Carve Tack


Tacking is the new gybing. It really is such a useful move; Intermediates can use it as a way to keep upwind giving them ground to try gybes, Wavesailors use it absolutely heaps and its by far the best way of turning in gusty or light winds as you can then use the upwind advantage to try and get planing.

If you are sailing short boards and not tacking then you might want to seriously reconsider your sailing goals.

The key parts draw heavily upon the light wind version and therefore with a floaty board you can get in a lot of practice to assist you in achieving the carving tack.

Tacking Tip #1 from Jem Hall on Vimeo.

Tacking Tip #2 from Jem Hall on Vimeo.

Key Parts

Entrance – Unhooking and carving the board upwind from a low position until almost at head to wind.
Transition – The action of moving around the front of the mast and getting your feet and hands in position on the new side.
Exit – Steering the board off the wind and getting ready to take on power on the new beam reach

Light wind tacks – aim to gain proficiency in all parts of the tack and get that hand and foot work uber slick.
Front to sail and then coming back through the wind – Either from stepping round, front to sail or from going through the wind like in a heli tack. This is a great drill for when you step around a little bit earlier in lighter winds. (This will be covered in another feature)

Look where you want to go – As with most moves, the head is the key as it orients you and assists in moving your body, hips and feet. From looking forward and upwind going in, to looking back down the board for the foot switch to looking forward in the exit. The head is paramount.

Rig away– As the rig goes back in the entrance of the tack, the body moves forward. When transitioning around the mast, the rig is kept away to give you SPACE to move through. Finally, the rig comes forward and across to bear you away as your body moves back and down.


  • Head upwind from blasting
  • Reach for the mast or front of boom
  • Unhook and get feet out of straps
  • Carve upwind on heels
  • Rig comes back and body goes forward
  • Start and keep low throughout whilst looking forward
  • At head to wind look back and reach to new side of boom
  • Pivot the feet
  • Get new back foot well down the board as you look forward
  • Rig goes forwards and across you to bear you away
  • Body moves back and down
  • The legs can now scissor to assist in steering
  • Stay low and off you go

Fault Analysis

Board is unsettled and loses speed in carve upwind – Get down low and unhook efficiently and then gradually carve on heels.
Get stuck on old side – swing your weight forwards to take weight off back foot ready for switch.

Get thrown off front – Keep the rig back and away

No space on new side – look forward and draw rig forwards through front arm to keep the rig away

Board gets stuck at head to wind after foot change – scissor board off wind with feet
Get pulled over by rig on exit – get down James brown with the rig forward and body back.

More Windsurfing tacking tips and videos!