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.


  • Popping - Getting the board

    out of the water from setting up in a coiled position

  • Look where we want to go - We

    are aiming to rotate and it is therefore crucial to look

    behind you. This helps pull the clew in and stops you bottling


  • Rig away - The 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 "