Forums > Windsurfing General

tack or helitack

Created by sonny2727 > 9 months ago, 12 Oct 2015
VIC, 118 posts
12 Oct 2015 1:42PM
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Hi All,
just wondering what's more useful to learn on a short board, tack or helitack?

both are difficult but what would help me say
1.get upwind
2. come back to beach when the wind drops


WA, 1553 posts
12 Oct 2015 12:34PM
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Standard tack would probably be easier to learn and slightly more effective at getting you upwind, I would think?

SA, 556 posts
12 Oct 2015 2:09PM
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Helitack is just a more difficult (freestyle) version of the tack, so I'd say almost everyone learns to tack before they take on the heli-tack. But it's probably the easiest freestyle moves to learn.

You spend a little time backwinding the sail to get the nose around in a heli-tack, and that would surely push you more downwind. So that suggests you'd lose more ground in a heli-tack. but it wouldn't have to be a huge amount, if you're snappy with it.

lao shi
WA, 1193 posts
12 Oct 2015 3:35PM
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It has helped me considerably with both those issues.
I would say learn boom to boom.
Keys for me have been
1 front foot wrapped as far around the mast as possible.
2 rig back and arms straight before moving to give you something to oppose on the other side.
3 front hand right up by the mast, back hand by the back line
4 throw the front hand towards the opposite shoulder (moves the mast down the centre of the board and forward)
5 get low, wide stance and on the new side throw the rig forward
6 keep the feet on the centre line and you can get away with a lot.
7 big rev (sheet in) with the back hand at the finish
8 don't go too early if you are not planing (get the board through the wind)

Practise rig/ foot movement on the beach(bury the fin). The more repetitions the better until the movements are automatic.
Then try and find a shallow flat water spot to practise (much harder in rolling chop)
Watch Cribby do a few
Do a course. You will save yourself a heap of time! Have a look at the Technique PDFs on tacking on his site (you need to register).
After you have the hang of it you will find it easier on a smaller board as you can scissor the board round at the finish.
Good luck!

VIC, 118 posts
12 Oct 2015 6:13PM
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Thanks guys , great tips , I think the trick is to find that flat water somewhere to practise before hitting the chop


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"tack or helitack" started by sonny2727