving you less time to enjoy the view in the air. The best way to describe this phase is to ‘send it’ as in send the nose to the sky. This is possible as the sail is relatively open and your inboard position means you can really push down on your back leg (sinking the tail and thereby sending the nose up) as you then lift the kit further out of the water.
Let’s get you ‘sending it’ with these pointers:
• Facing up the board in a crouched position (twisting at the hips) weights the tail, opens the sail, brings the nose up and gets you over the board.
• PUSH down aggressively, extending the bent back leg, through the toes of the back foot as you bring the rig back towards you.
• PULL the front leg up and forward as you simultaneously PULL up and forward on the boom.
• Bend your back leg to PULL the tail up.
Whilst airborne you actually need to both sail AND steer the board through the air and use the wind to ‘propel’ you both up and forward. In order to keep the wind blowing under the board you need to point your toes and keep the windward rail high. Bending the back leg and pulling the heel right into the bottom assists you in this. Getting the rig over your head will lift the mastfoot further and give you a driving force through the air, plus a gliding drop for your descent. NOTE: You take off over the board but you fly from an outboards position!
• Continue to bend your back leg to pull the tail up and get air under the board.
• Drop your hips and bend you arms to get you outboard and bring the rig over you.
• In order to steer the board off the wind you need to scissor your legs. Pulling the tail up assists in the front leg being in position to extend and push the nose off.
• Hold the tuck and look forward to spot your landing as you point your toes down.
Send that nose to the sky.
Even with big boards, aim to jump the bump!’
• Generous straps to allow your feet in to bear the board away and get your toes down and will also enable a slick, planing exit.
• Long lines enable you to sail fast (with hands closer together) and unhook/hook in nice and easy.
• 5.8 or below and boards from 110 litres and down. Yet trying it on bigger gear is recommended and beneficial!
With your amazing compact position in the air you are in a great shape for landing. Hold your inflight stance until just before landing; many drop their tails way too early, which is not good for you or your kit! Sheeting out and dropping the back leg gets you ready for a soft, tail first and efficient, landing.
• Open the sail to assist you in dropping the tail and getting power into the sail upon water contact.
• Extend the back leg upwind of your arse for a tail first landing.
• Land with your legs flexed and ensure the sail is upright on extended arms as this helps keep speed and avoid spin out.
• Gain speed by steering / scissoring the board off the wind slightly and by weighting your toes to flatten the board.
• Yeehaaaaa, now do two per run and both ways!
Location, location, location
I have not mentioned in the above tips as to what to look for or bump off as it will take you time to experience what works best and also just as people can’t see gusts and lulls without looking upwind for them, then the uninitiated don’t see chop/bumps like a true jumper does. Make quite a few attempts and then start looking for the best bumps that have more distance between them and look, well, bigger!
You may start to see that even in flatter water the bumps have rhythm and there are some spots where the ramps are better. It might also be that you realise a change in the wind direction to take you more front on to the bump will yield better results, so yes do look out for these ‘lifters’ (wind direction shifts).
In time you will understand that pushing the tail down in the trough of the ramp will allow the lip of the chop to assist you in ‘sending’ your nose skywards.
This and understanding the timing / effort in it all will come as you get more of a feel for it.
The Mantras that Matter
My clients often remember my mantras better than my technical descriptions of what to do in moves, so here are some I use whilst coaching:
• ‘Get over it’ – come inboards over the board ready to jump.
• ‘Send it’ – push the tail down and send the nose to the sky.
• ‘Push, pull, pull’ – push the tail down and pull up on the arms and legs.
• ‘Knee yourself in the chin’ – aim to do this and your front leg will really lift the board out of the water.
• ‘Extend and bend’ – scissoring the nose off with a straight front leg and bent back leg will let you fly.
• ‘Lick the boom’ – bring the rig in and get compact.
• ‘Heel to your arse’ – bringing your back leg up with your heel proximal to your butt will get you more height and see you fly for longer, and safer!
• ‘Toes down’ – this lifts the rail and gets the wind under the board.
• ‘Look and land’ – spot your landing so you know when to drop your landing gear.
• Planing winds with some good-sized chop that is not too close together. The more the bump is coming towards you the easier it is.
“ ‘Look and land’ – spot your landing so you know when to drop your landing gear. ”
RRD boards, wetsuits, softwear, Ezzy sails sponsor Jem Hall. Get him live and direct on one of his highly acclaimed coaching holidays. You can also follow him on twitter / Facebook and Instagram.