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fear of depth

Posted by charly 
fear of depth
17 August '06 | 12:51pm
how can one treat this sh** fear of depth while windsurfin, the fear of not being able to reach the shore, not being able to perform a waterstart (that one can EASILY do in shallow waters), to get back on the board ?
stupid fear as it adds loads stress on top of it which tires the most !!
Stupid but really annoying as it hinders real progress
any good tips?
Re: fear of depth
18 August '06 | 12:05pm
There are a few things to keep your mind at rest. Your wetsuit adds a lot of floatation, so much so that you notice it when swimming.The harness is also buoyant. The sail acts as a sea- anchor when lying in the water.A bloke I sail with always wears a Floatation=jacket plus a Helmet.Whenever he gets catapulted, he ends up literally sitting upwright in the water.
I dont like going too far from land just in case my mast broke etc.,so I cant pretend its not worth worrying about. But unless you sail in a fairly remote location,there should be a few others to spot you and raise the alarm or even tow you if you keep a length of line on you to bundle everything together with.
The worst thing about water starting is if you think there is enough wind to pull you out of the water but you mis=judge it. I have done this so often and your fears are well founded.Uphauling a big sail on ashort,low volume board in the open sea is a conjuring trick I was never taught.In fact I have had more luck water starting when the wind increases than when it drops.
If i suddenly feel overpowered, and the wind is starting to increase, i try to make a bolt back to the shore straght away without waiting any longer, and most of the time, it saves me a lot of trouble. i might have to grit my teeth a bit more than normal. But if the wind drops, uphauling is the only option. Looking at the weather outlook will give you a bit more confidence, but it all hinges on what your judgement is when you rig up on the shore.Hope this helps, yours, Art.

p.s. i'm no andy king by the way.
Re: fear of depth
23 August '06 | 12:31pm
Hi Art,

I know it looks stupid but I know also of loads of guys swanking.
Talking to my mates I realized that most of them, at some stage, get this unease too, maybe not as concerned as an other but ...

The thing is when one does not think about it and concentrate on technics it helps much !!

Now ... I have been advised against wearing a lifejacket as it hinders more than it helps !! Same experience?

The main problem is "the stress", actually !!
As for the dropping wind, I have been taught to "paddle" with one's back leg when 'waterstarting' and that it helps to get to the right height and get back on the board !?
Any similar things heard?

The main cause of fear is thinking not being capable, not "fit" enough, too exhausted, to get back on the board and/or uphauling ... even more difficult on a sinking board, which I mainly use !!
and there is the stress actually worsening things.
any 'medical' assitance welcome !! ;-)
Re: fear of depth
24 August '06 | 8:41am
Hi Charly,

Don't worry, all of windsurfers have fear. Fear from depth, from new moves, from waves, from equipment breakage. We only don't think about too much.

As for life jacket, yes, it has negative effects. It hinders movement and swimming technique, and makes diving under the sail more difficult. But it really eases on waterstarting. I personally hate them but maybe can help to you.

If the stress is what tires you most, try this:
If you feel the stress, ease on your grip! Years before I grabbed the boom so hard that sometimes my fingers got white. This is what takes most of your strength away. With stress the muscles get stiff what is really tiring. Try to relax all of your muscles. This will help on your windsurfing technique as well.
If you feel exhausted on the water, relax, take some deep breaths. Only after this start away and go to the shore. Relax, drink, eat and if you feel comfortable, go for an other session.
Re: fear of depth
25 August '06 | 1:40pm
Thanks Gabor,

Altho I never tried a life jacket, I can take that it is not the solution. Other guys told me the same !

I have no waterstart difficulties, I can even waterstart in footstraps, but the problem is to get in the right position when the all gear is pushed by the wind, the sail downwind and sinking, pushed even deeper, vertical in water, by the wind! this sucks the most !!

Sometimes I manage not to think about it while sailing but that is when the wind is right (comin from the right direction) and allows me to go from one shallow water point to an other and not on to far a distance (less than half a mile, approx)

As soon as I know I will have to change tack in 'non-shallow waters' ... comes the stress!
Even so that tack, which I perform well in shallow waters, becomes tricky. Same with carve gybe !
it sucks, gets on my nerves really!

I suppose that improving technique EVEN more will help but ... on the other hand, sailing long distance helps getting a better technique ... ("chicken or the egg" situation) ???!!!

Is stretching before going on the water helping?
Re: fear of depth
26 August '06 | 1:54pm
Hi Charly.
Actually, you sound a bit more expert than me since i havnt tacked any board since I used a longboard and I have watched people tacking shortboards and it looks a bit like almost jumping round the board plus I do a very wobbly carve, thats when it does work.
I have watched a lot of sailors blasting back and forth and its amazing how many of them are puffing and panting and I feel the same when the board is really motoring.
I think the fitness thing is certainly something that mixes well with windsurfing if you have the time to concentrate on it. Trouble is, I have weeks when I have no time to get fit, but if I can, I find 20 minutes on my old rowing machine every other day gives me a bit of turbo, if you know what I mean.
Before I start, I dont have a lot to eat. I just eat half a packet of cheese and a Pepsi bottle full of Orange juice and that takes care of the energy aspect.
I agree about the Life jacket and was forgetting the fact that you need to dive under the sail and Ive got to be frank and say that any swimming needed would be much quicker with buoyancy aids off in my case( I have often thought this when having to chase after my board when the sail has suddenly decided to fly away of its own accord when I have ceased to be hanging on to it).
Good luck.

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