The planing jibe is a maneuver which is very much aspired 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.
Windsurfing, theory: the planing jibe. A comparison between the different maneuvers
I think that the planing jibe is an essential maneuver essential, a bit like the waterstart, because it opens the doors to all the planing maneuvers with wind coming from behind the board, in addition to being easier than the fast tack, in 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, Lake Garda), we show three different ways of performing the maneuver.
The first surfer does like I do. After bearing to a broad reach, he waits to pass stern wind position, and 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.
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.
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.
The feet, in the meanwhile, have not been changed, and the forward foot has remained in the strap. Only long after he flipped the sail, and after a bit of switch stance, he changes feet position to the usual one, on the new tack.
Marco, the third windsurfer (a friend of mine), believes that jibing the sail earlier, 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).
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 famous 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 foot in 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 an excellent windsurfer, in an article written some years ago for an italian windsurfing magazine, suggests to sheet the sail to get a speed increase necessary at the beginning of the carving (for this reason, it would be called power jibe), and recommends (referring to slalom and freeride boards) the change of feet position, sailing at running (with stern wind), immediately before the passage of the sail (that he does really early). According to Andrea Cucchi, the feet and the sail have to be changed when the board is at running, 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 have improved a lot in the maneuver. I have understood, first of all, that when you begin to bear away it is very important to sheet the sail (sheet with the back arm, and extend the front one), not only for the reason suggested by Andrea Cucchi, but above all because in this way the sail is better oriented, with respect to the apparent wind, which, bearing away and increasing the board speed, shifts more forward. Moreover, especially proceeding with the maneuver, sheeting the sail erases its effect that would make the board to head up again, which, instead, you would have, leaving the sail open inside the curve. That effect would counteract the work done with the feet (leeward back foot, in particular), to make the board bear away.
Furthermore, I have understood that when the board is still at full speed, and at broad reach on the old tack, in the Power Jibe the mast and the sail must be brought decisively outside the curve and at the same time the change of position of the feet must be carried out (which must be kept advanced on the board, especially with moderate wind, so as not to sink the tail). The hips rotation must also be carried out, as they must remain parallel to the sail that is opening, and the body must move inside the curve (always remember the general rule of windsurfing "rig from one side of the body to the opposite"). Preferably, I perform the power jibe with a flat or slightly roughed water surface, and with a lighter wind, as in the feet change position, you feel rather unstable on the board, and the clew first exit, guarantees thrust on the sail and also speed, coming out from the maneuver.
The sail must then be flipped on the new tack after clew first sailing at broad reach (remember bringing the mast hand on the boom closest to the mast, right before). This, in my opinion, is the key to getting out of the maneuver with the board still at full speed and planning. Timing is decisive and you have to flip the sail just before the pressure on it becomes too much, otherwise it becomes more complicated to manage the sail tack change and the sudden pressure variation on it.
Do not be too fast now to head up again, stabilize the board at broad reach, and exit the maneuver while still gliding.
If you do not change the feet position (and so you perform a Speed jibe), you must flip the sail very soon (shortly after opening it, and just before sailing at running - with stern wind), so that you will find yourself in switch stance. If you don't do this, and flip the sail later, when you are already close reaching on the new tack, then you will quickly lose speed (as soon as you flip the sail, it will immediately make you head up even further), and it will be more difficult to get out of the maneuver, in switch stance, and in particular get the front foot out from the strap (if you are not very skilled). You will also have to accentuate the rotation of the hips and the body movement inside the curve, as the switch stance position would lead you to keep the body weight outside the curve, i.e. 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?
Aloha. Fabio Muriano
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Become a supporter, to access to reserved contents!
Are you a passionate windsurfer? Do you want to collaborate with us? Read here, then!
If you want to sponsor Waterwind and advertise with us, or place your banner inside this article, contact us.
The video showing the three different ways of jibing described in the article.