There are two basic turns in windsurfing — the tack and the jibe. The tack is a turn upwind, and it takes the nose of the board through the wind. Tacking is one of the key maneuvers in windsurfing, and it keeps you upwind all time. The simple explanation is “Sail into the wind and, as the nose of the board passes through where the wind comes from, you step around the mast to the new side of the board.”
Here is a tack video from Windsurf University
How to tack can be a challenge! Even after 20 years of windsurfing, you will see people falling when they try to tack, or, they avoid trying them when they sail on smaller boards. But with a few tips and tricks, everyone can learn them pretty fast! So don´t give up and keep on trying!
LEARN IT ON A BIG BOARD AND KEEP IT SIMPLE!
It’s easier to train tacking on bigger boards with a lot of volume before moving onto smaller boards. Bigger boards are more stable and allow you to do them slightly less perfect. A small board will punish you for any mistakes if you place your feet wrong, or miss the perfect timing. In the video and the infographic below we will show you how to tack in a fast and simple way. There are plenty of different techniques you can focus on to do a tack, but these steps are made to keep it as simple as possible. Sometimes the hardest part about tacking is that we have made it more complicated than it actually is!
THE FOCUS POINTS FOR TACKING ARE
- prepare for it
- use your vision
- stay in balance
- timing – shift side at the correct time.
Make sure you have space to turn. Do not start a turn if you are too close to other windsurfers, boats, or other obstacles. When it´s clear, unhook the harness and prepare to sail upwind.
Move your front arm closer to the mast and wrap your front foot around the mast base. Look upwind to start steering the board upwind.
Turn your body and keep looking upwind. The more you turn your body towards the wind, the faster you will steer in that direction. Lean the rig back towards the tail of the board to help steer the board upwind. This also helps to create more space for your body when you step around the mast.
As the board steers towards the wind, step around the front in one step. A good reminder is to wait until the nose of the board is pointing directly into the wind. Do not hesitate at this moment. Your back foot should replace your front foot in one step. Grab the new side of the sail with your hands. Sometimes the hardest part about tacking is that we have made it more complicated than it actually is! That´s why we focus on 1 step around the mast, as this will help you a lot the moment you step onto smaller boards with less volume. If you practice the tack with more than one step around, it will take you longer time to change this bad habit.
Once you are on the other side, lean the rig forward to steer away.
Push down on the boom with your arms to stabilize and find balance while keeping the rig forward.