Going Loopy – Pulling the Trigger
I’ve just got back from an excellent windsurf session here at Ynyslas.
I wandered over to the beach and it didn’t lok great, grey, not that windy and not much in the way of waves either. I rigged my bigger sail, a 5.6m Gun Nexus and decided to give it a go with my Naish Hybrid Freewave board and a big 32cm fin. I’ve never used this fin and board together as I usually use a 23cm wave fin with it so I was surprised by how much easier it was to get planing. It’s obvious really as it is quite a bit bigger but the difference was surprising. I was up and blasting along and well-powered when normally I wouldn’t have even been able to get going at all.
After a while I noticed that my rear foot-strap had come a little loose so I came in to tighten it up. The screws needed tightening so I had to walk up the beach get a screwdriver, walk back down the beach with it, tighten the screws and walk back up the beach. As I did one of the kite-surfers came in saying the wind had picked up, which it obviously had and he was changing down to a smaller kite. I decided it might be a good idea for me to change down as well so I carried my kit back to the pebbles and rigged my 5m sail and put my smaller fin on.
Back on the water and once again I was perfectly powered and everything felt spot on. The smaller kit is so much nicer, lighter, faster, more responsive and so much more fun. I had a few runs like that, some nice big jumps, some perfect gybes on the now increasing swell and some nice little backside wave-rides too.
The I had one run where I gybed on the inside just upwind of a kitesurfer, overtook him on the way out through the white-water and then as we got to the proper waves a nice steep ramp reared up in front of me so knowing the kitesurfer was right behind me I threw myself into a fully committed back-loop. I didn’t make it but it was pretty close, as I entered the water my feet came out of my footstraps but I’d made it all the way around and was able to waterstart as the kitesurfer went past me saying something along the lines of ‘YEEEEHAAAA’. I then overtook him again and on the next wave which was nowhere near as steep, jumped off it and pulled the trigger for a fully committed forward loop, again, right in front of him. Once again I didn’t sail away from it but it was close and I managed to waterstart away from it with the kitesurfer shouting something along the lines of ‘the first was was mor spectacular!’ Pah, what does he know, the forward felt much better!
That was it, a precedent had been set and whenever the opportunity presented itself I was throwing myself into back-loops and forward loops. One back-loop in particular was pretty high and I’m not really sure what I did but I could feel myself hanging there for a while upside down with the tip of the mast just touching the water and I spun around out of control before crashing to the water.
A little later a prefect wave for a forward loop attempt came at me, this time I had plenty of time to prepare, I jammed my feet into the straps, moved my hand down the boom and reminded myself to look as far as possible over my shoulder and also to tuck up into a ball to make the rotation faster. I took off, pulled the trigger and then as usual hung there for a split second – that feels like forever – as very little happened, then the wind got me and accelerated me around, I could see the world spinning at top speed and then smack, I’d hit the water and, ‘oompf’, I was on my feet and sailing away.
It wasn’t super clean as the final part of the rotation was carried out on and partially under the water but I’d made it around and landed a forward loop – I haven’t done one for ages, so I was pretty stoked at that.
What a session.