WindWise with Simon Bornhoft: Duck-Gybe

Duck-gybe with SB

Can’t gybe? Don’t worry, you stand a very decent chance of duck-gybing! Simon Bornhoft breaks down this seemingly elusive ‘trick’ to make it achievable – regardless of your level. Photos: Karen Bornhoft / WindWise

If you had two cloned intermediates and one focused just on gybing and the other just on duck-gybing, the odds are that the duck-gyber would learn their move the quickest and be most likely to plane out too. Despite limiting beliefs, my tests have proved that duck-gybing can actually be easier to learn than gybing. In fact, when someone comes on a course and dedicates decent time to light wind skills and drills and then makes 40-50 duck-gybe attempts in planing winds, the success rate is very high. I’m not talking about advanced sailors, either. If you can blast in the straps you can duck-gybe! Here’s how…

Skills & Drills

Session 1: Sail 180s.

Session 2: Switch-stance.

Session 3: Non-planing duck-gybe – involving our ‘upwind-downwinder’, ‘sail 180s’ & ‘switch-stance’ skills and drills.

Session 4: MAKE YOUR MOVE – the fully planing duck-gybe!

Key Principles

Exaggerate and commit to our WindWise Principles, adding finer detail to speed up MAKING YOUR MOVE!

Vision: Look forward and through the turn to where you want to go.

Trim: Adopt a wide foot spread to steer and lever the board.

Opposition: Rig moves one way, you move in the opposite direction (and vice versa).

Power: Wide arm spread, pulling down on the boom before and after ‘ducking’.

Stance: Going and out of the turn, adopt a super-7 ‘drop-&-push’ stance with flexed back leg and extended front leg.

Build your skills, confidence and neuromuscular propriaception (muscle memory) by trying the following sessions on land first then using a large enough board to uphaul with a sub 6.0m rig on the water.

Click here to read WindWise 268 in full…


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