The introduction of modern materials to windsurfing, such as quick planing boards and carbon fibre accessories, has made the sport more accessible and more appealing to a larger number of people. Learning how to carve gybe and fast tack may have once been difficult thanks to outdated equipment but today it’s a different story.
Nowadays, the progression of tricks and riding ability is entering new realms, with riders pulling off tricks once thought impossible. Just check out the freeride, wave, freestyle and slalom categories to see what we mean.
The rate at which tricks are progressing does sometimes mean riders try to run before they can walk, so to speak, missing out on key stages of core riding skills. So, let’s look at one of the most fundamental tricks on the course – the carve gybe. It’s easily one of the most stylish manoeuvres around and an essential tool for any rider’s trick box.
The planing carve gybe
You should be comfortable planing in foot straps and harness lines but if water starting is an issue, take a board with a larger literage (125 upwards) to up haul on. It’s easy to break down the move into four steps.
Check the area you’re turning into as you don’t want to get carved in two. Move your back hand down the boom by around a foot to help sheet in. Remember this is a carve gybe – so maintain your board speed all the way through the turn – not a tack, where you come up wind and stall. Unhook and get low, bending your knees to absorb the movement.
Remove your back foot out of the strap and place just in front of the strap itself, right above the fin box. Keep your knees bent, start applying pressure to your toes and tilt the edge of the board into the water to make it turn. The board will now bear away down wind.
Keeping the front arm straight, sheet in with the back hand. By pulling down through the mast on the boom you will prevent the board from bouncing. As you turn the board, begin sheeting out to maintain sail power from the wind angle. Now look where you are turning to, not down. There is a window in the sail, so use it.
Move your front hand closer to the mast, whilst placing your front foot in-between the two straps and place your back foot, just behind the mast forming a T-shape with your other foot. You’re almost done learning how to carve gybe.
Let go with the back hand, the rig should flick the clew away around the nose of the board. By crossing your arms your back hand will now take hold of the rig becoming the front hand. Finally take the back of the boom with the hand originally at the front into the normal position for sailing.
Remember to bear away and pump your sail if slowing or stalling. This should allow quicker planing and can help you to come out of your carve gybe. Get into your harness lines, feet in the straps and cruise out like a champion. That, in short, is how to carve gybe.