How To Backloop
So, you’ve recently started your adventure into the waves and feel like you are now at a competent level with your jumping...what’s the next move to push yourself to the next level? Of course the forward loop screams out its name loud and clear, but for some the idea of throwing themselves into a forward is simply something their brain won’t compute, or at least not yet. So whilst the backloop is a much more technical jump, it does offer a more controlled rotation which represents less of a psychological barrier to overcome.
If you can reliably pull off vertical jumps off of steep ramps in perfect control, then there’s no reason for you to delay the start of your backloop journey. With this in mind we caught up with a few of the top sailors in the world to find out their top tips for the backloop - a manoeuvre every wave sailor needs in their artillery.
Marcilio Browne (Goya Windsurfing): “People do backloops in a variety of ways, but I like the backloops where it looks like there are two motions - going straight up, stalling and then coming straight down. You don’t want to be too overpowered, but you want to have good speed and find as steep a ramp as you can. It’s also important that it’s a nice clean ramp, don’t try to learn them off of whitewater. As you take off you want to think of a straight jump, straight up, but think about trying to bring your boom close to your hips. Aim to get as much height as possible and then when you are at the top just look over your shoulder and start to spot your landing. Try and point the nose of your board straight at the water for a soft landing and try to avoid landing flat as its bad for your knees and the board. When you first start to try backloops it’s better to under rotate a little bit until you start to get a feel for the rotation."
Adam Lewis (Fanatic / Duotone): “I think one of the most important things is to have the right take and to have the right take off you need the right ramp. So first of all hunt out a nice steep ramp that is going to send you directly up. Once you are in the air make sure your hands are shoulder width apart and as you continue to go up bring the sail in towards you. When you are at the apex of the jump, that’s when we want to start to rotate so we just need to look over our back shoulder. Now there’s a couple of things that need to happen 1) we need to spot our landing and 2) slide your backhand as far down the boom as possible - this is really important as it allows you to control the rotation and hopefully avoid over rotating, which is a common sign that you don’t have your backhand far enough back. For the landing you should keep your backhand on the boom clip and really tuck your back leg up so you can guide the nose of the board into the water.”
Boujmaa Guilloul (Goya Windsurfing): “First of all you have to be able perform a normal high jump before you can start trying it. Landing a backloop is not easy - so be prepared to put in the hours of effort. It takes a while before you are able to land them all the time. When it’s really windy, it’s really important to try and get close to your rig - by pushing your chest close to the boom - once you reach the top of the jump bring your gear in front of you toward the landing area.”
Maciek Rutkowski (FMX Racing / Challenger Sails): “I was always rubbish at jumping - it took me ages to learn backies, so I went through all the phases of "almost getting it". First step would be going more vertical than you think is necessary. Forget the normal straight jump thing everybody told you - I never jumped so vert. The straight up and down ones are always the easiest to land. To do that just point your head straight to the sky and extend your front foot. Don’t rotate straight from the wave - you might land a few like this by mistake but generally they're hard to control and look rubbish. Take off with hands rather narrow, shoulder width apart and once you take off pull the boom in as close to your body as possible. This will maximise the height, but also kill the unwanted power of the sail and give you control. Once you feel you’ve reached your highest point turn your head over your shoulder and spot the place you wanna land - from that moment on just keep looking at that one place. Once you’ve almost finished your rotation (facing straight downwind) slide your backhand down the boom towards the clew and sheet in gently - this will stop the rotation and make you avoid the "into-flaka" landing. Don’t be scared of height - it’s actually easier to land the slightly bigger ones as you have more time to prepare for the landing. It sounds all really complicated but backloops are a feeling move really as every single one is slightly different and everybody got slightly different styles. Don’t let go and find yours!”
Levi Siver (Quatro / Goya Windsurfing):“I think a lot of people get so wound up about making the rotation straight away that they don’t even get the take off right, so make sure your regular jumping is fully down. Make sure you get good projection on your jump and then when you reach the top look over your shoulder and bring the nose around, whilst spotting your landing. Once you start to get a feel for the rotation, just make sure you hold on!”
Kai Lenny (Goya Windsurfing) “Make sure when you are leaving the lip of a wave to tuck your body extremely close to the gear and look where you want to go. The best example of where you want to go is by turning your head and almost resting it on your shoulder, by resting your head on your shoulder that is a great indicator of where you should be looking. But always stay tucked in.”