Simon Bornhoft Windwise Coaching – Warrior

windwise coaching - warrior

Content: Derived from the results and feedback of thousands of clients I’ve had the privilege to coach, thank you all.

In keeping with the Windwise ethos of breaking the sport down into the most important transferable and trainable skills, Simon Bornhoft illustrates the importance of a ‘Warrior’ stance which is dynamic action that is instrumental in pretty much every windsurfing turn, transition or aspirational move – be it basic tack, frustrating gybe, first time wave ride, turning a ‘350’ into a 360, venturing into the waves or so many spiny freestyle moves. Regardless of your level and especially if you struggle with shorter board tacks, gybing or have any aspiration to do anything other than blast up and down – you need to understand the importance of the ‘Warrior’.

Words: Simon Bornhoft Pics: Windwise

Who’s this feature for?

Uphauling, tacking and your very first gybes!

Fast tacking, making and planing out of gybes, plus turning on flat water or waves.

Wave sailing, Up/Downwind 360s, Helis and the majority of Freestyle.

When blasting along we generally adopt a ‘7’ shaped stance, then, like changing gears on a bike to suit varying terrain, we either straighten (light winds) or sink (strong winds) our ‘7’ to adjust to variations in the rig’s power and board speed. Plus, when blasting along, we should be looking forward over an extended-straightened leg-knee. However, when it comes to turning, this is often reversed and we need to look (and often lean) over a flex leg-knee and this is where your ‘Warrior’ stance comes in!

Q. So what exactly is a Windwise ‘Warrior’ stance?
A. Look at the two photos on the opposite page and how they differ!

Pic Blasting ‘7’ Stance
“Looking forward over an extended leg and straightened knee”
For early planing straighten the 7 by locking the hips and tightening the torso. In higher winds we sink the ‘7’ more outboard by dropping the hips and digging the heels to control acceleration. In both situations we are ‘looking forward over an extended front leg’.

Windwise technique - Warrior

Pic The Warrior
“Look and lean over a heavily flexed leg and knee”
At Windwise we call this our ‘Warrior’ stance, which is really more of an action than a position. It is a profoundly important skill that is linked to so many successful transitions and moves. As ever, it is juxtaposed with another key Windwise principle ‘Opposition’ which means levering the, mast/rig in the opposite way to the body to create counter balance. So in the apex to end of this tack for example, I’m looking where I want to go and leaning over a heavily flexed leg-knee = WARRIOR.

Windwise coaching­ - Warrior

Q. Why the name Warrior?
A. If anyone has done yoga they will know a similarly looking and named pose which creates a powerful, strong and dynamic stance – hence Warrior! In recent years we’ve be heavily emphasizing this Warrior concept at every level. We have always taught the ‘warrior’ mantra/position yet we feel it needs far more prominence and significance as we’ve had truly phenomenal success with our clients’ speed of learning.

Look closely at this montage of photos you’ll see the WARRIOR proliferates throughout the sport.

Windwise coaching­ - warrior

Windwise coaching­ - warrior

1. Looking (chin on or near shoulder) where you want to go and end up.

2. Leaning or tucked over a heavily flexed knee.

3. Mast/rig is raked the ‘opposite’ way to the look and lean.

NB. Quite often the arm nearest the head is flexed.

Windwise coaching­ - warrior

No matter what your level or aspirations, here’s how to start to get to grips with your inner warrior. Keep it simple, exaggerate and most importantly enjoy!

Windwise Warrior Key Points
Obviously you won’t take one hand off during a move, but this shot fully exaggerates the concept. Try this on any board or rig to get the idea first. 1. Look in the direction you want to go + Windwise Touch Points = chin on or very close to shoulder. 2. Lean over a heavily flexed knee. 3. Lever the mast/rig the opposite way. Warrior Skills Training With the warrior concept in your mind, blend it into whatever transition you’re trying to learn.

Windwise coaching­ - Warrior

Warrior Uphaul
I’ve always suggested we need to change the way beginners are taught to uphaul (all over the world). Standing with your feet across the board, across the wind, with the rig elevated out of the water at 90 degrees to the board, might work on your first few days on the water but it is a disaster in stronger winds, rough water or smaller boards it is NOT a ‘secure position’!!! From now on promise me you’ll use your Warrior stance and, just as importantly turn the board much more into wind (never across the wind), so that the rig comes out of the water from the back to the front of the board.

Windwise coaching­ - Warrior

Warrior Tack Exit 2
At the end of your tacks, don’t rush to bring the rig forward, keep the sail towards the tail, and adopt a look, lean and lever Warrior stance/action to get stable first! (We will do a full feature on how to transform your tacks using Warrior shortly).

Windwise coaching­ - warrior

Check out the February issue of WindsurfingUK for the gybe entry and using touch points to help you sheet in properly. For the mid section of non-planing and full carve gybes, when stability and control are required for a swift foot change, look how the Warrior concept comes into play = LOOK, LEAN (over a flexed knee) LEVERING the rig the opposite way is central to a clean foot switch, which should always replace the carving foot right on the rail.

Windwise coaching­ - warrior

Windwise coaching­ - warrior

Windwise coaching­ - warrior

Windwise Gybing Touch Points
Clew hand well down the boom, pulling in and down on the boom heavily. Rear foot toes on rail next to rear strap, try to replace carving back foot during switch. Before releasing rig, front hand slides towards the mast. New front hand well down the boom. Look (chin near or on shoulder) Lean over a flexed knee Lever the mast out of the turn as the rear placed clew hand pulls down HARD!

Q. When do I switch the feet?
A. Start dead downwind and keep in ‘warrior’ pulling in and down massively on the clew hand.

Q. When do I release the rig?
A. Rotate the sail just after passing dead downwind to exit on a broad reach. Keep looking forward and drop low over the newly placed rear foot.

Flat water wave riding
You can do this planing in the straps or in marginal winds on a WindSUP or large Freeride. In both situations use your warrior mantra when turning or carving up or downwind. This helps you understand the basics of bottom turning (like going through a gybe) and top turning like heading upwind for a tack).

Windwise coaching­ - warrior

Windwise coaching­ - warrior

Windwise coaching­ - warrior

Turning downwind (like a gybe or basic bottom turn on a wave) watch how the body looks and leans over a flexed knee. The body and rig then switch sides to transitions from the downwind position to the upwind position (like a top turn on a wave) by re-establishing  the warrior mantra on the new side.

Next issue we will radically change your tacks and gybes using your Warrior Stance!

Simon Bornhoft Windwise

Our Windwise offer!
If you have read this and thought it all seems quite simple, I kind of knew/do this already, you’re right, but what we are saying is put all your money on Warrior for your moves and turning a board. Massively accentuate it, enjoy it, focus on it and get amazing at it. In fact we believe in it so much, that if you come on a Windwise course and mention this Windsurfing UK feature and we can’t improve your tacks, gybes and other moves using this Windwise Warrior concept, we’ll give you your money back!

Windwise coaching­ Send Simon…
a question or suggestion to [email protected]! If Windwise answer it in Windsurfing UK, you’ll get a fab Windwise Rash Vest!

Bring out your Warrior on a Windwise experiences with our proven fast track Skills Training System with welcoming socials and adventures.

UK DAYS at Hayling in April-Oct
Limited availability on our Alacati 10-17-24th June and Prasonisi 16-23rd July overseas sessions!


  1. HI Simon.
    I am getting round but always drop off the plane on the exit.
    How do I maintain pressure on the inside rail to maintain my speed before I’ve switched feet – is it that why you recommend ‘pulling massively on my clew hand’ as you say?

    • Hi John. Sorry for delayed reply, for some reason didn’t get a notification on this one. But to maintain pressure on the rail, you must lean in ‘Warrior’ (looking, leaning over that flexed knee) to maintain rail pressure before, during and after the foot switch. Pulling in and down on the clew hand all assists that, provided the rig is leant out of the turn just before and after the rig rotation.

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