Friday Freestyle

Start your journey into the world of aerial freestyle with these top ponch tips

The ponch was originally invented by Maui sailor Kevin Ponchetera - hence its name. Since it’s invention the ponch has become a staple on the PWA Freestyle World Tour and is still seen regularly on today’s circuit, while also progressing into futures (ponch in flaka) and carrying a heavy influence on moves like the burner and culo. It also features in the waves although the variation where the move is landed back on the wave face is called a goiter. If you can flaka then you are ready to try this move, but although the ponch may not be the most technically difficult move it will require a certain level of bravery to throw yourself into your first rotations. To help you progress into the aerial freestyle world we’ve got a few of the best sailors in the world to offer their advice:

Adrien Bosson (Fanatic / NorthSails / Maui Ultra Fins): “For the ponch, I would recommend that you should be able to control perfectly the flaka because the approach is the same and the pop similar. The easiest conditions are with side/side off wind and waves, like this you can use the waves to pop and just work on the rotation or with onshore winds off the back of the swell/chop.  On flat water you will need a solid pop, which makes it harder to learn. 

For the first try it is better to not be too overpowered, it is important to have the timing with the chop/waves and to be sailing fully downwind to have no power in the sail. The ponch isn't a technical move, commitment and speed are the most important. With the speed you can pop and neutralise the sail and rotate with commitment. 

For the rotation, while throwing the sail upwind you will need to twist your body to put it above your boom. Important: your board has to follow your body otherwise you’re gonna stop the rotation, plus push on your arms to keep your sail stable without wind. You can look at the top of your sail, this will eventually help.

For the landing, be ready to bend your legs (the landing can be hard) and lean backwards (to the wind) to pull up your sail.”

Antoine Albert (Goya Windsurfing): “I recommend to try the ponch off the back of a piece of chop. You need to be well powered up with plenty of speed. Any special pre-required freestyle for this move… just basic freestyle tricks.

Top tips -> lift up the sail as high as possible while taking off. Try to avoid throwing the sail down into the water.

Riccardo Marca (Fanatic / NorthSails): 

- The speed is a really important point for the ponch, so make sure to be fast enough before trying this move. 

- The ponch is one of that moves you can do in every kind of conditions, but I’d recommend you to try it in quite strong wind conditions and to take of with the help of a piece of chop.

- Make sure to carve downwind and to release all the power of the sail before going for the move.