Knowing how to use a windsurfing boom can make the different between a smooth sailing ride and a difficult one. The placement of the boom and the techniques used will vary based on the windsurfer’s height and skill level.
- Try a normal placement of the windsurfing boom. Most windsurfers start with the boom placed on the sail at shoulder height or slightly higher. This allows you to lean back to counteract the force of the sail without having to use your arm or shoulder muscles.
- Considerations regarding the windsurfing boom placement. If you find that you are unable to use a harness line on the windsurfing boom because it is difficult to hook to the harness, lower the boom to a level where you can easily grab the harness line and hook it. Once you have lowered the boom, you may notice that you are no longer getting the downward pressure that you need for proper sailing, causing the harness line on the boom to become ineffective. Experimentation with boom height is the only way to find the exact windsurfing boom location that works best for you.
- Find the balance point on the boom. To use a windsurfing boom correctly, you must find the balance point, or the spot on the boom where you can control the equalization of the wind force on the sail with one hand. When the force of the wind is equal in both the front and the back, you will have a smooth and easy ride. On the beach, stand up the sail in a windy location and move your hand along the boom to the left and the right until you find the balance point. Remember this location and use it when sailing on the water. Small adjustments on the balance point location may be needed once you are in the water, although the location will be quite close to the spot you located on the boom when you were on the beach.
- Keep a light grip on the boom. Sailing does not require any upper body strength. Proper techniques for using a boom include a light grip. When holding and maneuvering the boom with your hand or hands, keep all five fingers placed on the top side of the boom. If you wrap your thumbs around the boom, it will be too easy to grip the boom, causing tension in the arms and upper body.