I attended a short, evening clinic with Jem Hall at Andy Biggs Watersports. We learnt all about ‘Bananas’ and ‘Fish fingers’, The 5 Illnesses of Windsurfing Technique and how quarter of an inch makes a difference. Experienced windsurfers all, we were given so many tips and had so many ‘Eureka’ moments in so short a time that afterwards, the word on the street was “I wish I’d brought a pen and paper!”
“Who has got my DVD?” Jem asked us. Our hands shot up like a bunch of over-eager school kids. “Me sir! Me! Me! I’ve got it, sir!” “Who has actually watched it…?” Our hands shot down and we stared uncomfortably at our feet… Years of experience in coaching people like you and I means that Jem is wise to all of our little tricks of self-deceit – like ‘owning training materials will magically improve our windsurfing’ – and he WILL find you out! “If you’ve got the DVD, WATCH IT! And PRACTISE! That way, when you come on a course, I will be coaching you on a technique, not showing you how to do it for the first time. I get people on looping courses who have never even tried any of the pre-exercises, but they expect to learn to loop in a day!”
“Knowledge is Power.” Jem told us. And that knowledge needs to be diverse. There is no doubt that tuning up your technique will improve your sailing, but what do you know about tuning your equipment? I don’t just mean tweaking your downhaul a bit to tune your sails; what about your footstraps? Your fins? Your mast-foot? Or your boom height?
“The cheapest way to upgrade your quiver” Jem told us “is to TUNE! For example – a good fin will transform a mediocre board. If you are overpowered, why not try changing the fin instead of your sail?” I told you that Jem will find you out. ‘Tuning’ is not a word, it is a sentence – and one which could spell the end of blaming your equipment for those grim gybes and tragic tacks!
But tuning isn’t all bad news. We all know that adjusting your harness lines following a wipe-out is the universal language for “Actually, I REALLY meant to do that…” Tuning does give you a few more original variations of things to fiddle with in the water to look like you meant it!
Jem also told us “’If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got.’ The key is to EXPERIMENT- and do your Force 3-4 homework. You WILL learn more in light winds. It will keep you fit – and it will also stop you from killing yourself in a wind drought!”
I think that it is only fair to tell you at this point that Bananas and Fish Fingers are rockered wave boards and flat slalom boards. But which should you buy? Should you invest in a twinser or a quad? What is the best downhaul line? How will SUPs benefit your windsurfing? What ARE The 5 Illnesses of Windsurfing Technique and how DOES half an inch make a difference? C’mon, I only have 500 words in me blog and I am already over! If you want to know the answers, you really need to come along and have a chat with the man himself. I assure you that it will be time very well spent!
Jem Hall will be giving FREE coaching clinics throughout the weekend at N.W.F. Remember to watch your DVDs and do that Force 3 & 4 homework beforehand, or you will be found out… Oh – and DON’T forget to bring a pen and paper!
For more information on Jem’s ‘Beginner to Winner’ and ‘Winner to Wavesailor’ DVDs and his coaching clinics at home or abroad, visit www.jemhall.com