Beginner Stance

It’s that time of year where the weather is warming up and you might be tempted to get out there and brush up on all you have learnt and keep up the improvement. We covered all the basics last year and now we are looking to move our stance forward and then get into the harness. With a better stance we can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of how we sail, and more importantly go faster than our mates, get planing and start moving down board size.

Stance is, essentially, the position of our body, hips and head. Moving these will make big differences to how we best use the wind.

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  • Looking where we want to go –  When sailing across the wind we are looking forwards and upwind. This assists in spotting the wind, gives us a naturally good stance and improves our quest to address the following fundamentals. The position of our head is of utmost importance
  • Board FlatMaintaining this converts sail power into speed. Where our feet are positioned on the board depends on the sail power available. At slower speeds the feet move forward and in. When going faster and dealing with more power the feet move back and out. Get the board flat by moving those feet and your reward will be speed.
  • Rig away – We are looking to balance the sail’s power and move our body in or out and down as we match changes in the wind strength. So have a straight front arm and drop or raisie your hips in accordance with more or less power.


Where we position our hands on the boom has a huge effect on how well we perform, this applies to all levels and all moves. As you were learning you may be tempted to keep your hands forward on the boom – nice and safe there, not much power – those days are over!
Move your hands back down the boom, towards where the boom straightens out. That is where the sail’s ‘power point’ is. The grip should be light in the hands and about shoulder width apart. Get this right and you will already be well on the way to full speed.


The back foot faces across the board and the front foot faces forward along the board. This is a recap of getting into the sailing position but is essential in keeping the rig at the correct angle to the wind and allows your levers and bodyweight to be utilised efficiently.

This sequence of pics shows my stance as it goes from a LOT of power towards LESS, slowing down and then MORE power again.


I have plenty of power here. In the sailing position I look forwards and have my front arm extended. The sail is being sheeted in, down and back by sinking down and out with the rear shoulder and hip. The back leg is bent to sink the hips and take the weight off the tail, vital for that flat board goal.
The front leg is straight
and I am pushing through my toes, this will lock the board down and assist in pushing it along.


The wind has dropped here so my hips move forward and in. Still looking forward I am aiming to get the rig forward and upright by extending the front arm, whilst keeping the mast away.


The main difference is how much my back leg has straightened. My hips have lifted and my upper body is relatively locked out. If the wind continues at this strength I may look to move the feet forward to get the board flat.


View video of this move:

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From looking forward I have spotted a gust and I am anticipating the increase in pull from the sail so I am starting to get down by bending the back leg. As the board accelerates I would move back down the board and continue getting down on an extended front arm whilst sheeting the sail in with my rear shoulder.


Hot Tip

  • Sink down with the rear hip and shoulder for more power.
  • Move the feet back and out.
  • Raise the hips and come forward and in when less power.
  • Lock that front arm out with your hands down the boom.


This dropping and raising of the hips can be practiced from standing and going into your stance and experimenting with the back leg bend. Note how the weight goes through your heels when you drop and through your toes when you raise. You may also want to practice whilst balancing with a fellow windsurfer, bit of a game of trust as well!!


Windsurfing can be simplified by looking forward, with a straight front arm and front leg whilst bending the back leg. This applies from beginner to winner and is what I coach to all ability levels.

‘Carpe Diem: seize the day’ – wise words.


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