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I have already implored you to move on up in 2015 by taking your resolutions and transforming them into to a revolution. This could be in a variety of moves relevant to your level; this piece will cover getting your forwards higher. You may want to touch back to the recently covered article on learning the forward loop in the Nov/Dec magazine, which is also now online.

Photos Martin Schoppler & Karel Tyc


Forwards are very much en vogue now with so many learning, improving and getting obsessed by them, so a hoorah to that and I salute you.They are getting higher by all levels of sailor from weekend warriors to top PWA pros. The move is seen as easy and less technical but actually there is quite a lot going on, thereby giving you many areas to improve in, and also focus on. What is great about this move is that you can make so many attempts/rotations, as there are many more opportunities to get round, from big chop to sweet lined up ramps. The low level fast rotations also really help you move towards getting your forwards higher and breaking into the ‘delayed forward’ club.

I will now let you into the first tip of many. The most important skill required to get your forwards higher is that you have to be able to competently and relatively fearlessly, jump higher, feel comfy at the apex of a jump, have confidence steering and controlling this position, whilst keeping your tail up and maintaining forward momentum. So please go out and build confidence in this area and know that I will be covering this in a future article.

“ Sliding your backhand way down the boom will help you steer more and ready you for rotation ’’

Here is your next huge tip; the major effective rotational technique in the forward is actually your aerial steering, both through your legs and your arms. Your new mantra for higher forwards is to ‘jump, steer, rotate and sheet out to land.’ Please remember that ‘the targets you set are the targets you attain,’ anon. Therefore get on and start pulling the trigger and stop putting it off, commitment is very necessary, as is the ability to enjoy the journey and roll with the crashes.

Forward phases
It is important to highlight the phases you go through in your forward loop journey.

Phase 1: This Learn to forward; downwind take off, early preparation (i.e. back hand back and get over board) and a low level rotation that sees you aim to improve upon steering, sheeting in and tucking up your legs as you look to get round further.

Phase 2: Improve; a more across the wind take off, still relatively early preparation(back hand down boom just before take off), more height in the jump before rotation. Main adjustments are just how important the active steering is and getting your timing better.

Phase 3: Advanced; moving your forwards higher into delayed territory. This can see you jumping slightly into the wind to get higher and then in the air, the hand moves down the boom to steer and rotate. The rig and legs are very active to steer the kit off the wind and get the nose pointing down before initiating the rotation. At this phase there are lots of subtle tweaks to our technique going on and timing becomes very important!

// Jump, get that tail up, steer the nose off, then push and pull the kit through the rotation, and get active upon landing. Photo Martin Schoppler

The Component parts
The higher forward has three main parts, and like all great books it encompasses a fantastic beginning, middle and end. In these parts you are concentrating on these areas:

1. Beginning – controlled speed and boosting height through your jump. Become good at this and you will get higher loops, so spend some time getting very competent at this, as it is a core skill! Getting the sail light and your board speed up by bearing away before the ramp gives you more momentum to steer/ bear away in the air and means you will not go vertical in your rotation and then into a doom pole vault forward of death.

2. Middle – aerial steering and scissoring. This is done by bringing the tail up and getting the rig across you to bear the board away, and exaggerated by extending the front leg and pulling up and in on the back leg to scissor the board downwind. This also drops the nose, and NOTE: no mention of excessive sheeting in here as this starts the rotation too early.

3. End – pulling the trigger. Once you’re in position and coming off the apex of your jump it’s time to push and pull forcefully. Push the front arm and leg down and away and pull up and in on BOTH the back arm and back leg. All that will get you rotating, and as you get better you’ll develop more of a feeling for how much push and pull is required to increase or reduce your rotational speed. Lastly, your best landings come from sheeting out prior to landing for a clean getaway.

“ Be ready to stamp off the back leg and pull up on the boom to get decent height’’

// Steer with the rig and legs whilst keeping your speed through the air’ Photo Karel Tyc

The technique tips for higher forwards

The main tips are:

• Getting high; front hand is back and the backhand is forward to get you high first and not rotating as soon as you take off. The backhand will slide down later. Open sail up slightly to lift the nose to boost height and be ready to stamp off the back leg and pull up on the boom to get decent height.

On the way up; fly the board up and start to bear the board away through scissoring your legs and bringing the rig across you. As you soar sliding your backhand way down the boom will help you steer more and ready you for rotation. The sail should have some forward drive, i.e. be a bit sheeted in to keep your forward speed!


• Hitting your height; at the apex of the jump you’ll need to really bear away off the wind using the rig and your legs. The nose will be off the wind and you will be starting to drop so get that nose down and be ready to rotate by pulling down on the front arm and front leg.

• Rotate, rotate, rotate; now it’s time for relative aggression. Looking behind you will assist you in pulling up AND in hard with that back arm, and because your back arm is way back you have maximum leverage. Throughout the rotation you’re pushing down and away on the front arm and front leg. The back leg really pulls up and in as well.

• Landing; as you come in to land it’s time to open the sail and throw the rig up to catch the wind. If you keep your front arm extended here you’ll get up and away sweeter. Continued leg scissoring also takes you around those precious few degrees more and means you land with a nice bent back leg.

Generous straps to allow feet right in to bear board away and get your toes down  Long lines enable you to sail fast over bumpy water and with your front hand back, which aids getting rig across.


// Get that tail up and nose down and work those legs hard! Photo Karel Tyc

Refine and reflection
I get the best results when I concentrate on specific actions, for example; feeling the toes of my front foot touching the board’s deck in the rotation, or pulling up more than in with my back hand on windy (small sail) forwards.

I have finely tuned my forward technique many times, and rebuilt them over many years. My most recent learning insights are to:

• After initiation and moving rig across, move the rig further forward and after this ensure I sheet in hard at the right time. This is quite an advanced tip, so use once you are competent enough to really fine tune your flight path 🙂

• Really scissor the board through the rotation by extending my front leg, this is very very effective!

• Get my hand far back in every loop, you can never get it too far back!

• Be more compact, when rotating I now come in closer to the rig and have moved from a straighter front arm to a more bent front arm.

Most important tip is to just do it, commit, attack, crash, enjoy and self coach.

“Procrastination is, hands down, our favourite form of self-sabotage.”Alyce P. Cornyn-Selby (American manager and author).

// ‘Boost that height with your back hand forward, and be ready to slide it back for steering and rotation’ Photo Martin Schoppler

Medium sized ramps that have some kick and steepness to them but not that threatening. Clear space before the ramp so you can set up and choose your take off spot and keep speed and be settled
Go to the right spot to get the right conditions Side shore to side on is best.

RRD boards, wetsuits, softwear, Ezzy sails and Pro Sport Sunblock sponsor Jem Hall
. Get him live and direct on one of his highly acclaimed coaching holidays.


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