Make Your Moves

Gybe Wise Part 1: It’s All In The Set Up
Severne Team rider and gybing coach, Simon Bornhoft continues his quest to improve your windsurfing. For this issue, we cut through all the beach banter with a key Windwise Skills Training Exercise to enhance YOUR short board gybes.

Words by Simon Bornhoft.

Photos: Windwise / Kate Ocean

Gybing is not only the most commonly used transition in windsurfing, but it’s also the most frustrating, over analyzed and varied move too. To make it easier for newcomers to master and experienced gybers to perfect, we’re going to break it down in three parts and give you some crucial Windwise Touch Points to ensure you know you’re giving yourself the best possible chance to Make Your Move!

So if you’re fed up with not making gybes or losing exit speed, there is a high chance your set up is working against you. Rig control, poor foot change, messy rig rotation and diminishing exit speed are so often, unwittingly related to a sub optimal set up.

Who’s This For?

  • If you can plane in the harness and straps and want to avoid future bad habits – DRILL THIS SKILL!
  • If you’re learning to plane into and out of gybes – THIS IS PARAMOUNT!
  • If you’ve aspirations for duck gybes, 360’s, jumping, wave riding or feasible freestyle moves – MASTER IT!
  • This works for any style of gybing on any type of board.

Unhappy unhooking

It’s a global problem! Before, during and after unhooking, so many wannabe gybers stand up, destroy their stance, excessively lift their hips to unhook and consequently sheet out, causing the nose to lift, which slows the board in marginal winds or makes it leap out of the water in punchy conditions.

  1. What’s The Goal?
  2. Learning how to UNHOOK & SET UP on a broad reach whilst keeping control of the clew! 

Set Up & Unhooking Touch Points

  1. Clew hand shifts down the boom (approximately 40-50cm) prior to unhooking.
  2. Rear foot comes out of the strap, heel momentarily on the ‘windward’ side next to the back strap.

Set Up Carving Touch Points

  1. Rear foot slides across onto leeward side next to back strap
  2. The foot of the sail sheets in close to or ideally touches the inside carving leg.

So that’s the aim, this is how to do it.


How To Unhook, Keep Control & Set Up For Your Carve Gybes

Broad Reach Set Up

To cut the corner and increase your gybing speeds and consistency, you have to master sailing on a very broad reach, fast and in control. This requires sinking that ‘7’ stance back and down into the harness. Imagine catching a medicine ball into your stomach and sucking your core muscles in, back and down to super accentuate the ‘Sunken 7’ stance to pull in and down on that boom. As ever, extending the front leg and crucially softening the rear leg to keep your backside just above the water.

Clew Hand Touch Point: Slide the clew hand 30-40cm down the boom before unhooking.

The Unhook & Back Foot

Before, during and after unhooking hold that ‘Sunken 7’ and pull down on the boom even harder to drop the harness line out, don’t lift the hips (you’ll want to, but try not to). Keep the hips low outboard and extend the front leg to push the board away from you. This is very counterintuitive and human nature makes you want to stand up. 

Simon Says: Check your front leg and front foot is extended out in front of you, not directly underneath you.

Back Foot Windward Rail

Stay outboard in your ‘Sunken 7’, pulling DOWN on the boom, then slide your back foot out of the strap and place it, momentarily, heel on the windward rail. You will learn to sometimes step straight across, but this is so often when the sail opens up. So if you’re prone to losing control or speed, WAIT, settle and don’t come too far over the board and carve too soon, as this tends to sheet the rig out!

Back Foot Touch Point: Next to strap, heel to windward of the centre line, wait and settle!

Back Foot Slides To Leeward Rail(as in the photo)

Pull down harder on the boom as you slide your back foot across to the leeward side, toes onto the rail – But DON’T completely move your whole body across onto the leeward rail and over commit yet! Counterintuitively, keep the hips ‘outboard’, (as in the see photo) otherwise you’ll never be able to sheet the sail in! If you have genuinely taken a downwind approach line and just start to gently weight the carving foot, look downwind and pull the clew hand in and back towards the tail, like twisting a set of handlebars on a bike, the board will start to carve.

Back Foot Touch Point:  Slide to the leeward rail, next to the back strap. Don’t ‘come over’ to carve too quickly!

Sheeting In Touch Point

As the board bears away, ‘gradually’ sink the hips low and directly over that flexed rear knee & ankle on the leeward rail to carve. Don’t lean excessively forward, just drop the inside hip down over the ankle and see if you can pull that clew hand in, back and towards the tail enough so that the foot of the sail brushes or comes very close to your inside carving leg. As you can see the smooth outline and forgiving rails allows the Dyno to slice through any chop, it’s a beauty to gybe, I feel like I’m cheating!

For the majority of gybe set ups and initial carving (especially when learning) the rig is kept forward and the body opposes by sinking down and back to create counter balance. However, once you have learnt to fully sheet in you can then really depower the rig and change the opposition, hence in this shot the body is leaning forward and the rig is raked back.

Simple summary

Here’s a summary of those touch points. Use the arrows to scroll back and forth.

Simon Says

We’ll go through over powered gybes, and all the carving, foot change and rig rotation in subsequent features, but to “help me help you”, become amazing at the ‘Sunken 7 Unhooking Set Up’ and work on those Windwise Touch Points to help you get the foot of the sail in towards that carving leg.

Send Simon a question about your windsurfing technique or any aspect about sailing your Dyno!

Simon Bornhoft Windwise offers unique windsurfing experiences combining a proven fast track skills training methodology, welcoming socials and amazing adventures. Plus you can try out the superb Dyno!

Your Progression Starts here…

Copyright: Windwise 2020

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