Speed is of the Essence

Top Tips for going fast in ‘close’ chop (between 1-3ft)

If I put normal ear plugs it all goes quite and the whole scene feels suddenly like slow motion, and then you will go full power..

It’s all about control. When you sail fast in close chop your board is more in the air than on the water. That often brings you close to a catapult and the fear of it will slow you down. So don’t worry about top speed anymore, just think about maximum control and once you do feel safe on your equipment you will go much faster than before because you go again full power and don’t hold back. Maximum control can be reached with very different tricks, mine are:
Wide stance: move the back foot strap all the way back and the front one all the way forward – like this I can balance my board easier by being able to put more weight forward or more backward if needed and at the same time brings my body leverage point further down which also helps with control.
Long harness lines: the further away you can get your body from the sail the more control you have. You can see the pros sticking out theirs asses – just not touching the water – then you know we sail really overpowered and try to gain maximum control.
Boom lower and mast foot forward: both will help to keep the nose of your board down and save you from flying away. The ‘lower boom’ I do quite often but the mast foot too much forward I personally don’t like too much as when I hit a sudden lull in the wind then I am really “glued” to the water and have a hard time to keep my speed. But that’s just a personal choice – definitely both tricks work well.
Smaller fin: if you don’t have a smaller board to take anymore try to change the fin to a smaller size and your board will feel completely different. The fin is too small again if you spinout a lot or your board starts going a bit sideways. But you can easily go 3-4 cm smaller than the standard recommended fin for a board. Stiff fins normally also help with control as they create less lift and therefore track better through the close chop.
And the very special tip – ear plugs: Half of the time it’s your mind that freaks you out and lets you slow down. Especially those high noise wind whistles disturb me a lot. If I put normal ear plugs it all goes quite and the whole scene feels suddenly like slow motion, and then you will go full power again!


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