Fuerteventura N | Mar 20 - 8:00 MESZ | NNW - 3 Bft
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Text and Rider:
Craig Gertenbach

The most important thing to remember when trying a back loop is that it is a vertical jump - straight up and down, not a sideways, horizontal jump. This is the biggest mistake that most people make, because when you do it verticaly, you lose the forward momentum, therefore there is very little pressure in the sail, also the angle of the wind is not as direct into the sail when landing more verticaly, so this also makes landings easier. When you do it more horizontaly/sideways, you keep a lot of the forward momentum and therefore power/speed - this makes landing very difficult as the sail is full of wind and also you have a lot of forward/sideways speed on the landing, therefore too much pressure in the sail.

Try to think of the back loop as a 2 part jump - jump straight up into the wind, hold that position until the highest point, then as you begin to drop downwards, begin turning the sail and board around and drop into part 2 , the landing....easy!

3 most important things to remember:

[1] Choose a very steep wave, this helps to jump more verticaly and therefore reduces the forward momentum/power problems.
[2] Good speed is needed, to try a decent height, the lower you are the more perfect the timing has to be, so rather start with a bit higher ones first.....10-12m should be fine! Just kidding, more like 3m!
[3] Try to control the sail and board at all times during the rotation to avoid over-rotation, this means using your head, as the body always follows the head in all manouevers.

Look for a steep wave, best is one breaking either left or right, so you can choose exactly the steepest point next to the breaking white water, don´t try it off swell in the beginning, this is very hard! You can already hook out at this point just before you hit the wave, to ensure you stay safe and have full control of the sail.

Hit the wave going slightly upwind at the steepest possible point, this will shoot you up verticaly and slightly into the wind!

Try to get the board almost above you and head into the wind slightly, as vertical as possible. Keep the sail closed at this point, as though you were doing a normal high jump. Keep both your legs bent, especialy the back leg, so that the board is always fairly close to you. Your back hand should be further back on the boom than usual, this so that you can control the sail and the speed of the rotation by opening/closing the sail at various moments. By now the sail should feel lighter in your hands as the angle to the wind is much less than in normal jumps.

The first critical moment, the top of the jump. Most important here is to turn your head in the new direction - down! When you perfect this point, you will already see your landing spot! Open the sail slightly, lift the tail of the board so that it can start dropping down verticaly and nose first.....stay calm...!

Keep opening the sail, bringing the tail of the board up more and always trying to keep the head back and looking down, keep the legs bent and fairly close to your body.

Well on the way down already, start already to slightly close the sail as you will be now directly down wind - if you open it too much now, you will get pulled around from the wind entering the sail, therefore a over-rotation.....avoid this at all costs!

Almost about to touchdown, sail is quite closed now, nose is dropping for a "nose-first" landing.....don´t try to land tail first, way too much power and you will hurt yourself! You might like to just slide your back hand a bit further back now to prepare for the big load in the sail upon landing.

Touchdown! Lots of power in the sail as it comes around more towards a more open angle to the wind - therefore at the moment you land, try to open the sail to release this excessive power. Try to absorb some of this power during landing with bending the legs. Try to land mostly directly downwind in the beginning, it is easier as you can then muscle the last part around - landing at 90° to the wind is pretty hard and the timing needs to be perfect...always good to have a goal!

Made it! Start sheeting in and lean a bit backwards as the nose comes up, as there will for sure be plenty of power in the sail, no matter how you land! Don´t get pulled over forward if the nose does want to come out of the water, just lean far back, release the back hand if you have to and it will come up eventualy!

Sheet in, get some speed, congratulate yourself and look for the next ramp, to go higher and maybe even one handed!!

Have fun learning the back loop, it is not the easiest jump, but after you land your first one, it is a real feeling of achievement, plus one of the most fun moves there is - you can control it at every point, you can look down at the wave you just jumped, look back at the beach as you turn and then look down....far down to the place you want (hope!) to land!!


Rider & Text: Craig Gertenbach
Pics: Stehsegelrevue
Location: Capetown / Platboom

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