Forward Loop Part 1

The Forward Loop PART 1: The Skills

This is one of the defining
moves in windsurfing. This month we look at the technique
required to perform the loop. Next month we will
examine methods of getting through the mental barrier
and going for it. This month’s article aims to inspire
the wannadoers, rotate the non-loopers and improve
the loopers. I still remember my first full clean
forward and I have not looked back (only when forwarding)
since that day. The confidence gained from nailing
it meant I probably learnt another 30 moves. I have
lost count of the amount of people I have helped
with this move from friends, clients, fellow coaches
and pro sailors. All they did was prepare well, both
mentally and physically, and commit.

So lets get
down to business. Jump up, look behind you and
sheet in; rather simplified so lets look a little



The more efficient and effective you sail the
easier it all is and we are therefore calling upon all our
sailing skills.

  • Early planing – gets us
    up to speed to hit the right ramp
  • Sailing upwind – gets us into the position
    where the ramps are
  • Board control – extends the wind range
    we can do the move in
  • Equipment set-up – gives
    us the pop and keeps us in the straps.

Whilst kit set up is personal, I find that
the majority of good loopers have both a relatively high
boom and a generous to big sizing of their footstraps.

In order to work towards the move concentrate

  • Improving and developing your jumping and chop
    hopping skills
  • Ensure that you are doing this airtime
    prep with your body over the board on take off.


  • PoppingGetting the board
    out of the water from setting up in a coiled position
  • Look where we want to goWe
    are aiming to rotate and it is therefore crucial to look
    behind you. This helps pull the clew in and stops you bottling
  • Rig awayThe front arm is
    extended through the rotation and landing. This increases
    rotational speed and lets the rig pull you from the water
    upon landing.

Key Stages

  • Setting-up – Getting low
    and ready to pop with the backhand right back.
  • Popping – Taking off cleanly
    whilst on a downwind course.
  • Rotation – Looking back,
    pulling in on the backhand and the back leg.
  • Landing – Extending the
    arms and scissoring the board to pull you out the water.

The Ramp

Choose a nice defined ramp, which is slightly
downwind. It is amazing how much flat water has patterns
of chop movement so keep scanning for those ramps. Small
and steep waves are also very helpful. A little bit of
chop downwind will give you so much more success than any
sized ramp upwind.

The Kit

During the sequence below, I am well powered on 5.7 and a
big freestyle board (110litres) and this would definitely
be the biggest kit I would recommend. Ideally you should
try learning on smaller kit such as a 5.0m or less. The key
is to use what you find comfortable.


Up to speed and look for a suitable
ramp downwind. Sinking down ready
to move the hand back.




Back hand goes
right back, unhook and hang with
your bodyweight over the board. Stay
low and ready to pop.


Just as you are about to pop, head right
off the wind. Pop the
board and begin extending your front arm towards the nose of the board.

Continuing to really extend that front arm, you are now about
to rotate as you begin pulling in hard with the back leg. Check
out how the rig is forward AND across you.

Let’s go! Look back and pull
in hard with the back arm. The back leg is really
pulling now.


Stay committed and compact. Front
arm really extending and keep looking back. Tuck
your back foot right into your bottom.


The foot of the sail should be almost
connected to the board. Keep looking back with your front arm extended and back arm in tight.


Momentum will keep pulling you round.
Begin to spot the landing.


Ready yourself for a bit of a slap
on the back and start to look forward in order to
assist the get away.


On water contact, keep the
rig away on extended arms. Think ‘fastest
waterstart of your life’. Notice I have slid my
backhand back to the sailing position to assist
a fast waterstart exit.

Arms are fully extending and I
am scissoring the board to further
assist getting upright fast. Throw the sail
up and open it to catch that valuable wind.

Your rig is upright and open whilst you scissor the board off the wind. Hooray! Let’s do it again!



  • Look back to help rotation
    and reduce fear
  • Make sure your back hand
    is a LONG WAY down the boom
  • Make sure you take off
    pointing further downwind than for a regular

Video Removed see our other videos on Mpora


  • Get low and ready to pop with back hand right
  • Pop and take off downwind
  • Extend front arm towards the nose
  • Look back and pull in hard with back arm
    and leg
  • Stay tucked and keep looking back
  • Land and throw the rig upright and open
  • Scissor the board off and go into early planing


  • Getting flung out of the straps: Take
    off downwind and ensure the board is out of the
    water before initiating rotation.
  • Slow rotation: Ensure you are centred
    over the board, extend the front arm more, look back at the clew, tuck
    your back foot into your bottom.


This moves success is firmly rooted in the
mind and we will be covering this in detail next month. However here are some pointers to get you started:

a) Choose your spot and do it. Should you
sail in one direction for a couple of miles looking for
a perfect moment, all you will be ready for is a trip to
the toilet due to your nerves being shredded!

b) Try it both ways. If you learn on one
tack only, you will have to go through the whole learning
process again for the other tack. Do them both at once
and you will only have to learn once!

c) Focus on a looping session of about 10 – 20
minutes. Then go and do some moves you enjoy and can complete.

d) Be prepared for it to take over your life,
general demeanour and your all round sailing standard!

Check out more examples of the forward loop in the Moves & Movies section.

Ben Proffitt K-800

“Throw your head backwards into a spin after take off. This takes the fear away and ensures a fast, clean rotation “

Phil Horrocks K-303

“Don’t let go of your boom! Letting
go of your boom is the only way you can really
get hurt as you may land on your kit. If you don’t
let go, you wont get hurt – simple as that!”

Terry Luxton

“Make sure the fin is out of the water before you start to spin, otherwise your feet will keep coming out of the straps ”



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