How to surf with the wind on sailboards?



Learn boardsailing from a qualified instructor. Know how to swim, wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket, and avoid swimming areas and busy harbors.

Position the board at right angles to the wind; the sail should lie in the water downwind, at right angles to the board. Stand on the board’s windward side with the wind at your back; place one foot in front of the mast, the other behind it, straddling the centerline.

Squatting slightly, take hold of the uphaul line with both hands: pull the rig partway up by straightening your body. Continue pulling hand over hand on the uphaul until the far end of the boom clears the water and the sail is at right angles to the board (the basic position). Hold the uphaul with the hand nearer the stern (this will be the “sail hand”); cross the other hand (the “mast hand”) over the sail hand to grasp the boom about 8 inches from the mast. Release the uphaul; with the freed sail hand, grasp the boom 20 inches from the mast hand.

To steer a straight course at right angles to the wind, slowly pull in the sail just until it fills and all fluttering stops; keep the boom parallel to the board. Lean back to offset the pull of the sail in a strong wind.

Tilt the boom forward and pull in the sail to turn the bow away from the wind. Tilt the boom back to turn the bow toward the wind. Sailing directly into the wind stalls the board.

To tack, or change direction by steering the bow across the wind, tilt the boom back until the wind comes from straight ahead and the sail starts fluttering. Take the uphaul in the sail hand and step in front of and around the mast. Reposition yourself; lean the sail against the wind to continue the board’s rotation. When the sail and the board are again in the basic position, switch hands on the uphaul, then reposition them on the boom as described.