Sturdy, 30-mile-per-hour gusts whistle through Oregon's Columbia River Gorge so consistently that this cliff-lined wind tunnel is one of the world's top boardsailing destinations. But you won't stand a chance among its whitecaps until you've clinched a waterstart. Your board should be perpendicular to the wind, with the mast pointed off the tail and
the outer edge of the sail facing downwind. With your body on the upwind side of the board, grab the mast 12 inches above the boom with the hand closest to the nose of the board while treading water into the breeze. This will float the mast up to the surface and keep the board where you want it. It will also keep the outer edge of the sail from sinking.
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|WORK YOUR: Deltoids, lats, abdominals, lower back, and forearms
Now pull yourself and the mast dramatically—say, 30 degrees—into the eye of the wind, swinging the sail up and over your head, and grabbing the boom just near sailing position with your hands shoulder-width apart. "It needs to cut through the air like a cape," says Mark Worth. "Snap it over your head like you're crawling under your covers."
Place your lead foot just in front of the foot straps; keep your other leg in the water for stability. The wind should begin to lift you from the water. As you come to your feet, adjust your balance so you can move the sail forward and head downwind. This position is very important, and not so intuitive. "Failing to move the sail is a common beginner's
mistake," says our instructor. Once the board gains speed, pull your sail back into normal cruising position. "It's sort of like sitting in a recliner," Worth says. It's also the way to bigger wind and better sailing.