Every month at least one WINDWISE client will win a fabulous GUL rash vest!
WIN A GUL RASH VEST!
Each month we're featuring a WINDWISE 'WINDSURFER OF THE MONTH'.
This will be someone who has either shown great progress, made a major breakthrough or simply impressed us enough to win our monthly award and a great prize! In the future we might be putting it to the vote, but we get things started with our.......
APRIL WINDWISE 'WINDSURFER OF THE MONTH' IS........... AMAURY LAMY
Some of you may have met Amaury on some of our overseas trips or one of our UK sessions. He's a really great chap and has put everything into his windsurfing since we have known him. It's amazing what you can achieve with a bit of determination and a little help and assistance along the way! Here's how Amuary went from beginner to fast tacking and carve gybing a 100L board in under 40 days! He also made it into the new summer issue of Boards - here's the interview!
The saying goes it takes '10,000 hours to master a sport', and if you've spent, weeks, months and years struggling to improve you might well feel, it's 'time on the water' that counts. But I'd like to introduce to you Amaury Lamy. Like many windsurfers, he can fast tack, carve gybe and comfortably sail a sub 100L board, even in the rough stuff. Yet he achieved this in less than 40 days on the water! Proving that it's how you use your time on the water that really counts. People like Amaury offer inspiration and prove you can fast tack through the sport.
Name: Amaury Lamy
Occupation: IT consultant (programmer)
Local Sailing Spot: Datchet Reservoir
What gave you the windsurfing bug?
"I had a go as a kid, but thought nothing of it. Then when I turned 30, I felt like trying something new. I rented some kit a couple times. Then on one day, when the conditions were too extreme for me, I momentarily and accidentally got planing. No harness, just hanging on for about three seconds before being thrown off! That amazing feeling defined everything. From then on I was hooked!"
When Simon Bornhoft first met Amaury he'd done a few days windsurfing on small sails, no harness and was getting into the usual up and down routine. So we immediately mixed things up, rather than just concentrate on straight lines on bigger sails, harness and straps, we supplemented everything with skills training. 'Upwind Downwinders', Sail 360's, Clew First Beach Starts, Nose Sinks, Switched Stance to reinforce the key windsurfing principles that are transferable into more advanced situations. We also started tackling waterstarts well before planing skills.
What specific points stick with you the most?
"Vision: I'm amazed what a difference looking in the right direction makes.
Opposition: Initially I found it difficult to grasp how 'opposing the rig' is applied through your body. No matter how often you hear, "Push with your front arm", you never do it because it's counterintuitive, (we tend to pull)! But after accentuating opposing the mast in helitacks and other light winds skills, when I transferred it into gybing, suddenly the sail becomes lighter and the board's flatter."
What was the tipping point for you at the early stages?
"Getting into the straps (especially the back one) and control. It was having the commitment and the courage to go full speed (with SB was right behind me – you know that feeling!!!!). I got into the back strap by sinking, "More, more, more in the harness". I can still hear it in my head! I'd been hooked in but was using my arms too much. That was a big revelation that opened up everything else. Also doing runs on a tandem gives incredible 1-2-1 feedback!"
What was easier to learn than you anticipated?
"Waterstarting. It took about 10 min of demos and a lot of spluttering water in Alacati before making my first one! (SB. That annoyed a lot of people) But it instantly took me into another league. I'm glad I dealt with that earlier than most seem to."
Gybing can fairly quickly, what made the biggest difference?
"Big board and light wind practice, which gives time to think and internalize everything in slow motion. The body mechanics and land exercises can be frustrating when you want to get out on the water, but they're annoyingly useful, just like those Clew First Beach Starts!"
Why do you think you've learnt so fast?
"Comparatively, I spent less time going up and down and more time doing specific drills that develop the right techniques. I've learnt to trust a coach more than my own abilities. I never questioned anything and just tried it, even if I thought it was above or below my perceived level. I learnt quicker with simple definite answers. Generic solutions that always work, so simple mottos like "Look, lean & leaver that rig" reinforce key principles like Vision and opposing the body with the rig, and they help you self-coach and get more from seeing yourself on video."
What do people say to you when they hear how little time you've spent on the water?
"Talk to Simon!"
What's your goal in windsurfing?
"To ride big waves and I hear loops are easier than gybing!?"
Everyone learns and takes windsurfing at whatever pace suits their age, health and passion for how much they really want to improve. But what people like Amaury illustrate is that with the right guidance and determination, windsurfing progression can actually be quite fast. But nothing is achieved without hard work and making every hour we spend on the water as much fun and effective as we can!
With a mix of UK and overseas trips this is the approximate times scale of a real life learning experience.
1-7 Days: Mucked about, tried it, caught the bug!
10-20 Days: Introduced to skills training which lead to rapid harnessing, straps and waterstarting 120-140L board.
20-30 Days: Continued skills training which suddenly improved tacking and nearly carve gybing 105L board.
30-40 Days: Planing skills training which lead to better blasting, riding small waves, tacking and carve gybing a sub 100L board
Super Speedy Suggestions
Towing! We now tow beginners with a 5-6m line. It massively improves their stability and ease learning to uphaul, steer, tack and gybe.
Tandems are great to coax people through the stance, harnessing and straps stage.
Waterstart as soon as you get your hands on a boom. It's nothing to do with your blasting ability.
Gybing is enhanced when supplemented with light wind Duck Gybing, Sail 360's, Clew First Beach Starts and learning to unhook without sheeting out!
Video feedback is priceless!
A 95Kg complete beginner who learnt to waterstart and blast on a 120L board in one week!
The amazing Moira Bastow, who at 81 years young carve gybes a 75L board!
When we sail up and down trying the same thing, hoping for change. We all do it ☺