When thinking about going for a Heli tack in 5kts or in 25kts I try and think of the movie The Color of Money. If I'm teaching, I put on my best Paul Newman and try to imagine my student as a young Tom Cruise. Thats because the best advice I can give anyone is to "reach back" on the boom and "slide the sail into the wind." But invariably everyone thinks about the heli tack and how the sail moves around... and they think the sail goes everywhere except into the wind (like hitting every rail but not a single ball in the pocket). So If we think of The Color of Money and you have a big sweaty pile of greenbacks sitting on the rail, which by the way if you sink the 8-ball you get to walk away with, we achieve a slightly different focus.
Enter our cue — the boom! Our front hand is the guiding hand and our back hand is the striking hand. Now we don’t play pool with our hands 3-inches apart, so we are going to reach WAY back on the boom!
Our Guiding hand, is going to keep the sail de-powered and pointed straight in the wind.
That Striking hand (which is WAY BACK on the boom) is going to propel our cue/boom towards our target moving the head of the boom straight and true through the wind.
Once the head of the boom (or the Cue ball...in this analogy) has moved enough into the wind (i.e. harness lines in front of body) our ball has been struck!
We are going to stand tall, arch our back in triumph and release the pressure from our front hand, still grasping our back hand “WAY BACK on the boom!” We are not going to watch our stick/boom but follow the cue ball strait to the 8-ball! And we'll continue to follow the 8-ball into the corner pocket. The sail will harmlessly move around us as we stand proud and tall. All thats left is to level our boom, flip our sail and collect that big wad of sweaty money sitting on the rail.
Tips to Remember to pocket your next Heli Tack:
Never let go of your cue stick! I know its a big temptation to throw the stick to the ground, or to release it after a big shot, and announce to everyone “yeah, I made that shot” but we have more money to win later....so stop with the sail clew first!
Follow the ball into the hole. After striking your ball you are not done! Keep looking forward and into the wind despite how cool it looks when the sail flips around. Learning that this shot is for everyone else to watch with a jaw dropped, but not for you to watch!
Use the granny stick. You get no extra points trying to making this shot the hard way, so go out in light wind using a big board to get all the motions down. Then start making it harder. You don’t win the big game with out hustling on the streets for a while.
"You gotta have two things to win... you gotta have brains and you gotta have balls.”— Eddie Felson. We have taken care of one, so go out there and rack them up!
Brendon Quinn (aka the Windsurfing Gypsy) teaches full time for ABK Boardsports and is sponsored by RRD boards and sails and Ocean Sunglasses.
The 4 Stages to a Perfect Jibe May 25, 2009 Most of lifes toughest lessons come with a 10-step program... well ABK makes Jibing easy by using only 4!
(Click here to view the video larger)
More MacGyver VENT PLUG tips Apr 29, 2010 MacGyver
Vent Plug Advice Extras!
If you leave your board on the roof of your car you should use your vent plug. If you leave your board in a board bag you...
How to Get People into Windsurfing - Part 1 Jan 12, 2012 In this video Sam Ross, from the UK, begins a five part "Getting People into Windsurfing" series by looking at the best gear to use, or adapting the gear you may already...
Turning an A-base Fin into a Slot Box Fin Aug 10, 2012 Did you just get a board with a Slot Box fin? Do you want to use a different fin? Well you can take a standard A-base fin and turn it into a Slot Box fin! If you have...
Matt Pritchard's Quick Wavesailing Tips Aug 7, 2012 One thing about windsurfing is you never get bored!!! There is always something new to learn or another challenge that lies ahead! No matter if you are learning to jibe...