Forward Loop


The forward loop is one of those classic moves that just about everyone wants to crack and everyone is teaching. To find the basics of the move I would suggest checking in on a clinic with a pro-coach (maybe I will do a clinic in the future if there is any demand), you’ll learn plenty about it from how to grow the balls to get yourself back slapping to landing upright. What you will get from this bit of text and video is how to get height out of nothing and how to land with the same speed you went into it.

There are three key factors that you can learn one at a time. When these are combined you’ll find yourself rotating and landing like never before.

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Two essential parts to this, you want to be well powered up or to the point of being almost over powered. This way you will help yourself when it comes to the next two parts. For the take-off itself you need a small bit of chop that is either the face or the back of the chop/wave (it’s easier to land with speed if you go off the back of a bit of chop/wave. You want to be sailing in a direction that is somewhere between across the wind and a broad reach (a bit off the wind), if we are talking clocks where 12 on the clock is pointing into the wind then you want a ramp that is between 3 and 4.30, ideally 4 is the perfect angle. Quite often if I have the choice (when on wind blown chop) to take off a bit of chop into the wind or head off the wind, I’ll choose the back of the chop that is off the wind, when you do this, you must make sure you are going faster than into the wind.

For the actual technique to the take-off it is simple:
– Don’t be afraid to pick up speed and GO FAST (it’s not dirt, grass or sand, it’s just water)
– Hands back (both of them) the back hand to the back of the boom where the clamp is to extend the boom and the front hand (thumb) touching the harness lines. Do this the second before take-off. This is one bit to change if you are still landing on your back despite following all of this. Check the additional tips below.
– As you push down (as hard as you can) on the back foot for take-off (keep focus on hands though), extend as high as you can with your front hand towards the sky and in the direction of the apparent wind (just upwind a bit from the nose of the board). Don’t apply any pressure to the sail with the back hand by sheeting in yet, just use it to reach even higher, like you are at the bottom part of a pull-up.

This part is simple, really you get this bit right and it’s 70% of the move. To rotate fast you have to get your body over the boom, you need to curl up around the boom as if it is the most precious thing in the world. Sometime my head has touched the sail because I pull in so tight.

The technique for the rotation is:
– Pull up and sheet in. Do both aggressively and at the same time.
– The pull-up, just like a pull-up in the gym. The moment you feel the sail pull you into the rotation pull-up hard and try and get the boom down to your hip, make sure it is your back hand that tries to touch your hip, not your front hand. This will get the sail ahead of you in the rotation and help you spin fast.
– Sheeting in. Again the moment you take off and you feel the wind catch the sail sheet in hard and pull your back hand in to your back leg, then tuck up very small and let yourself spin.

The landing is not too controllable, the control comes more from the 1st and 2nd part, where you can control how fast you rotate. You simply hold on in the same position as described in part 2 except you let your self open up a bit to absorb the landing, or you get into board snapping territory.

The technique for the landing:
– Open the sail
– Extend your back leg to absorb the landing
– To plan out make sure you pull the sail back in fast when you have landed, this will help push you forwards and keep you on the plan.

Be very wary of getting into board snapping territory, check the do not’s below!

– Do not go for a forward and keep the sail open – always sheet in.
– Do not land with a flat board. Instead choose to land on the rail or more on the tail.
– Do not try to land planing if you are only doing endo forwards, make sure you are spinning sideways first.

Disclosure: All boards can only take a certain amount of strain so this is my disclosure where I say that I hold no liability for snapped boards or injury if you follow these tips. Actually if you follow them word for word you should avoid that but I have no idea if the board you are using is weak from previous attempts, it’s poorly manufactured or you just love to go 30ft in the air and want to land bolt upright. All I can say is you will improve your chances if you get on a VERY strong Patrik Diethelm board and use the bomb proof and light weight Sailloft sails.


Throw the sail high, ensure hands are back, pull up to the sail hard and the back hand into your back leg/part of your hip, almost curl up over the boom, hold on, spin, brace for landing, open the sail if over rotating but make sure you land on the tail or rail of the board, sheet back in just after landing to keep speed.

Things to try if the rotation is wrong and you are still landing on your back and not over your board.
– The first thing to check is if you are taking off at the right angle or if your sail is big enough. With waves/chop coming at you (most wave beaches), it’s easy to get the rotation so I would say your main thing to change would be moving your hands back. Really make yourself put your hands back, sometimes when I’m powered up or slightly under powered I even put my front hand on the harness lines or even behind and you can still land planing.
– Chop that is commonly found on a lake, when it is coming over the windward side of your board. If you want to take off the face of the chop then you have to put your hands back, realllllly back, just like in the tip above, put your front hand on your harness lines or even behind if you are only powered up, if you are completely powered up to the point of overpowered then forget it and go off the back of the chop. If you are going off the back of the chop you need power and speed, and stack of it. Most important is the power in the sail, you need to feel it pulling you when you take off, then you just make sure you fire the mast enough ahead of you and into the wind as you take-off and make sure your hands are back again and sheet in hard!
– Still getting wet? Throw the rig higher, use a bigger sail and go faster. Try one or all three of those…

Got a question? Leave it in the comments below and I’ll answer when I’m off the water.


  1. Excellent technique summary! This is actually the only forward instructional piece I’ve found that mentions pulling the boom low, not just sheeting it in – something that was keeping my spinloops looking like bastardized grubbies for the longest time. Cheers!

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