Greetings Evan and welcome back to one of the most fulfilling sports I've ever enjoyed. I'm sure you realize Utah is a back country skiing mecca, by now, but if you really want the scoop on back country, I recommend reaching out via PM to Darren Fowler, and Stuart Martin who are both members here, you may get lucky with a response if
they're not in the Gorge. Those guys can really pin, and they know (though they may not give up) all the best shots!
Regarding windsurfing, you didn't specify how much volume your 320X61 cm Tiga has, but at 165# in our
typical conditions, and not wanting to spend a lot, I'm thinking you want at least 160 ltrs of volume for
uphauling. You can certainly do it with less, but it will be a lot harder. You might try DC in the earlier AM,
check the Heber Airport, as often times, you'll get a morning 5-8MPH breeze that's perfect for learning to uphaul
and displacement sail a long board.
A. You'll definitely get better with practice, but a 6.7 is pretty big for learning. At the size I assume you are,
a 5.0 would be a better choice, and there should be some beater 5Ms around for less than $100. Getting one
foot near or just barely in front of the mast and one mid line about 2 ft aft of the mast will be your best uphauling
bet, then slowly lift the sail out by leaning back and using your body weight, not your back or arm muscles. It
also helps to be reaching across you body to the boom when your hand finally is ready to grasp the boom.
B: You should definitely be using a smaller sail at your stage.
C: It is much easier with a wider board. See if Josh can't rent you something appropriate for at least the
next few times you try, maybe even get a lesson. Not all long boards (boards with center board) are for
beginners, some race boards from the early 90s are a little narrow for learning, but very floaty, and some
"transition boards" from the early 90s are not really floaty enough for learning even though they had dagger boards.
Do you want a dagger board for learning? I think definitely, but I'm an old school guy. You can learn on all these,
(most of us did) but it takes a little longer on narrower less floaty boards.
D: Water starts are a wonderful introduction to high wind sailing, but I think for our typical conditions, it's good
1st to become competent with uphauling, displacement mode sailing, low wind tacking and jibing (cause it's really
nice to be able to turn around), harness use, and then kicking the center board up and planning, then footstrap
use. A good wetsuit should keep you from going hypothermic, and I highly recommend one as I've had the pleasure.
Stalling up wind: If the wind is strong enough to plane, or at least power slog, then you do want to kick
that dagger board up, and using your good acquired harness technique, apply all the mast foot pressure you can
by hanging down (and out). Think of it as a 3rd leg and try and distribute your weight evenly on that and your other
2 legs. You don't have to use your harness and lines to do that, but it'll wear your arms out pretty fast without.
And, don't dig your heels in, you'll want to press down with your toes, and lift your heels as much as you possibly
can. You really want the leeward rail of the board pressed down into the water, and the windward rail pulled
up. That should get you more downwind once the wind is stronger and the center board is retracted.
Yep, Utah Lake is pretty nasty right now. I'll report in the daily forecast when it might be less threatening again.
p.s. get Josh to sponsor you to Utah Windsurfing on face book.
Evan Mitchell wrote:Hello Dessert Sailors,
I'm trying to re-begin windsurfing after a decade break, and I think I'm still a beginner-it's been a solitary activity for me, what milestone makes me an intermediate? I moved to SLC 6 years ago, via Front Range CO, after growing up in Upstate NY. My first introduction to windsurfing involves a pickup truck and chance $50 garage sale encounter, followed by a visit to the library. I enjoyed some low wind conditions on the NY finger lakes on my appropriate dagger board-ed strapless hifly (it seems to only really blow there when lightning is imminent).
After college I have basically followed my folly of backcountry skiing, and ended up in SLC because I don't anticipate becoming sufficiently wealthy or employed to reside in a small mountain town. Two weeks ago I visited the finger lakes again and dusted off my original board-the spark was re-ignited. Summer is rough in SLC, the climate seems suited to learning how to windsurf, and I need a cure for the summertime blues. With my discovery of Utah Windriders, I'm now curious to know what hot spots I was missing while living in NY. I appreciate how easy it has been to locate practice sites, and find weather updates.
First Utah Windsurfing: Deer Creek provided ample wind this past weekend (too much for me). While I'm tentatively planning to rent a beginner board from Josh Shirley, I did fall for the KSL used gear trap. Trying to replace my original, inexpensive Hifly NY board, I picked up a 320 x 61cm board with a daggerboard which may serve me well into the intermediate phase. The board has just enough buoyancy that I can up haul-but wobbly. After being invested several hundred dollars, I'm not excited about spending $1200 on a board for which I have no convenient locked storage, and I may ultimately outgrow. After uphauling 1 hr and sailing approx 5 min, I did end up having some fun, and I am curious about improving the fun:struggle ratio. If you have an opinion or advice, please see my spiderweb of ideas and direct me appropriately.
A: Maybe I get better at uphaul starting
B: Maybe I try a smaller sail than 6.7M?
C: Maybe I find it drastically more enjoyable with a wider, high volume board of width......? Kona One's are only 20cm longer and 10cm wider than my board, I'm not huge, 165#. What is the magic width which makes uphauling noticably easier? I working form the assumption that any board with a dagger is designed with light winds and uphauling in mind.....right?
D: Maybe after a few long sessions on a rental board, I learn how to water start, and resume worrying about gear when mine is broken and/or I'm hypothermic.
Also, I have another fundamental technique question: How do I prevent stalling upwind? While I'm aware that moving the mast forward steers the board downwind, I've never been able to pull it downwind in higher winds. Once I get to a crusing speed, the diving tip moves my feet aft, but doing this pulls the mast aft and steers me upwind. Without extendable arms, I'm struggling to figure this out. Is this the moment I need to retract the dagger board and dig in my heels?
P.S. watch out for lake Utah, I heard the WHO is shutting it down due to toxic algae.