Water Start

The Water Start

The waterstart is one of
the gateway skills; it opens up so much more of our
great sport. I still remember my first waterstart and the elation that followed.
The reason for this move is that we arrive on the board in the sailing position
and it is a more efficient way of getting going in stronger winds and bumpy waters.
It is a key skill for our progression down to sailing smaller kit.



The skill is built from having a strong proficiency in
beachstarts. From here a range of drills, including sailing
and dragging one leg in the water, sailing kneeling down
and sailing one handed helps us to move closer to our goal.
These drills can be interspersed through your sailing sessions
and a bit of feedback, coaching and video footage can speed
up the process


The waterstart can be broken down into smaller goals or
stepping stones. These being:

  • Beach start
  • Deeper water beach start
  • Beach start with leg drag
  • Chest depth windy beach start
  • Full waterstart joy


  • Look where you want to go: We need
    to move forward and in so we look at the mast foot to
    get up and away.
  • Rig away: In order
    for the rig to have the leverage to pull us out of
    the water the rig is away through extended arms that
    are shoulder
    width apart


  • Rig recovery: Getting the rig out of
    the water
  • Board Positioning: Bringing
    the board across the wind in a suitable position
  • Up
    and away
    : Exiting the water and arriving
    in the sailing position.

Check wind direction and ensure
the mast is across the wind with board pointing into
the wind.


to release water off
the rig and draw air under it.


Pull rig over your head and into the
and place backhand on the boom.


Transfer front hand onto boom. Bear
board away by pushing down through an extended
front arm


Your body will be moving towards the back of
the board as your front arm is extended and bearing
board away. You should feel all the pull down through
the front side of your body.


Lounging in the sweet spot. Your front
leg will be extended
down in the water.
The rig is above you, low if windy and higher if
it’s light. If you are well powered manoeuvre
the board slightly upwind. If it’s lighter,
point the board downwind for more power. You will
be at the back of the board BUT well upwind
of it.

You are now ready for action. The back foot is placed between the straps with
the heel down and towards the windward rail, toes up. Arms are extended and you
are ensuring the board is in the right position.

Action. Pull board in with a bent back leg from your upwind
lounging position. The arms are extended and you are looking/eating
the mastfoot
. Kick your front leg vigorously for extra propulsion upwards.


Keep extending
the front arm
and pull in with
the back arm
whilst kicking hard with
the front leg. The front leg is placed relatively
late on the board. Remember you are pulling
your back heel to your bottom


Stay low and keep
the back leg bent,
as you do not want
to go out the front door!


View video of this move:

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Get efficient and
begin planing by LOOKING FORWARD, maintaining a FLAT
BOARD and keep the RIG AWAY. Now get very excited!


Hot Tip

  • Rig recovery across and into the wind
  • Position the board in the sweet spot
  • Pull board under bottom with bent back leg
  • Extend those arms
  • Look at and eat that mastfoot
  • Stay low and keep back leg bent


Believe, focus and enjoy!

Ben Proffitt K-800

“When it’s super windy, I put both my feet
into the straps just before I waterstart. But you
need to have a solid water start before you do
this otherwise you’ll just slip sideways.”

Terry Luxton K-688

“If the wind is too light or your sail has
sunk, swim to the top of the mast and lift up the
rig and then work your way down the mast.”



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