In order to adjust our course
effectively, we will now examine steering. We are
looking to build upon our fundamental skills and
make this as dynamic as possible. Fluency and efficiency
throughout will vastly improve your ability to
tack (a turn through the wind) and gybe (a turn
downwind with the sail passing round the front).
As you pick up the pace and dynamism of your steering,
it sets you up for many advanced moves. This skill
is relevant to ALL levels.



By now you will have been sailing across the wind and making small adjustments to your course.  Turning the nose of the board towards the wind is known as turning upwind, whilst turning the nose away from the wind is known as turning downwind.  This article is stepping this process up and readying you for ripping tacks and gybes.


  • Looking
    where we want to go
    – Wherever
    our head looks, our body will follow.
  • Scissoring
    the board
    Using legs to make steering
    more effective.
  • Rig
    Keeping the rig away from our
    body increases our balance by allowing our body
    to counteract the movements of the rig.

This is the sailing position with the head looking forwards and the rig away.


To turn upwind,  firstly look upwind and then draw the rig across the body. The back arm will extend and your weight will be sinking and moving onto the back foot.



In order to scissor the board, push with the back foot and pull with the front foot. The rig is away as it moves back with the body moving forwards, in the opposite direction.


To turn downwind, begin to draw the rig across your body. Turn your head to look downwind.


As the rig comes across and moves forwards, the body moves backwards away from the rig. This helps to control the power. The back hand also moves down the boom to assist with pulling the sail in (moving the back hand down the boom gives more leverage and makes pulling the sail in much easier).


Get low and scissor the board by pushing with the extended front leg and pulling with a bent back leg.

You are now facing almost dead downwind on a RUN. Ease the backhand out to keep the sail trimmed. You will now be looking to resume your original direction across the wind.

The back hand comes up the boom to assist opening the sail. Look upwind and begin to scissor the board again by pushing with the back leg.


Rig moves back and body moves forwards.


You are now heading slightly upwind with the hands together, rig is slightly back and body moves forward. To trim the sail for upwind, pull in more on the back hand. Ready to go again?!

View video of this move:

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bandwidth [MPEG, 1.6MB]


Hot Tip

The 3 FUNDAMENTALS are the key to success:

-Look where we want to go
-Scissor the board
-Keep the rig away

The more dynamic you are the faster you will turn.

Remember to move your hands!

If the rig goes back, your body goes forward and vice versa.



Work through this drill and aim to get the board changing direction more radically after each attempt. This will really increase your rig handling, power control and massively improve your transitions. This drill has very similar dynamics to wave riding and as such it may be called flat-water non – planing waveriding. A bit of a mouthful but if your quest is to rip waves, this light wind drill has all the answers.  I get all levels doing this from children to advanced and the results are fantastic!

Stay low, stay dry!


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