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overcoming fear of waves
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Joined: 08 Aug 2008
Posts: 73

PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:43 am    Post subject: overcoming fear of waves Reply with quote

I usually go out to Maui / Kanaha beach in the spring when the waves are smaller. I consider myself being an intermediate windsurfer that can jibe and waterstart with no problems. I am just trying to overcome the fear of waves Sad , so far I always stay on inside the break. So what would happen if I crash at the worst part of the wave? Where is it anyway, I would assume it is right where it breaks. How is the best way to get out if you found yourself being pounded by one wave after another? If you fall some distance from the “danger zone “could to winds or currents sweep you into to the “danger zone “Or will the water from the breaking waves push you away.
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Joined: 24 Apr 2010
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you considered familiarizing yourself with the break zone on something simpler and safer, like a boogie board? That'd be my suggestion. Paddle out into some smallish waves on a boogie board and go surfing. You'll get tossed around a bunch and figure out right there if you're comfortable swimming around in breakers, which is what you'll be doing when you wipe out in the middle of it on your wavesailing rig.
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Joined: 25 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 2:08 pm    Post subject: Sailing Waves is Like Waterstarting - Practice 1st Reply with quote

VA12 has a good idea. Before I windsurfed the coast I surfed it for a few years. Pick a chill area to start & work your way up with a surf or boogie board. Bottom line is you are gonna get worked when you windsurf the waves. If you panic it will be an unpleasant experience in your mind more so than your body Shocked . The more comfortable you are in the zone (where the set of waves is breaking) the better time you will have when everything goes to hell Laughing . If you know a wreck is imminent always get out of your harness b4 you hit the water! Once you're down grab hold of the mast by the top to stay in control of your gear and afloat. Next is how quickly can I get everything in position to waterstart & get myself outa here. Repositioning your gear becomes crucial when the current & waves are moving everything around the wrong way. Learn to move the front of your board w/ 1 hand on the mast to get it facing towards shore and be able to flip your sail quickly or waterstart with clew facing forward. Keep us updated and have fun no matter what!
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Joined: 10 May 1998
Posts: 1154

PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kanaha has got to be one of the friendliest easiest places on earth to learn wave sailing-when its small of course! Watch some of the folks at Ho'okipa or at Kanaha and imitate-the time tested and most accessible of methods. Sure, you'll learn some painful discomforting lessons as you gain experience-expect it and enjoy it. Now the good news; Kanaha has some of the easiest breaking waves anywhere. And in smaller wave conditions it naturally pushes you OUT of the impact zone. Not true on the Cali coast.

You know all this talk about waterboarding-yes, you will be waterboarded out there. Stuck under your gear as you are taken for an unpleasant ride, being washed as you go, but it finally ends and then you get a chance to start all over again.

Truthfully, I've enjoyed learning wavesailing much more than learning gybes or waterstarting.
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Joined: 18 Jun 2000
Posts: 1277

PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


What all of the others said is good. Might I just add that you should swim without even so much as a boogie board in a break and see what it is like. You also need to be a good, strong swimmer and be able to hold your breath well. Be good at knowing when to grab that last breath before impacting or going under water. If you go out in waves of any size over about six feet, you can find yourself held under for a pretty good period of time if the break is a powerful one and you lose a hold of your rig.

Probably best to experience it without the cumbersomeness of a windsurfing rig for your first time, so body surfing or boogie boarding should be your first time in waves. The concern I have with you starting with the boogie board is that it is an excellent floatation device. It can make it seem easier than it is. If you are windsurfing and lose your rig, you won't have anything like a boogie board to hold on to.

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Joined: 30 May 2007
Posts: 980
Location: Formerly Cape Hatteras, now Burlington, VT!

PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

These guys have it right! Time in the water breeds confidence. Go for a swim on a very small day, and build up from there. Remember to relax and breathe (when your head is above water, of course)! Laughing Dive deep under the waves and most of the power will go right over you. Generally, currents and white water will pull you clear of the impact zone. That's not always true, so consult your local heroes about your home break!

best of luck, just remember to relax! Waist high will be terrifying, but then you'll get used to that. then chest high will be terrifying... etc etc until you find yourself getting washed by mast high monsters and not really caring! But you definitely have to work your way up... Trial by fire is not the best method for wave sailing... Pick your days and ease yourself into it.
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Joined: 04 May 2004
Posts: 2719

PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As above.....just swimming alone is the biggest thing you can do.

Rolling around, getting tumbled in the whitewater.......surrendering to a Power larger than you.....all that stuff Smile

Plus it's a good way to get clean

Breath holding:

The whole idea is to not PANIC!!!!!!! Shocked

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Joined: 05 Jun 2002
Posts: 236

PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yea, definitely as outcast said, "Do not Panic!" There is a natural tendency to panic when you are not used to the ocean. As others have mentioned, find a way to familiarize yourself with the ocean first to be comfortable getting tossed around.

Once you are ready to take a windsurfing rig into the surf, there are tons of great material online including tips, tricks, and techniques to get out there. Main thing is to study up, prep yourself in flatwater (or areas you are used to), then go out in ideal first-time conditions and have fun! All the prep, and first time recommendations can be found with a simply google search.

Its a whole new windsurfing world in the waves, but the dynamic nature of wavesailing makes it last a lifetime. I do not think I have ever heard anyone say they became "bored" windsurfing in the surf! Very Happy

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Joined: 27 May 2005
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For sure, improving your swimming in surf is the best safety device you can have. Getting comfortable getting beat on by the ocean until you don't care anymore is good advice. The first time I went to Maui, I couldn't really swim that well w/o a PFD so I spent the whole winter at the local pool holding my breath and swimming underwater so I would stay relaxed. A couple Novembers ago, I got steam-rolled by a mast high set on the outside at the upper end of Lower Kanaha and didn't get my gear back until way on the inside at the far end of kite beach. I'm not sure how far it is, but it must have been at least 500M before I grabbed my board again, and I had to swim all the way through the impact zone with logo to mast-high sets landing on my head. The locals do it like nothing but for me, it was gratifying knowing that I had progressed that far. My best wave-sailing always seems to come after I spend time on a surf board. Knowing how to duck dive and where to position yourself on a wave (going out and coming in) is invaluable. You'll find that eventually the difference between glory and misery is a matter of a few feet in position and if you know what to do with your body and a surf-board, it's just one more step to position your sail properly and duck dive your whole rig and let the energy sweep right over top of you instead of getting clobbered. Kanaha is about as friendly a place to learn to wave sail as there is. You can always flag someone down if you're in trouble. I've held people's boards on the inside until they could catch up to there gear and there are lifeguards on jet skis now so just start small and work up to it. Just remember that getting clobbered is part of the game so just relax until either the sets get smaller or you get washed to the inside. Then water start and go back for more ...
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Joined: 04 May 2004
Posts: 2719

PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't practice swimming at Kanaha unless it's before 11 or you'll get mowed down.

Baldwin beach has some rougher shorebreak right in front of lifeguards, and Paia bay probably best on North side

Wailea's really a great place to swim

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