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Outside magazine, July 2000 Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Six essential water-sports moves that will unleash the expert within

By Paul Scott

Erik Aeder
Pro windsurfer Jason Prior making mastery look easy at Hookipa Beach, Maui

BOARDSAILOR MARK WORTH KNEW ABOUT WATERSTARTS—using the wind, rather than your back, to hoist you and your sail out of the water and push you on your way. But he didn't attempt the move until one chilly fall day on Colorado's Blue Mesa Reservoir some 16 years ago. The wind had calmed and he was treading next to his rig in the icy drink. He had seen other, more accomplished sailors lift their sails, catch a puff of air, and—voilà!—they were up and ripping across the water. But it took some intense scrutiny of his peers' technique and several false starts before he suddenly found himself taking off the easy way. "It's a barrier you can't fake," says Worth, who refined all his sailing skills to such a degree that he now runs the Gorge Wind Guide Service out of Hood River, Oregon. "It's impossible to bend over and up-haul your sail in weather like that. Either you learn to waterstart or you paddle home."

When it comes to skill level, every sport has its intermediate plateau. And similarly, every sport has its synapse-sizzling expert realm. Between lies the proverbial waterstart—a gateway move, if you will. It's the one maneuver combining skill and strength that opens the door to the deep-fried, Roman-orgy pleasures enjoyed only by masters of their sports. So whatever your water game—boardsailing, kayaking, open-water swimming, canoeing, surfing, or (especially challenging for Type A, hard-driving athletes) river tubing—we're here to usher you into its elite echelons. Snatch these pebbles, Grasshopper, and the best of summer awaits you.

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