Maneuvers and self made

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The power jibe is a maneuver which is very much desidered by medium level windsurfers. Asking for advice to friends, you will have several versions of how to perform the maneuver. With this article, I would like to make a comparison between the different techniques, stimulate discussion, and receive comments about it.


Windsurf: the power jibe

I think that the power jibe is an essential maneuver essential, a bit  like the waterstart, because it opens the doors to all the maneuvers planing with wind from behind, in addition to being easier than the tack, in significant wave conditions.

In the proposed video at end of article (thank to Jack for sharing part of the movie, and to Marco for giving an example of the maneuver at Pra de la Fam, Garda Lake), we show three different ways of performing the maneuver.

The first surfer does like I do. After setting bearing to a broad reach, he waits to pass stern wind, and of being at broad reach on the new tack, to change the feet position, and then to jibe the sail. The sail is managed, for a certain period of time, clew first.




stramba jack 1

The second surfer of the video anticipates the passage of the feet and of the sail, which performs almost simultaneously, just past the stern wind.


stramba jack 2

The third surfer in the video performs the maneuver in a radically different manner. After bearing away at the beginning, he pushes away the boom with his back hand (see slow motion), which he immediately leads to grab the mast just above the boom. Shortly after, he moves what was the forward hand (on previous tack) on the boom on the new tack. The passage of the sail, therefore, is much anticipated, at stern wind, if not earlier.


Stramba marco 1


The feet, in the meanwhile, have not been changed, and the forward foot has remained in the strap. Only long after he closes the jibe, and after a bit of switch stance, he changes feet position to the usual one, on the new tack. 

Stramba marco 2


Marco, the third windsurfer (a friend of mine), believes that jibing the sail in advance permits its passage almost automatically, in a moment when the apparent wind is nearly neutral. In addition, according to Marco, keeping the front foot in the strap, even after the maneuver, helps to keep the board planing. This, according to him, would be the version of the maneuver to be performed on wave boards or freestylewave (like mine), while versions described above are best suited to freeride or slalom (requiring, however, some additional tricks).


Stramba marco 3


This article was not written to define who is wrong and who is right. Also reading the sacred texts, the maneuver is described in both modes.

For example, the mythical Trictionary indicates that the power jibe must be made first changing the feet position, and immediately after jibing the sail, while the speed jibe should be done keeping the front footin the strap even after jibing the sail. In both cases, however, the exit is with the board planing.

Andrea Cucchi, owner of Point 7, as well as excellent windsurfer, in a number of some time ago to 4windsurf, suggests to close the sail to determine a speed increase necessary at the beginning of the carving (for this would be called power jibe), and recommends (referring to slalom and freeride boards) the change of feet position, at stern wind, immediately before the passage of the sail (that he anticipates a lot). According to Andrea Cucchi, the feet and the sail have to be changed when the board is at stern wind, as it is the condition in which the board is more stable.


August 2017 update. Compared to when I wrote this article a couple of years ago, in the meantime I've improved a lot in the maneuver. First of all, I understood that closing the sail at the beginning of the maneuver is not only important fot the reason Cucchi explains, but also because, once closed, the sail doesn't force any more the board to ride upwind, partially contrasting the feet work to make the board bear away. also  understood that when the board is still at full speed, and on the old tack, the mast and the sail must be taken decisively outside of the curve, and, at the same time (power jibe), also the position of the feet must be changed (which, above all, with modest winds, should be maintained forward on the board, so as not to make the stern sink). It is also necessary to rotate the hips that must remain parallel to the sail that is opening, and the body must move towards the inner side of the curve (always remember the general rule of windsurfing "rig from one side and the body on the other"). As soon as you have changed your feet (and before you pass the direction in which the wind comes from the stern), the sail must be flipped (always remember to bring the mast hand closer to the mast on the boom). This, in my opinion, is the key to getting to the full stern direction with the board still in full speed and planing, with body and sail already on the new tack. Do not rush now to sail upwind again, stabilize the board, and exit from the maneuver still planing. If you do not change the feet position, you have to do all the other steps, but you only need to accentuate body rotation and move it within the curve, as the switch exit will tend to keep your body weight outside of the curve, that is, on the same side of the sail, without being able to balance the rig well. 

What are your experiences? What are the tricks you have discovered? Do you perform the maneuver in different way with different kind of boards, and with different wind strengths?

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