Flat water windsurf trickery – essential carving freestyle for improved sailing

September 19th, 2017

As an aspiring windsurfer you’ll probably have been fixated upon the usual goals of:

Turning (tacking, gybing)

Harness and footstraps

Carve gybes

Chop hops

The above skills are definitely ones to master but then what? Of course there are wave moves – big jumps and tweaked airs – but for many the upside down inverted area of windsurfing isn’t appealing. At least, not yet. With that in mind here are a few flat water moves (some would say old school freestyle) to master as you build up confidence to the more aerial inspired trickery.

Upwind/downwind 360

Upwind and downwind 360s are great to learn. Both teach you a lot about carving, foot pressure and rig control which will straddle other areas of your sailing. Both can be done in or out of the straps each being as stylish as you see fit to make.

Best on flat or flatter water they’re fun performed when fully powered. Stomp either an up or down three and we guarantee you’ll be grinning from ear to ear.

Downwind 360

Push tack

This is a great move for any aspiring new school freestyler to have under his/her belt. Essentially a funky way of turning round (upwind) it also teaches riders what your rig feels like when thrown mast first into the breeze.

The classic Golito invented burner uses very similar skills, albeit in switch stance mode. Still, you’ll get the idea so is good grounding for the more advanced progression.

Sail 360

If you can duck gybe then you can do a planing 360. Bearing off and flipping the sail from the clew is super satisfying. And while fairly easy it looks great to those standing on the beach. The better you get the less hand movements you need with the ultimate goal being to flip the rig in one go, your mitts landing back on the right side of the boom.

Speed is your friend here but ultimately it’s a nifty way of learning how your rig behaves at full power.


This can be a nice way to finish off a run – especially if you’re about to give it neck for the day. Slicing the rig forwards and into wind the trick is to get it low enough but with still breeze on the opposite side of the sail so that it blows back into your hands.

Boomerangs can be performed off the plane but look far more impressive with a little speed. Being slightly under powered will help initially before riders move up to windier conditions.

Reverse monkey gybe

There is of course the monkey gybe… But the reverse monkey gybe is arguably easier – especially if you have an efficient duck gybe under your belt.

Essentially you head into a duck gybe as normal before throwing in a sail and body 360 about halfway into the move, exiting the turn ideally on the plane. As with many windsurfing manoeuvres it’s all about speed. The faster you go the lighter the rig will be and therefore easier to throw about. It’s then simply a case of mastering footwork.


These days the above are considered to be simple by freestyle standards. Yet most recreational sailors would be happy to have these in their bag of tricks. And there are plenty more where these came from. Have a look online for more old school freestyle tricks and you’ll be kept quiet for weeks!