For better or for worse, I've decided to pursue the path of freestyle windsurfing. I'm using a dedicated freestyle board now, using words like "pop", and my ankles always have some level of pain or discomfort. The true entry level trick of New School freestyle is the Vulcan. The maneuver is an aerial 180 degree turn that, if performed properly, involves sliding backwards to a stop and continuing on in the opposite direction from whence you started.
It doesn't look all that hard or even particularly radical, but it's probably one of the most difficult things to learn in windsurfing. It's as humbling as anything I've ever tried. When you're practicing vulcans, you look like you're the worst rider on the water. You crash awkwardly over and over. The casual observer will firmly believe you are obviously the worst windsurfer they've ever seen (frequently true, in my case).
Still, it's an important step to get pretty much anywhere with "new school" freestyle as we know it today. The basis for a few more tricks involve initiating a vulcan, and the other "spinny" tricks involve some sort of twisting jump that ultimately ends in a slide. There's really no way to avoid it. Learning freestyle must begin with a trial-by-fire. A grueling period of many attempts and many failures. The mindset has to stay positive. "I will get there." "All this is temporary, the reward will be great."
On to the data. It is said that it takes 800-1000 attempts to land a windsurfing vulcan. Scary? Yes. If I do 25 per day, 4 times a week (a real possibility living in SF during windy season), then it will take me 8-10 weeks to potentially land a one of the suckers. That sounds less scary. I've put up with 7 years of being humiliated windsurfing, I'm sure I can stand 8-10 more weeks. The other huge thing working to my advantage is that I have many friends who can do a vulcan, are getting close to making a vulcan, or are in the same exact boat as me in pursuing this accomplishment. The freestyle scene here in the bay is thriving.
Here's my chart. I'll try to update it every couple of weeks, so you can track my progress. Wish me luck!