Steps to Better Wingfoil Tacks

Like any boathandling skill or board skill, repetition is key, but these simple steps from a world champion will help you nail your wingfoiling tacks consistently.

Wingfoiling in the ocean
Swift rotation of the wing overhead during a tack should be followed by pressure applied on the front foot to keep the nose of the board from lifting. Svetlana Romantsova/Courtesy Paula Novatna

After honing your skills with wingfoil jibes, the next progression is taking your wingfoiling to the next level by perfecting the tack. Tacks are not only practical for changing your direction swiftly but also add a touch of style to your wingfoiling performance. Mastering tacks requires practicing diligently, and once you’ve perfected them you’re sure to impress others on the beach, and enhance your overall wingfoiling experience. So, let’s get to it.

Step 1: Start from Toe-side Stance

Begin by attempting a tack from your toe-side stance. While riding toe-side, keep your wing elevated to maintain control. To set up for the tack, glide upwind while holding your top hand on the wing. Ensure that your wing is positioned correctly.

Step 2: Turn the Wing and Change Hands

Now it’s time to initiate the tack. Turn the wing over your head to the opposite direction while keeping your board on course. Quickly switch your hands, starting with the one on top. Simultaneously, use your bottom hand on the wing to pull it and catch the wind to continue riding smoothly.

Step 3: Weight Distribution

As you complete the tack, be prepared for your board to want to rise. Counter this by shifting weight onto your front foot immediately after the tack. Depending on the wind conditions, you may need to employ a slight pumping motion to maintain momentum.

Step 4: Practice and Consistency

With practice, you’ll become more consistent in executing your tacks. As you improve, you’ll notice a significant enhancement in your wingfoiling performance and the movements will all become second nature. The elegance of well-executed tacks will garner admiration from fellow wingfoilers and motivate you to continue progressing in the sport.

Step 5: Transition from Heel-side to Toe-side

Transitioning from a heel-side stance to toe-side can be a bit more challenging than the previously explained tack, but let’s break it down:

  • Build speed while riding heel-side and turn your board upwind in the opposite direction.
  • Keep your wing elevated and release your back hand. Swiftly rotate the wing over your head.
  • Change your top hand to your second hand rapidly and position your back hand on the second handle to maintain speed.
  • Balance your board and shift your weight from heel-side to toe-side. Place more weight on your front foot to maintain control.

Step 6: Heel-side to heel-side tack (Complete Tack)

For the advanced tack—from heel side to heel side—which is great for upwind progress, follow these subtle steps:

  • Start similarly to the previous tack, but position your feet out of the back strap and toward the middle of the board.
  • Throw the wing over your head while turning your board.
  • As you change your hands and pull on the back hand, switch your stance on the board.
  • The board will naturally rise during the turn, so shift your weight to the front of the board.
  • If you lack sufficient speed, employ a pumping motion to keep going.

For additional tips, follow me on Instagram @paulanovotna. Happy wingfoiling and see you on the water.

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