People learn in different ways, at different speeds and want to be pushed/bullied to different extents and to different levels. Hence I don’t try and make you conform to a fixed system. I find a system to suit you. Although we laugh, play and sail as a group, as much as I can I try to keep the coaching one to one.
My aim, and it sounds like a dodgy business plan, is to teach you to teach yourself. It all starts in the head and creating an environment where you feel relaxed and safe and up for experimenting. That means helping you choose and set up the kit so you’re 100% comfortable; and sending you in conditions and where you’re challenged but not terrified.
That’s the power of the group. Part 2 of the dodgy business plan is that you may learn as much from others on the course as you do from me! Watching people of a similar standard confront and overcome the same hurdles is powerful and inspirational.
Every course is organic creating it’s own rhythm depending on conditions and the energy levels. However a typical day would be:
A little land-based theory, perhaps on a simulator, identifying and correcting any issues thrown up by the video playback.
As we go on the water, I give everyone a pre-sail brief so they know what they’re working on.
For the first session I am on the shore or in the shallows so I can video and offer instant feedback.
In the afternoon, we tend to have a less structured session where I sail with you and get up close and personal.
Early evening or the following morning, we have the video playback. I don’t just play back all the action but I edit it, show just the relevant bits and insert good examples to give you a comparison and a positive image.
At the end of the course you will have access to all your footage.
If you hesitate at signing up because you fear the wrath of the coach if you turn up late or miss a session, DON’T! It is absolutely NOT a crime to get horizontal or take a day off. You need to be fresh and energized to sail well so dip in and out as much you like. I will always be there for you.
The wind! We worship it. We pray for a positive forecast but one thing we don’t do is stare grumpily at the sea if it’s not howling every minute of every day. Of course I choose windy destinations; however, and I say this to people BEFORE I’ve seen a forecast, I genuinely hope for some light wind sessions.
In light winds we have far better communication. We can isolate and work on, in slow motion, the skills that make up the key planing moves – for example, clew first and backwind sailing, rig and foot changes and general mobility.
It sounds like heresy but people in general make more progress during the lighter wind weeks.
In wave courses I positively pray for some lighter wind days. OK, wind is good for jumping but it also allows people to charge about in an around the waves with no real idea what they’re doing or where they’re supposed to be. But off the plane on a floaty wave board or a SUP, they have to think tactically and like a surfer, manoeuvre into the right place to catch the right wave at the right spot and then work out which way to turn to stay on that wave.
The message is, don’t fall prey to the dreaded W.G.O. (WindGuru Obsession)! We will do something valuable on the water every day whatever the wind strength.
There’s no forced jollity but every night I will book a table somewhere so the debrief and banter can continue well into the early hours. You are always welcome to join in.
The group bonding is legendary. You’ll make lifelong friends. (It’s not a registered dating agency but so far the PH clinics have produced 2 marriages!)
The first misapprehension is that wave sailing is the sole preserve of young, fit, ripped and expertly skilled ‘gung ho!’ types.
Naturally the suggested standard is a little higher – you need to be able to waterstart and sail a sub 100 litre board – but I have had ambitious weekend windsurfers sailing waves after less that 2 years experience.
It’s a different challenge. In waves, fine gybing and tacking skills are initially less important than basic water confidence – that is to say being happy ducking under breaking waves and being a solid swimmer.
The wave courses are all ‘introduction to …’ wave sailing, as well as ‘improve your wave-sailing.’ Some venues are more gentle than others, so feel free to email or phone me if you want to discuss the options.
The course is NOT just about going out and getting trashed by the biggest waves we can find! I choose the venue and launch spot according to your standard.
We do sessions on SUPS in light winds with or without sails to work on the tactics of catching waves; and sessions on flat water to hone carving skills, tacks, chicken gybes etc.
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The aim is to make you safe and independent. We cover all the essentials like carrying techniques, how to launch in a shore-break; getting through white water; what to do to preserve body and kit if you get wiped, as well as the joys of jumping and wave riding