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Wave sailing tips from the Sailworks team on Maui

The Sailworks Maui based riders were busy putting the latest Revolution and Gyro models through their paces at the 2018 Aloha Classic last week. Normally we pick their brain for R&D. This time we squeezed out some juicy tips for YOUR next, or first ever, wave sailing day. Grab a coffee, study-up, then check the forecast:
Greg Aguera, 2nd place 2018 Aloha Classic Grand Masters: "I will tighten my outhaul a bit more for 2 situations..."
Greg Aguera, 2nd place 2018 Aloha Classic Grand Masters:

Give one essential tip for a first time wave sailor:
"For my home breaks Hookipa and Kanaha, I like to be overpowered for onshore winds and lean towards underpowered if it's offshore. In both cases it's good to place your mast base at the correct position, generally I put my base more forward for larger sails, say an inch further forward for my 5.0 versus the 4.5."
Describe your strategy when you crash in the impact zone:
"One thing I learned long ago is to not try and waterstart heading out. It tends to be easier to try waterstarting in. If you can't get up quickly at least you are getting closer in and probably smaller whitewater. Another thing I think about is keeping the mast more towards the waves than the shore, otherwise you may wind up with a broken mast if it sticks in the bottom when a whitewater hits."
Share one tip to get your first "off-the-lip":
"Off the lip to me is tough to learn because to do a good one you need to bottom turn all the way past parallel with the wave face. For a beginner this is a lot of commitment and it can be scary. But you truly must get past parallel heading back at the wave to get a good turn off the top. I think it may be a good learning technique to try doing off the lips on the small inside whitewater. This is actually more difficult but there is less danger involved so you can try to turn all the way back to the wave and back again on the off the lip without risking too much."
Do you rig your sail any different for wave sailing vs the recommended settings?
"Not sure what recommended settings are, but I generally like a full sail: very little outhaul tension. I will tighten the outhaul a bit more for two situations. One when I am a bit overpowered and two when the conditions are strong offshores. Strong offshores can make very much stronger apparent winds on the wave face, as compared to when you are just sailing out."
Patrick Bergeron, 4th place 2018 Aloha Classic Masters: "Stay relaxed, everything is going to be just fine..."
Patrick Bergeron, 4th Place 2018 Aloha Classic Masters:

Give one essential tip for a first time wave sailor:
"Learn to ride the board and not the sail ...lean forward on the bottom turn!  This is the number one mistake less experienced wavesailors make ALL THE TIME; they use the sail to pull them the same way they learned on flatwater conditions. In the waves, you have to learn to use the board more like you would a surfboard, use the energy the wave provides you with the continuous slope it provides, don't start too low on the face and don't go too far on the flat in front of it, USE THE WAVE!  Leaning back on the tail makes you put the brakes by sinking the tail which then makes you try to get the sail to pull you forward ...don't do this. Go with it, weight forward on the front foot and use the board more and the sail less. When a wave has broken, the whitewater is perfect to practice turns, too many people think the ride is over once a wave has crashed, but far from that, below the foam, there is still a wave pushing it! Going back at the wave, it is actually better to go more perpendicular than be shy and afraid and go at an angle thinking this is safer while it's not, the wave will more easily turn the board over if you go sideways versus going right back into the wave with the nose of the board - go for it! And look where you want to go, that works for everything in sports!"
Describe your strategy when you crash in the impact zone:
"Stay relaxed, everything is going to be just fine. Never be between your gear and the beach, when the wave arrives, it will push it into you. Avoid having the tip of the mast towards the beach with sail in the water when a wave is coming, it could break the mast. It just needs to be a few degrees from perfectly perpendicular. Holding on the boom while standing on the top of the sail (ideally with tip of mast pointing towards the wave) or holding on the back strap are the best places to hold on to let the wave pass you and then work on your waterstart once it passes."
Share one tip to get your first "off-the-lip":
"You can start by doing what used to be called the "Euro Off The Lip" back in the old days: going down the line while staying really high on the wave, when it breaks it will send you into a soft aerial automatically. Once you master that, you can start going more from the bottom of the wave to the breaking lip to project you higher and higher. In this as in many other things, speed is always your friend."
Do you rig your sail any different for wave sailing vs the recommended settings?
"I rig depending for the current wind conditions. Light winds, tighter leech and looser outhaul (fuller sail). In gusty conditions, you can put a fair amount of downhaul and lose outhaul for full sail. The full sail then gets you going on the way out while the loose leech will release the gusts that accelerate up the face of the wave. This is particularly true for side-offshore conditions like we often get at Hookipa and on Maui in general as the wind will really funnel hard up the face."
Tom Soltysiak, 2017 IWT Overall Amateur Champion: "...release the power of the sail and allow for a nice snappy hit off the lip."
Tom Soltysiak, 2017 IWT Overall Amateur Champion:

Give one essential tip for a first time wave sailor:
"The most helpful tip for me when getting into wavesailing was to focus on moving the hands on the boom. Get your back hand way back on the boom, almost as far back as the boom clip, when initiating the bottom turn. This allows you to oversheet the sail and use the rail of the board to carve up toward the lip. As you approach the top of the wave, begin the top turn by sliding your hands forward on the boom, right up to the harness lines, to release the power of the sail and allow for a nice snappy hit off the lip. Keeping your hands wide on the boom at the top turn will have the sail overpowering and you will find yourself being pulled over the lip and out the back of the wave."
Describe your strategy when you crash in the impact zone:
"If it is windy, I try to clear the sail as quickly as possible and waterstart to get up onto the board before the next wave comes. It doesn't matter whether my board is facing in or out, I just try to get up and going as quickly, as I am much more mobile when sailing as opposed to swimming. If a waterstart is not possible, I focus on pointing the mast into the oncoming wave, and holding on for dear life. It is important not to fight the power of the wave, but to go with it and allow yourself to get dragged together with your gear, and being sure to hold on so as not to lose it. Eventually, the set will pass and it will be possible to sail away, or I'll get washed in away from the impact zone, where I'll be able to get up on the board and start to make my way back out over the whitewater."
Share one tip to get your first "off-the-lip":
"Going for your first aerial is a big step in wavesailing. The easiest type of aerial is to backdoor a section with speed, and to be projected upward off the corner section. It is important to maintain plenty of speed through the bottom turn, and not to go too vertically up the face. The more across the wave you go, the more speed you will maintain. This will help get the feeling of the aerial and get more comfortable in the air over the whitewater, and eventually you can work your way to a more vertical approach and getting projected forward by the throwing lip of the wave."
Do you rig your sail any different for wave sailing vs the recommended settings?
"I don't rig my sails any differently from the recommended settings when going wavesailing. I pull the downhaul so the loose leach reaches the cog marker at the top of the sail, which on all my sails is using the recommended extension setting that is marked at the bottom. As for outhaul settings, I always run my boom at the longer length of the recommended boom setting, and not pull the outhaul all the way, which allows for a little bit of play around the clue."
Pascal Hardy, Round of 16 at the 2018 Aloha Classic Pro Division: "Make sure your footstraps are big enough to get your foot over the board's center line."
Pascal Hardy, Round of 16 at the 2018 Aloha Classic Pro Division:

Give one essential tip for a first time wave sailor:
"Get the right board.
Make sure your foot strap are big enough to get your foot over the board's center line.
Learn the break and how things flow."

Describe your strategy when you crash in the impact zone:
"1. Quickly locate your gear, and make sure the next wave will not launch the gear into you.
2. Swim as fast as possible to the gear.
3. Assess the situation quickly, ask yourself do I have time to water-start before the next wave? The Gyro's profile is designed for a fast water start. If you have time get up and sail away. 
4. If you have no time to waterstart position yourself between the wave and the gear. On smaller waves hang on to the boom and the back foot strap, duck your gear under just before the impact. On larger waves, hang on the boom and the mast above the boom, sink the sail with your foot if needed. I call it a sailing duck dive"

Share one tip to get your first "off-the-lip":
"Bend your knees (and exaggerate), and practice to do short bursts of rail to rail (short arc) while going down the line.
Stay on the wave face, do not go in the flats for a bottom turn.
Once comfortable with quick rail to rail movement try to pop the white water (keep your knees bend). 
Once comfortable with rail to rail movement, hold the rail longer to control your timing
You can now start working on your off the lip."

Do you rig your sail any different for wave sailing vs the recommended settings?
"The Gyro is very versatile. I pay attention to wind direction. Off shore winds means more downhaul, tighter outhaul. Side shore to onshore fuller sail if the winds are on the light scale."