Have you been foiling for a while now and ready to push yourself to try something new? The foiling jibe may be the next step!
Jibing (or gybing) is a very basic move in windsurfing, however jibing with a windfoil is quite different and surprisingly more difficult. The windfoil jibe requires you to manage a whole new aspect: the height of your foil.
It’s not an easy skill to master, but once you land it you’ll feel like you’re king of the world!
We got advice on how to windfoil jibe from two seasoned veterans – Sebastian Kornum and Wyatt Miller.
Wyatt Miller Windfoil Jibe Tips
Let’s start with Wyatt’s 5 tips to successfully windfoil jibing –
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1. Slow Everything Down
In the beginning, you should also make a long turn and take your time. It doesn’t matter if you go very deep downwind as your foiling board is going upwind very well, you know you are going to get that back.
2. Back Foot Position
Take the back foot out of the footstrap, and place it as far back as possible, just in front of the back strap and in the middle of the board. This is important to keep the board level.
3. Low foiling height
You want to lower your height on the foil because when you will shift the position of your feet, you will have all the weight on the back foot for a short moment, which may lift the foil. If you are too high on the foil, you will over-foil and crash.
4. Sail Flip
Release the backhand from the boom when you are completely downwind. The sail will flip gently around the nose of the board. You will then take the sail on the other side with your new backhand, with just enough pressure on the sail to close the jibe. Don’t sheet (i.e. close) your sail too much!
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5. Foot Switch
You don’t want to switch your feet until the very last possible moment. Instead, you should go in the new direction switched-stance as far as you can, until you obtain a very stable, balanced flight in your new direction before you go for the foot switch.
Then go for a quick foot switch:
The key of the foot switch is to take the front foot out of the strap and place it in the middle of the board. If you put it on the rail, you will fall. The new front foot goes tightly back into the front footstrap (or in the center of the board).
Wyatt Miller recommends to flip the sail first and switch feet afterward. This is his technique. Others will prefer to switch feet first and then flip the sail. Test both methods, and find what works best for you!
As Wyatt says: “It’s not easy but it’s totally doable!”
Sebastian Kornum Windfoil Jibe Tips
Learning the jibe in the air is probably not going to happen at your first attempt, but this is the goal to have in mind. In a recent interview for the German windsurf magazine “Surf Magazin”, Sebastian Kornum (DEN) gave some tips to learn the foiling jibe.
His approach is interesting as his advice is to practice the foiling jibe in three steps, instead of going straight to the “air jibe”, with your board fully out of the water during the whole turn.
1. Sliding Jibe
This is a basic sliding jibe on the water: You go down on the water before entering the jibe, and turn with the board sliding on the water, as you would do with a regular windsurf board.
The only difference is your body weight, which should be a little bit more back on the board compared to a regular windsurf board. You will indeed need more pressure on the foil to make the board turn compared to a regular fin.
2- The Semi-Foiling Jibe
When getting more confident, try the second step which is the semi-foiling jibe: You enter the curve above the water on your foil, and start to carve with your feet, still outside the water.
The tricky part of the foiling jibe is the rotation of the sail and switching the position of the feet. The purpose of the semi-foiling jibe is to make the end of maneuver easier by going down on the water at the end of the jibe.
You can then rotate the sail and switch your feet easily as in a regular windsurf jibe.
3. The Fully-Foiling Jibe
Ready for the last step? This is something you will need to practice before you finally nail it!
The goal is of course to foil all the way around the turn. This way you will build an incredible amount of speed out of the turn, ready for another run. Best of all: this high-speed turn works even in light wind conditions.
Mastering the foil-jibe will give you completely new sensations, which are difficult to describe with words. This should make you addicted to foil.
My Recommended Windfoil Jibes Explanation
Here are some more detailed explanations on how to proceed to complete the foiling jibe:
You are sailing straight on your foil, the weight of the body on the front leg. Unhook your harness lines.
2. Back foot placement
Just before entering the jibe, slow down a little bit, remove gently your back foot out of the footstrap and place it on the opposite rail of the board, without pressing too hard.
Now you simply have to lean slightly into the turn and you will be carving. Steer the turn with your back foot, keeping a constant pressure through the whole turn. The foil will naturally want to come back in the opposite direction, so do not release the pressure at any moment. If you do not manage to turn completely, increase the pressure on the back foot.
4. Sail Position
Sebastian Kornum recommends opening up your backhand when you start carving and start to rotate the sail early. I personally prefer to keep some power in the sail for better balance, but this is practice and learning which will make you find the right technique and style. If you keep the sail powered up, be careful not to close the sail too much, as you may get backwinded due to apparent wind coming to you.
5. Board Pitch
When you are completely downwind, replace your body well above the board to control balance on the foil. Try to keep the pitch of the board as flat as possible during the turn. If the nose of the board is pointing up, the foil will rise and may come too close to the surface, which will stop the movement.
6. Sail Rotation
Rotate the sail relatively early in the turn, when you feel that there is no more traction. The rotation needs to be quick if you want to maintain balance on your board, because the high speed in the turn makes the sail heavy and difficult to rotate. After some training, you should be able to rotate the sail without any effort, so you can concentrate on the position of your feet to make the perfect turn.
7. Switch Feet
And the end of the rotation, switch your feet. Be light on your feet! Ideally, the new front foot should land in or near the front strap.
8. Final Step
Hook you harness line, place your back foot in the strap and ready to go!
Some more inspiration before making a try on the water? Check this video of Benjamin Tiller making his “real air jibe” as he calls it: