Nayra Alonso - new move, now! (courtesy of Fernando Sanchez)
Nayra Alonso bails out during a push loop (courtesy of PWA/Carter)
Why learn new moves?  Why subject yourself to seemingly endless crashes and uncountable bruises?
Why even learn a push loop? Temira Wagonfeld has the answers.
Ripping back and forth making 99.9 percent of your jibes is thrilling. Jump a few feet in the air and hear the silence of flying, throw a duck jibe or two, and you have your adrenaline rush for the day. Why bother learning flashy and potentially dangerous aerials like the forward, the Vulcan, and the push loop? You can learn new moves to earn sponsors, win contests, and make your windsurfing experience more exciting. However, there’s much more than self-aggrandizement going on here. Improving your sailing is your responsibility to windsurfing. That’s right. You are obligated, for the sake of women’s windsurfing, for the future of our beloved sport, to learn new moves. Go bigger, try harder, and help out the other women. The men get better every year. If you want to see the women catch up, or at least hold their own, you owe it to your fellow women to try something new.

Remember when snowboarding was young? Remember the 6-foot halfpipe? The hand-plant? Did you see the snowboarders in this year’s 18-foot Olympic halfpipe? The equipment hasn’t changed much at all – only the role models are exponentially better. We learn by example, and we understand our potential by seeing others’ achievements. An article about Daida and Iballa Moreno opened my eyes. Their push loops and forwards inspired my attempts. My forwards encouraged my friends. My friends’ successes encourage me to provide other examples. Believe it or not, even if you don’t throw huge moves, compete, teach lessons, or write articles, admiring eyes are watching you. Jibing women inspired you before you could jibe, right? With nervous hesitation, you asked for tips and advice. Some suggestions were helpful, some weren’t. You inspire today’s windsurfing women. Your skills are their possibilities. Your example helps them see their potential. One day, someone will say to you, “I saw you trying that move all day. What is it, because I want to try?” You’ll be thrilled to help her out!

Trying new aerials wasn’t easy for me, and it probably won’t be easy for you. In the end, the build-up is much worse than the attempt. Intentionally flying over the handlebars or spinning through an aerial one-eighty takes a lot of guts. Attempting brings relief, no matter the ending. Prior knowledge of the minor crash at the end of my first forward would have saved me three years of agonizing. Mental barriers are the biggest obstacles to learning new moves. Work around these roadblocks. Get a friend to try the move with you. Establish incremental incentives. First person to land on their back out of a forward gets a free dinner. No sailing partner? Create incentives for yourself. Set aside money for something you really want to buy. Take yourself to Maui if you learn to loop (and not before!) Set deadlines, and have consequences if you don’t make a first attempt before the deadline. Within all this structure, have compassion for yourself. It took me three years of miserably sailing back and forth to try my first forward. I finally tried because I was so upset over not trying that I felt I had nothing to lose. Don’t work yourself into that kind of mental state!

Author Tamira Wagonfeld jibes, smiles and loops (photos: Jon Malmberg)

Fear often dominates the desire to learn something new. What scares you? Are you afraid of injuries? The pain of crashing? Breaking your gear? Injuries are miserable, so sail smart. Wear a helmet. Spend the money for a Gath, and avoid whiplash. Don’t panic and let go of your gear unless you know you must. Landing on your gear or having it landing on you is an easy way to get hurt. Don’t sail close to other sailors. Collisions result in the worst injuries. Afraid of pain? It’s transitory. If you don’t like hitting the water hard, wear a full wetsuit for learning aerials. Want to learn forwards? Wear a 5/3. It’s much less painful than having your rash-guard-protected back smack the water’s surface. Learning Spocks? Wear shin-guards or you’ll be limping when the mast slams into your legs. Looking like a geek is ok! Afraid of breaking your gear? If you are trying big aerial moves, you deserve the insurance of partial sponsorship, at the least. Be smart about your purchasing decisions. Don’t buy all-monofilm sails. Sell your boards and booms when the warranty is up. Use skinny masts. Ride carbon booms. Check your universal joint for cracks before you sail. Tighten your base before you go on the water. Rinse your gear with fresh water if you sail in the ocean. And chase down some sponsors!

Sometimes a new move stymies. Frustration and anger build, and windsurfing becomes a private hell. If the misery outweighs the fun, take a break. Go surfing for a week. Watch the whitecaps for a week. After a few perfect 4.0 days pass, you’ll be aching to get on the water. Don’t give in. Don’t sail until you really want to sail. You’ll come back re-energized and ready to try a new move. If that doesn’t work, choose a different move. Pick an easy trick to bring a smile back to your windsurfing sessions. Go old-school. Body drags, pirouette jibes and boomerangs are fun and simple. Restore your confidence. For ideas and instructions, check sites like Break up your routine, and you just might surprise yourself. When you are skimming the surface of a lake, river, or ocean, remember that you are the future of windsurfing. Throwing forwards, push loops, and backs will better your, inspire your friends, and improve windsurfing itself. Accept your responsibility as an elite member of the windsurfing community, and learn something new. You won’t regret the attempt!


text: Temira Wagonfeld, photos: Jon Malmberg, Fernando Sanchez, PWA/Carter windgirls 2006