I had a request for lessons from my friend Dana who wanted to introduce a nice 16 year old boy in our community to windsurfing. So I set up lessons for them and was happy to see a 10 knot north wind predicted for the morning.
We started with the land simulator and this was the first time to try out my new foam foot position markers on the board. Yellow first and then green for going! Dana was first with the 3.2 Duotone Now sail. After getting up, steering, getting underway and tacking, Dana was ready to hit the water. As he had some windsurf experience (Aruba 15 years ago?), I put him on the smaller Fanatic Viper 80 board. Dana sailed off from the point confidently and proceeded to get cheers from the crowd as he completed his first tack. Then he was off windsurfing back and forth, not even fazed by the large sailboat coming out of the harbour.
Next our 16 year old student was ready to try the simulator with the 2.5m Fanatic Ripper rig. He didn't think he would be able to do it, but I had been told that he used to be a dinghy sailor. So sure enough, he was also competent on the simulator and shortly after that I put him on the Fanatic Viper HD board. He sailed off as well to encouraging cheers from mom and grandpa on the rock. He was pretty far away when we watched and cheered his first tack.
I got on the Seadoo to come out and take pictures. I was surprised that even after my new foot markings on the simulator, it is still hard for students to point their front foot forward. So I worked on mentioning that to the students.
After an hour of sailing back and forth Dana was still close to the point but asked for a short lift back upwind.
Our 16 year old had been doing well but was now losing a lot of ground downwind. He'd gotten good so quickly, he forgot some basics. If you hold the sail perfectly where you would if you were moving, but you haven't started moving yet, you just slide downwind. Go back to neutral, slowly sheet in and start sailing... Keeping your eyes looking just a bit upwind helps too.
Eventually after several tacks with me behind on the Seadoo giving tips (and frankly a bit amazingly) he was headed right back to the starting point. Everyone was cheering and I mentioned that very few students make it back upwind on their first ever session!
Smiles all around and looking forward to the next session with these two.