The Gybe

I hope you all found the previously covered steering technique helpful with your direction changes. The gybe builds upon your steering skills, as you will have already learnt the first stage of turning away from the wind. By continuing through downwind and switching your feet you will have performed a gybe. Your hands will go to the new side of the boom and you have another move in your armoury. By learning this move and becoming very proficient at it you will be able to call upon these skills in stronger wind, downwind turns i.e. the carve gybe. Intermediate and advanced sailors will greatly benefit from working on the gybe in lighter winds. If you want better carve gybes become the master of this!


The gybe will be built from;

  • Dynamic steering downwind
  • Clew first control

It will be very worthwhile to check out the clew first

beachstart and steering technique articles for a recap.

Become proficient at clew first sailing and you will master

downwind transitions so much faster.


Key Stages

  • Set-up and turning away from the wind
  • Switching the feet
  • Controlled clew first
  • Rotating the rig and sailing away.
Set-up and turning away from the wind

From your sailing position check

downwind for space and other sailors.

Bring the rig forward and

across whilst body moves backwards

and down away from the rig. The backhand

moves right down the boom.

Get low and scissor

the board by pushing

with the extended front leg and pulling

with a bent back leg. The rig is twisted with

the front arm extended and back arm pulling


Switching the feet

As you approach downwind, keep the rig forward and across

you. The rig goes to the outside of

the turn and you are moving to the inside to

create a balance.

Look out of the turn. With your

bodyweight over the back foot then you front foot

will be relatively weightless. This enables you to

switch the feet; front foot comes back to

its new sailing position.

Your old back foot now goes forward as you continue

looking forward and out of the turn.

Controlled clew first

Going in the new direction gain control

clew first. Remember, body low, back hand

way down the boom and clew hand pulled in tight. The

better you are at this the more you will be the

master of windsurfing!

Rotating the rig and sailing away
From controlled clew first, keep looking forwards and slide

your front hand towards the mast.

Let go with the backhand.

Keep your body low and let the mast go right to the

tail. Keep looking forwards.

Front hand reaches underneath to

grab the new side of the boom and then continues

the rotation to bring the rig back forward. Keep

looking forwards.

As the rig goes forward, ensure your front

hand slides back down the boom to resume

its sailing position. Sail away and keep

looking forwards.

Keep looking forwards!

View video of this move:

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  • Rig across and forward with body back
  • Scissor legs pushing through the front foot
  • Rig twists and moves to the outside
  • Get low and to the inside
  • Look out of the turn
  • Switch the feet: front foot comes back, back

    foot goes forward

  • Clew first controlled exit
  • Slide mast hand and rotate rig
  • Sail away