I'm not going to claim to be an expert on looping, and I'm not going to describe the technique for doing one because there are tons of places on the internet to learn about that. I even recommend taking a lesson if possible (an ABK Freestyle clinic worked for me). I will, however, share with you the facts behind my loop experience thus far. I also wanted to include some of the best philosophical tips I received as I was learning the trick.
Me and Looping:
I still get nervous before my first attempt of the day. After I get through it (and invariably eat crap but sail away unscathed), I'm ready to try them until I'm exhausted.
The forward loop is the one move I've wanted to do since the first day I saw a windsurfer. I saw spocks and vulcans that day, but didn't find them nearly as impressive.
I'm not particularly fast, I'm not a particularly good jumper, and I'm not particularly brave. Many would agree that I have a bit of weakness in all three of these areas.
I had many days this year where I told myself I'd go for a loop but chickened out. I drove home mentally beating myself up. This has probably happened to you too if you've ever wanted to loop.
I sail with people who loop for about half of my sessions. On days that people are throwing loops, there's never a question in my mind about whether or not I'm sailing loopable conditions.
Taking a lesson helped me a lot (ABK). It was a windless day and I didn't get to make an attempt, but understanding how the physics worked and trusting in science really helped me overcome the fear.
Sailing "angry" would sometimes help me go for them, but I didn't get close until I was sailing relaxed.
Getting spun by the sail for the first time was as exhilarating an experience as planing for the first time.
The next day I attempted loops after the filmed one, I didn't waterstart out of a single one.
Best tips I've recieved:
"Sometimes you have to pick your days." --Kevin Kan
"There is no perfect time to go for your first loop." -- Kevin Kan
"Don't do it unless you're ready. And if you're gonna do it, move your hand way back and just freakin' do it!" --Sofien Sehiri
"Don't be angry at the move. Go take a couple more tacks, get your favorite song in your head, relax and try again." -Sofien Sehiri
"You are totally ready to loop. Piece of cake. You got it." -- Matt Case
"The only reason you aren't looping is because you aren't trying them." -- Andy Brandt