Hey everyone... sorry I missed the last couple weeks but I've been a busy boy and on the road. I just got back from an incredible Baja Wave camp at Solosports. We had 19 of the coolest dudes from all over the world. It was a blast! I went from wave riding in perfect Baja conditions to getting knocked out in San Francisco for one last surgery to get my left leg working better. I had a lot of metal in there (see photo right) and it was making my bottom turns a little stiff. I didn’t want to bend any of those screws to make matters worse, so they are out of there now and I am back on recovery road! Doc said I’m going to be right back in the game and will be much better off! Below is a pic from after the surgery for you to check out... needless to say my surgeon did an amazing job getting the pieces put back together!
HOW TO PUMP ONTO A PLANE:
This week we are going to talk about pumping onto a plane. We had a lot of people asking about this down in Baja. How do you get going so fast? Well, a lot of it is technique and a little of it is equipment... so what's the secret?
Getting going takes a lot of energy and it can also waste a lot of energy if you don’t do it correctly. The first mistake I see is overpumping. They pull the sail in too far and lose the pull. It is very important to keep tension in your arms from the power of the sail. Does that make sense? Once you get the power into your arms, you need to translate it into your legs and into the fin.... everything is connected. If you are missing one of those important factors, you are going to be dead in the water with your tongue hangin out!
In order to learn how to become an efficient pumper, start off with these little exercises that will teach you some tricks:
1. Make short little pumps with your arms and feel the tension in the rig. Don’t over- do it. Just start to feel the power of the rig in your hands and keeping with that power. Don’t let it get away, but let it keep pulling you forward and don’t ever get those arms bent too much so that you lose the pull.
2. Once you have a feel for this, take a rest and catch your breath. Next time, do the same thing as above and get your pelvis moving along with your pumps. Try to scoop the wind in the sail by pulling in and lifting UP on your booms. Start to translate this movement into your legs in order to get the fin moving. As you pull in with your arms, you are extending with your legs trying to drive that fin. The Aussies call this “shaggin” so that might give you a better concept to visualize! You are trying to use that fin as a “Rudder” to skull your way forward and get that board moving.
As for your equipment, well here are some facts. If you have the latest and greatest gear then you are going to get planing more quickly. If you have never had a chance to try out a 100% Carbon mast, carbon booms and an efficient board and sail, well you better not try it unless you plan to buy it. Yes, it does make that much of a difference as compared to a 55% carbon mast, a 10 year old sail with a matching vintage board. So when people ask me how I can get up and planing so quickly, yes there is some technique involved but I have some of the best windsurfing equipment available and I am SPOILED!
Don’t get me wrong, you can still practice your pumping skills on your 20 year old gear... anything will help get that stuff going, but you will have to work much harder to make it move. I only talk about the gear because people ask and I’m telling you straight up. I’m not telling you to go buy new stuff. It’s all fun so get out there and get ready for an awesome season of windsurfing! See you out there. —Matt Pritchard
Three-Time World Champion, Matt Pritchard is sponsored by Gaastra Sails, Tabou Boards, Dakine, Kaenon Polarized and Camaro Wetsuits. If you want to learn more and improve your sailing, Check out ALOHA WINDSURFING CLINICS on Maui. Matt has teamed up with expert coach and awesome sailor Shawna Cropas and they will be doing monthly all inclusive clinics that will guarantee results!