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Learning Freestyle

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Created by Harrow 1 month ago, 22 Feb 2020
Harrow
NSW, 3226 posts
22 Feb 2020 11:13AM
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Being someone that still struggles with doing a decent gybe after decades of sailing, I look at Freestylers in absolute awe. So, I got to thinking, can anyone learn to freestyle, given the right instruction and a little patience. I've got this idea that if I try to learn a few Freestyle moves, (I don't even know how to go about that), I might not end up being very good at it, but maybe gybing will then become a relatively simple thing to do. Looney idea?

BSN101
WA, 1800 posts
22 Feb 2020 9:27AM
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Harrow said..
Being someone that still struggles with doing a decent gybe after decades of sailing, I look at Freestylers in absolute awe. So, I got to thinking, can anyone learn to freestyle, given the right instruction and a little patience. I've got this idea that if I try to learn a few Freestyle moves, (I don't even know how to go about that), I might not end up being very good at it, but maybe gybing will then become a relatively simple thing to do. Looney idea?


You need to find the flattest piece of water on a windy day and do GPS long distance with short runs. I went out in Australind one sesh did about 65km and on gps track counted over 120 corners. I felt invincible after the sesh and i was blown away by the number corners I did. In great conditions I did improve. Recently in Albany WA and again mega distance (160km) but awesome corners on flat water. everyone was gybing like a champ including one of my team who struggled on on tack. id live to do some freestyle but not on my slalom boards. we all need to keep learning on the water.

Grantmac
175 posts
22 Feb 2020 10:23AM
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Do you have a FS board? Can you duck gybe, sail switch etc?

Shifu
QLD, 1439 posts
22 Feb 2020 1:37PM
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Harrow said..
Being someone that still struggles with doing a decent gybe after decades of sailing, I look at Freestylers in absolute awe. So, I got to thinking, can anyone learn to freestyle, given the right instruction and a little patience. I've got this idea that if I try to learn a few Freestyle moves, (I don't even know how to go about that), I might not end up being very good at it, but maybe gybing will then become a relatively simple thing to do. Looney idea?


Use the Guy Crib method. The step Gybe. Get lots of practice. Be aggressive. Get you back hand way back on the boom, and flip the rig waaaay before you think it is prudent to do so. You'll be hammering planing gybes in no time.

Gestalt
QLD, 12562 posts
22 Feb 2020 2:05PM
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Harrow said..
Being someone that still struggles with doing a decent gybe after decades of sailing, I look at Freestylers in absolute awe. So, I got to thinking, can anyone learn to freestyle, given the right instruction and a little patience. I've got this idea that if I try to learn a few Freestyle moves, (I don't even know how to go about that), I might not end up being very good at it, but maybe gybing will then become a relatively simple thing to do. Looney idea?



light wind is the best time to start doing freestyle. you need enough wind to feel pressure in the sail or it's very hard to learn new stuff but you don't want to be fully powered or the power just gets in the way.

dredging in light winds can actually teach you a lot and it improves your balance and core which is really important.

i'd say start with a basic tack and sailing clew first.
then learn helitacks and duck gybes
then try Vulcans and sailing switch.

all of those moves teach you to move your hands up and down the boom and to adjust stance and weight when backwinded.

Chris 249
NSW, 2451 posts
22 Feb 2020 6:25PM
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Harrow said..
Being someone that still struggles with doing a decent gybe after decades of sailing, I look at Freestylers in absolute awe. So, I got to thinking, can anyone learn to freestyle, given the right instruction and a little patience. I've got this idea that if I try to learn a few Freestyle moves, (I don't even know how to go about that), I might not end up being very good at it, but maybe gybing will then become a relatively simple thing to do. Looney idea?









Your basic idea is not loony. However, having done a bit of coaching, I'd say it's not just the right instruction - but the right way of TAKING the instruction. The better the sailor, the more accurate they are at following a coach's instructions, IME. Lots of people will hear a coach say "put your foot in X position" and then, even with time to spare, put their foot in X plus or minus 20cm and wonder what happened. The best will hear the coach and put their foot into X position exactly. The only time I coached a two-time Olympian/world champ, it was fascinating to see how they would do EXACTLY what the coach said, in a way that no one else ever did. No wonder they did two Games and won world titles..... and no wonder the Olympic coach in their class was unforgiving of people who fartarse around.

Although it's all about dinghy racing, Eric Twiname's "Sail, Race and Win" book is really about how to learn, and it's amazingly good. You could also chase up a copy of "The Inner Game of Tennis", which is about sports psychology, and also "Centred Skiiing" (IIRC). These are all about how to learn, which includes breaking down a skill into small chunks, visualising it, and then learning it. These are books that can change your (sailing) life.

For example, gybing well is pretty simple but it requires analysis and an understanding of what you're trying to do. You have to know the step-by-step details well enough that, when you crash, you can sit on your board and work out what went wrong, and how to fix it. That's what Twiname writes about.

Looking at it from another angle IMHO most people fail to gybe because they lean too the back of the board (which stalls it and increases the apparent wind) and also let the rig get too far to leeward. If you have to pull your "new" back hand in, it's slow and difficult. If you have the rig close to your nose as it flips, you can let the new "front" hand out to get the right at the right angle of attack. Letting the front hand out goes with the power and is much easier and faster.

CJW
NSW, 1636 posts
22 Feb 2020 7:02PM
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Learning freestyle will improve almost every aspect of your windsurfing as it teaches you to deal with the board and rig in weird situations, go for it!

Make no mistake though to even learn to Vulcan at your age is going to be incredibly difficult, and I say at 'your age' because you referenced decades, not taking the piss. The thing about a lot of freestyle tricks is they go against most of the muscle memory you have learnt over your decades of windsurfing. As you get older it becomes significantly harder to un-learn/re-learn that stuff. It's one of the reasons people find it so hard to learn to forward loop, it's basically a catapult, most windsurfers spend their entire formative years in the sport trying to avoid that.

You also need good conditions and an absolutely unrelenting commitment to keep trying tricks....and not just re try the same thing over and over, analyse what could be going wrong and try something a bit different. I reckon when I first learnt to Vulcan it took me 3 years of on and off trying...I was probably mid 20's at the time. Then one day I just said stuff it and every session I just tried them non stop until I cracked it. And once you do you learn that muscle memory the other entry level tricks like spocks, spock 540, grubby's etc come a lot faster....but cracking that first trick can take a very very long time.

Probably the only way to do it, unless you have fairly good conditions, IE can get out at least 2 or 3 times a week for a few hours, is to go to one of the big windsurfing centres for a few weeks, enrol in a course and just smash it non-stop with unwavering commitment. Otherwise it ain't going to happen. I'd also add, before I started really getting into it I was what i'd consider a fairly good level, could gybe no probs, already big into wave riding, could do a passable forward loop etc.

You also need the right gear, get a modern freestyle board, trying to learn this stuff on anything else is just a waste of time as it's that much harder. You don't really need specific freestyle sails, wave sails are fine to start out on. And Gestalt is right, start at the basics, heli tacks, upwind 360's etc, they are the basis for most of the tricks. After all a spock is just a bit of a jump then a helitack but while planing backwards, swtich stance

Some of that might sound a bit harsh, but just trying to be realistic going from my own experiences, and I really only know the basics, spock 540 is about as tech as I can get. I tried learning flakas and shakas but basically gave up as I couldn't really commit to the crashes required to learn them....and then foils came along

Sea Lotus
98 posts
22 Feb 2020 8:20PM
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Shifu said..
"and flip the rig waaaay before you think it is prudent to do so."


Tried this today, oh wow, it worked great, now i am coming out planing most of the time, thanks o lot man, second best tip after "turn your head to look inside/route of the turn" for me.

I tried to learn from youtube videos, they encourage to come out clew first, then flip when comfortable. Now I understand that wrong teaching was the reason I struggled to finish jibes for more than a year.

boardsurfr
WA, 1006 posts
22 Feb 2020 11:46PM
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I think it's a great idea, assuming you can find someone and work on "old school" freestyle. My jibe definitely improved after learning the 360. Multi-day camps are best. They usually include some light wind days, and some stuff is best learned in light wind.

For a quick temporary fix, spots like Albany and Lake George are great - it's hard not to feel like a hero jibing there. But the super-flat spots let you get away with a lot of mistakes that kill you in chop, like not bending your knees.

Gestalt
QLD, 12562 posts
23 Feb 2020 8:29AM
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Sea Lotus said..

Shifu said..
"and flip the rig waaaay before you think it is prudent to do so."



Tried this today, oh wow, it worked great, now i am coming out planing most of the time, thanks o lot man, second best tip after "turn your head to look inside/route of the turn" for me.

I tried to learn from youtube videos, they encourage to come out clew first, then flip when comfortable. Now I understand that wrong teaching was the reason I struggled to finish jibes for more than a year.


Either technique works fine.

Faff
VIC, 735 posts
23 Feb 2020 2:28PM
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Sea Lotus said..

Shifu said..
"and flip the rig waaaay before you think it is prudent to do so."



Tried this today, oh wow, it worked great, now i am coming out planing most of the time, thanks o lot man, second best tip after "turn your head to look inside/route of the turn" for me.

I tried to learn from youtube videos, they encourage to come out clew first, then flip when comfortable. Now I understand that wrong teaching was the reason I struggled to finish jibes for more than a year.


Jem Hall has some good advice, but his clew-first exit advice is, frankly, idiotic. Get a hold of Cribb's gybe video. It's the best.

summset
WA, 13 posts
23 Feb 2020 11:43AM
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Sam Ross has some great videos, along with the TWS ones. The epiphany moment I had was looking into the turn.

Faff
VIC, 735 posts
23 Feb 2020 2:54PM
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Harrow said..
Being someone that still struggles with doing a decent gybe after decades of sailing, I look at Freestylers in absolute awe. So, I got to thinking, can anyone learn to freestyle, given the right instruction and a little patience. I've got this idea that if I try to learn a few Freestyle moves, (I don't even know how to go about that), I might not end up being very good at it, but maybe gybing will then become a relatively simple thing to do. Looney idea?


Everything you do improves everything else. More than one instructor I had told me not to get obsessed with planing exits. To freestylers, gybes are a bottom rung skill. "When you can gybe well enough to get around, start trying duck gybes, forward loops, carve tacks, etc., etc.. when you can string multiple bottom turns together, gybes will feel like nothing". I duly ignored their advice at the time and kept drilling gybes. However, since then I got much better at jumping, learned to forward, carve tack, now trying to learn to Vulcan (the gateway move in modern freestyle). Doing the above (badly as I do them) do make gybes a non-event (although planing exits on starboard are still infrequent).

Get a copy of the Tricktionary book and download the app. They are the ultimate resource. There's a lot of nitty-gritty in the book that you won't easily find elsewhere. It also makes a great coffee table book.

Haircut
QLD, 6325 posts
23 Feb 2020 2:58PM
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i reckon learning to sail in the footstraps when not planing (very upright and weight a little over front leg) , gives you a similar stance and feeling that's used when going into a forward, vulcan, grubby and flakka.

h20
VIC, 428 posts
23 Feb 2020 4:06PM
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Have a look at Tricktionary app or the book too.

Gestalt
QLD, 12562 posts
23 Feb 2020 6:03PM
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I got inspired by this thread and today purposefully chose a small sail so I could just focus on sail tricks. Tacks, helitacks, clew first.

Not a lot of planing happened. really should do it more often.

Grantmac
175 posts
24 Feb 2020 3:04AM
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Going for duck gybes helped my regular gybes.

Basher
183 posts
24 Feb 2020 5:44AM
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I think that what happens with most of us is that we get to the stage where we can get planing in the straps and we enjoy the sensation of flying along close to the water - and at that point we can feel self satisfied and forget to learn some more.
The worst gybers are those who sail off into the distance and then fall in, to then waterstart and return to the shore, then getting off in the shallows for a chat.
My point being that you learn to gybe a lot faster if you give up the long runs and make yourself tack or gybe more frequently. Learning more sophisticated freestyle moves is then a further step in that direction. Push yourself, with goals.
Of course the longer you have been windsurfing, the more difficult it is to do anything new.

Faff
VIC, 735 posts
24 Feb 2020 11:41AM
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Basher said..
I think that what happens with most of us is that we get to the stage where we can get planing in the straps and we enjoy the sensation of flying along close to the water - and at that point we can feel self satisfied and forget to learn some more.
The worst gybers are those who sail off into the distance and then fall in, to then waterstart and return to the shore, then getting off in the shallows for a chat.
My point being that you learn to gybe a lot faster if you give up the long runs and make yourself tack or gybe more frequently. Learning more sophisticated freestyle moves is then a further step in that direction. Push yourself, with goals.
Of course the longer you have been windsurfing, the more difficult it is to do anything new.


Many are simply happy to get to the stage where they stay dry.

Shifu
QLD, 1439 posts
24 Feb 2020 10:58AM
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Faff said..
Jem Hall has some good advice, but his clew-first exit advice is, frankly, idiotic. Get a hold of Cribb's gybe video. It's the best.

I think he does this as a method of getting rank beginners around their first corners, but it seems like it would instill bad habits in the long run.

Gestalt
QLD, 12562 posts
24 Feb 2020 1:10PM
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on the race course clew first is very common.

I flip early too but both methods work.

Harrow
NSW, 3226 posts
24 Feb 2020 3:55PM
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I must be too far back and losing too much speed in the turn. If I flip late I stall the tail and suddenly find myself pointing upwind, or else if I flip early I get pulled over the front when I start to sheet in.

Gestalt
QLD, 12562 posts
24 Feb 2020 3:07PM
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Harrow said..
I must be too far back and losing too much speed in the turn. If I flip late I stall the tail and suddenly find myself pointing upwind, or else if I flip early I get pulled over the front when I start to sheet in.


Sounds like you are not moving your sheet hand back along the boom prior to sheeting in.

That make a big difference in controlling the power amd also helps force the rail of the board into the water.

Mr Milk
NSW, 1886 posts
19 Mar 2020 7:43PM
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Last night YouTube told me that I wanted to watch a windsurfing lessons video from someone in Tenerife. He was showing how to do gybes and 360s on dry land with no wind by standing on the fully rigged board on top of an air mattress and suggesting that is a good way to practice before trying it on the water.
Has anybody here learned that way? Recommended or not?

Edit . same guy as Gestalt posted above

CAN17
338 posts
20 Mar 2020 5:52AM
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Harrow, when you start foiling you will be gybing more consistantly and be able to gybe at speeds so slow its unfair.

Many good freestylers are great foilers.
But at the same time IMO foiling is MUCH easier to become skilled at then freestyling. I can't gybe for my life on a windsurfer. But learned how to consistantly foil gybe after about 50 sessions and I have way less windsurfing experience than you do.

gtj101
120 posts
21 Mar 2020 7:22PM
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To learn freestyle, the best is to use the .Perfect tool, a windskate....

Its the best to learn....

Faff
VIC, 735 posts
23 Mar 2020 2:50PM
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gtj101 said..
To learn freestyle, the best is to use the .Perfect tool, a windskate....

Its the best to learn....


But the falls really hurt.



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"Learning Freestyle" started by Harrow