The Wing Clock

Part 2 in a 3-Part Series

You can read Part 1 here

You can read Part 3 here

Feeling where the wind is coming from while winging is a skill that can be practiced anywhere – on or off the water. During my lesson with Jonathan from Cascade Kiteboarding we spent about an hour on land. Sure I was hankering to get in the water – but the fundamentals that he was sharing were crucial. I had no idea how much I didn’t know.

Windsurfing and sailing had been my wind-driven experience for many decades. Wind fueling and driving a wing is a different experience in many ways. First of all I needed to realize that I WAS THE MAST! If any power would be generated from the wing to move the board, the “mast” or my strong upright posture and core was the vehicle.

Additionally, if the mast was going to remain upright, I needed to keep my feet FLAT – and keep the board balanced. This is a key technique if you ever plan to move on to a foil board. Once we got some balance going on, I picked up my Freewing AIR V2 and moved it to the luff, or pointing toward the 12 o’clock position. It soared quietly and easily perpendicular to the wind when I put it in position while holding the front handle – creating a neutral point.

It is a no-brainer that we want to have the wing on the downwind side when we start. This is the starting position for land drills and also for when we move to the water before we power up for our “pop-ups”. There are other ways to imagine the “wind clock.” Kiters often use a vertical image.

Johnathan drew a line on the ground that would serve as my imaginary board during the land drills. We worked on where my feet should be placed – and most importantly, he explained ‘Why” my feet should be there.

I learned that there was no need to fight the wing when it was in the 12 o’clock position. Being at 12 o’clock would allow me to control movement during gusts or any time I needed to control my speed or re-group. From this position I learned the best way to flip the wing and prepare to sail it

I was amazed how much I learned about keeping my elbows in, using my back hand for steering the wing and allowing my forward hand to steady things. Moving from the 3 o’clock to the 9 o’clock positions I began to get the feel for what going upwind or downwind was like. Yes, I came into this lesson with some skills. But I left the lesson with a much greater appreciation of the windy wonderful flight across water that the wing can offer.

I experienced what it felt like putting myself in a no-go (literally) spot. Being in irons with a wing is no fun. Being able to maintain power while making your way upwind is a beautifully nuanced skill – but also a necessity.

Part 3 can be found here.

3 thoughts on “The Wing Clock

  1. Pingback: Zoom Winging – Then You’ve Gotta Turn | Elder SUP

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