Lake sailor Jack, keen as mustard to give waves a go, stands before the thumping shorebreak of Llandudno holding his 140 litre freeride board with a 45 cm fin and 6.5 freeride rig. Conditions are 25 knots of wind and blowing bolt onshore. A friend told him the only way to master waves is to get out there and give it a lash. But in this incidence, his only option is to fail, and the experience of failing will be so destructive that it will just leave him poorer rather than wiser.
Wave sailing is absolutely learned through experimentation and getting the odd drilling – but they must be happy drillings. That means starting from a position where some level of success is likely, or just possible – which in turn involves research and preparation - and maybe a clinic. No, I’m not here to promote my wave clinics because that would be tacky, although understandable. However, on such a clinic my main job is initially not to deliver an endless stream of technique babble but to manufacture the right environment.
As we arrive at the chosen shore, I want to be able to say: “This spot, in these conditions, is fine for your level; and this is the board and rig combo that will yield the best results.” And then given that the most common reaction to the challenge is, “I’m not sure what I should be doing.” I will add: “these are the moves and sailing lines most suited to this strength and direction of wind and the nature and s