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11/23/2009 - created by Paul Griffiths

Startline Secrets

The World’s top slalom racers reveal how they get the perfect start.

With the 2009 PWA slalom season wrapped up, we thought it was about time that the World’s best tell us how they start the perfect race.

So guys, what technique do you use to get the perfect start?

Antoine Albeau (JP, NeilPryde)

“There is no ‘perfect starting technique’. I would say that experience is the key to getting it right, and also plenty of preparation.”

Finian Maynard (RRD, NeilPryde)

“If you know that your top-end speed is on and you can beat the others in your head before you leave the beach, I truly believe this is already a big part of getting a great start. If you are off the pace, then one tends to creep up on the line slightly thinking to get a small advantage at around 10 seconds before the green flag, but normally this means that you’re too early without speed. This is very common. Coming a little from the back, especially in high wind, is how I personally like to hit the line at full speed and beat the others to the first mark. However, don't be late or you’re last!”

Peter Volwater (Fanatic, MauiSails)

“For the perfect start you have to be aware of the wind, the start line in relation to the 1st mark and the other sailors around you. It’s essential that you get yourself into a good position and get away on time with plenty of speed and free from the other guys around you.”

Steve Allen (Starboard, Severne)

"This changes all the time depending on the situation. My basic technique is to check the time on the 3 min and 2 min to make sure that I have the timing exact, then at 2 min sail away from the start line for around 1 min then gybe to make the run to the start line for the last minute."

Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard, North)

“There is no particular technique I use every time, instead I try to be much more reactive to what is happening around me as the other sailors fight for their positions.”

Micah Buzianis (JP, NeilPryde)

“Clean air is what I look for the most then getting off at the right end of the line at full speed. Other than that, practice, practice, practice – that’s the best technique.”

Looks like a clear lane, plenty of speed, and heaps of practice are vital to winning a race on tour then. Better start entering as many races as possible if you want to catch up with the likes of Antoine, Finian, and Micah… 

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