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Strap to strap vs step gybes

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Created by Windxtasy > 9 months ago, 11 Mar 2017
Windxtasy
WA, 3840 posts
11 Mar 2017 9:07AM
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I have always been told it is better to learn the step gybe, but most of the really good alpha gybers I know do the strap to strap gybe (I think).
The techniques are quite different, aside from the footwork, and I have been confused in the past by strap to strap people giving me advice when some things don't work for step gybes (ie having the mast toward the inside of the turn when you flip the rig)
questions
1. Why is the step gybe supposed to be better?
2. if you can do a 25 kn alpha, which method do you use?
3. for those who can do both types equally well, when do you use which?

lao shi
WA, 1182 posts
11 Mar 2017 10:44AM
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I think step gybe is better if you are learning as the board stays flat and you get better speed out of the turn.
%2C312
If you flip the rig at this point all your weight is on the tail and the mast foot pressure is released so the board will bounce if you hit chop
%2C362
If you flip the rig after stepping the board still has weight on the rail through the heels and is therefore less likely to bounce.
Disclaimer
Due to years of bad habits I strap to rig flip to step to strap gybe

powersloshin
NSW, 950 posts
11 Mar 2017 1:59PM
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For accelerating quickly out of the turn after the flip it helps to have your foot in the footstrap asap, and step to step wastes a few seconds.
A variant that some of my most talented friends do is to move the foot just behind the front foot strap, not in front of the rear one, when initiating the carve. Then when they do the twist the new back foot goes behind, then all you need to do is slide the front in the footstrap and accelerate.
Also consider that the exit is a very physical operation, I am sure that in this case a male has an advantage over a female, given same technical abilities, so you should not compare your speed with the best males.

decrepit
WA, 8827 posts
11 Mar 2017 12:22PM
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Step gybe is better in chop, as Mark says it helps stop the board bouncing, but in flat water, strap to strap, is quicker to accelerate as power sloshin says. Sailing on the estuary has ruined my starboard step gybes, I can now only do strap to strap on that tack and my alphas, even in flat water are slower than port gybes, where I invariably do strap to strap. I think, the strap to strap gybe can afford to be a tighter and min speed a tad less, because you are powered up quicker, that means the runs can be a bit more down wind. A step gybe needs to be a bit wider to allow for the slightly longer gliding distance.

sailquik
VIC, 4175 posts
11 Mar 2017 2:34PM
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Clarifications of types of Gybes:
Step Gybe: Change feet before rig flip or at very start of rig flip.
Strap to Strap (STS): Change feet after start of rig flip. (sometimes after boom in hands again - sometimes during rig flip just as boom come back into hands) Not necessarily putting the front foot in front strap first on new tack, but this is where the name comes from. Timing pretty much the same whichever foot goes in first.

Step Gybe has some big advantages in rough, bouncy water on a slalom board, especially with a large rig that is harder to 'float' around in the flip. And also in marginal planning conditions where staying on the plane through the gybe and on exit is unlikely.

STS Gybe can be faster in nicely powered slalom conditions on flattish water where the speed in is quite high, the rig is 'weightless' in the flip and the exit speed is quite high and fully planing. In this situation, because the board is going relatively fast, the tail does not tend to sink and bog in, and the sailor can stay both feet between the front and back straps. By the time the feet are switched, the rig is back in the hands and powered. Because the board is still planning, the sailor can keep both feet behind the front straps and immediately power up off the fin. (this is why I almost always put the back foot in first in this situation, as I already have weight on the rig and mast foot, and can keep it driving though the new front foot between the straps as I put the back foot in. In rough and bouncy water, the advantage goes back to the step gybe and there is more control during the rig flip. In STS, the board can get very bouncy in that time of rig flip, foot switch, especially if speed is bleeding off very quickly with bouncing.

One major key to a good STS gybe is putting the back foot well forward on the carving rail on entry. This stops the board bogging down as it slows and helps the sailor keep the weight projecting forward. This somewhat alleviates the often seen need of Step Gybers to step right forward (front foot well ahead of the new front strap almost to mast foot) to try the flatten the board out again the maintain planing. Some boards don't like to carve in as easily if you do this (foot well forward on carving rail). It depends a lot on the plan shape, and to a lesser extent on the rail shape. Larger, wider tailed slalom boards are often harder to do this on (110L and up) as they have straighter plan shape with wider tail. More traditional rounded pintail boards and speed boards usually do this well.

On my very narrow, 40cm speed board, my carving foot is touching the front strap, and I sometimes sail away with both feet still in both front straps for a second or two if I don't plane out fast.

So to sum up, IMHO, the reason it is somewhat favoured for fast Alphas, is that these Gybes tend to be done at very high speed on flat water.

The reason why the vast majority of Slalom racers use a Step Gybe is that they are usually in bouncy rough water and using large heavy rigs, somewhat overpowered. The emphasis is more towards 'Safe' than 'Fast', because it is very slow if you blow it.

Kazza
TAS, 2188 posts
11 Mar 2017 3:17PM
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I used to do step gybe with all disaplines of sailing. I've now taught myself the strap to strap gybe as well. On slalom gear I do the step gybe because of the cams in the sail. I find when I swing the sail around then it's in the power zone (where you get pulled forward a bit) I find you have the front foot ready then to take that force of the pull. If I strap to strap with cam sail I get pulled forward because my foots not there to take the force. Probably with practice I'ld get used to it, and now cam sails rotate much better it would make it easier as well. I try to strap to strap with wavesails as they flip easy and you can ride a piece of swell while gybing and it feels really good. I think strap to strap would be quicker for an alpha as long as you can do them well

Windxtasy
WA, 3840 posts
11 Mar 2017 2:06PM
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There is some really useful information here.
Keep it coming.

Ian K
NSW, 2731 posts
11 Mar 2017 5:49PM
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Used to do strap to strap gybes but when it got choppy I was hopeless. The step gybe is more reliable, has you in a position to compensate if things don't go as planned. The strap to strap then became uncomfortable as I realised that my front foot was still in the strap with the knee almost locked straight. A locked knee is more prone to injury. Any anecdotal evidence to back up my perceived risk of doing strap to strap gybes?

sailquik
VIC, 4175 posts
11 Mar 2017 9:32PM
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In this example above, I would be switching feet just a tad earlier after the rig come back into the hands. Sink body low and power out. That one look just a little awkward as he tries to power away with the foot still in the strap.

This is my most posted video! I will have to talk a mate into getting some newer ones.

evets
WA, 683 posts
11 Mar 2017 7:43PM
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It took me a long time to learn to gybe (just a slow learner) and I have elected to only do step gybes. I use them on all of my boards from 45 wide to 65 wide with some success. Initially I considered trying to learn both in parallel. I think this was proposed in a coaching video, perhaps Peter Hart?
I am not suggesting the step gybe is the best technique, just that I have elected to stick with it as I have it working fairly well. I am convinced I can increase my alpha by increasing my speed across the wind. I do not think I need to change to strap to strap to do, for example a 26.
Flat water and consistent wind combined is very helpful when learning to gybe. Add in water 50cm-1 metre deep and I improved rapidly.

sailquik
VIC, 4175 posts
11 Mar 2017 10:46PM
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That is a perfectly reasonable strategy Evets.

It is important to remember that the first way you learn to do something is usually the way you will persevere with, develop and refine. It is hard enough to change ingrained bad habits, let alone start something again from scratch.

There is no doubt at all that a very well refined step gybe can be very fast for Alphas, just as a poorly executed STS can be just as slow. Some great Alpha speeds very high in the rankings from accomplished step gyber's are proof of this.

Of course, for those aspiring to be the ultimate, all-round expert sailor, you won't be satisfied until you have mastered both. I know I still have a long way to go!

anthony perkins
TAS, 334 posts
11 Mar 2017 11:24PM
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Fastest alpha Australian challenge, a step, it would be interesting to know what the top 10 are
I step but I'm not in the top 10

boardsurfr
708 posts
12 Mar 2017 12:57AM
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The step jibe is the jibe that's most often taught by professional teaches as the first planing jibe (e.g. ABK Boardsports, Dasher, etc.). It's also the jibe you'll see most at slalom races - the higher the level, the less likely it is you'll see a STS (or "sail first") jibe.

For jibe beginners, one big advantage of the step jibe is that you don't end up sailing switch stance. Jibe beginners usually come off the plane, which makes sailing out switch very hard. With a step jibe, they end up in a natural stance. Sailing out clew first (which is often recommended when you loose too much speed) is comparatively easy.

To take the step jibe to PWA slalom levels, however, is rather hard (olympic windsurfer Beth Winkler said "Jibing is a career"). There are quite a few issues to solve. For example, the timing for rig movement and stepping needs to be perfect to minimize speed loss; stepping needs to be light to not sink the tail or drive the nose too far down; and there is a ballet-like "dance" with body and rig movements going in opposite directions to keep the board angle constant. Putting it all together consistently and in various conditions is hard.

The sail-first (STS) jibe can be easier because the various movements are isolated, and do not need to be synchronized. For some (and perhaps many), it's easier to consistently keep a lot of speed than with step jibes. This is similar to the duck jibe, which can also be easier to plane out of because you switch your feet late.

The sail-first jibe can also be the first choice in very overpowered conditions, when you sail only partially sheeted in (on freeride or wave gear). That makes over sheeting very hard, and often, the wind will tear the sail out of your hands when you start carving. If you know how to do a sail-first jibe, you can stay dry. On Maui, where 30 knot wind and much lower board speeds are common, I saw a lot of sail-first jibes.

By all means, play around with both the step and the strap-to-strap jibe. Even a firm advocate of the step jibe will admit that a dry STS jibe is better than a wet step jibe! You may also find that the sail-first jibe works better for you - maybe always, or maybe only in some conditions. Although you might end up like "Twisted Ted", who does a sail-first jibe on one tack, and a switch jibe on the other tack - he never switches his feet, sailing switch on one tack most of the time .

kato
VIC, 2327 posts
12 Mar 2017 5:41PM
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Just had a look at the two videos put up and I do the third option.
When I jibe, my back foot heel is on the front foot strap pad, so when I'm fully around I just rotate the foot into the strap. Back foot in and I'm off. Two movements. This method is only used in flat water, fully lit.
The step jibe I use when its a bit light or very rough and I need that extra push to stop the board digging in as I flip and swap feet.
I also flip and swap feet at the same time. Works for me

Stretchy
WA, 392 posts
12 Mar 2017 4:22PM
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I step gybe. Tried STS a few times, but I find the back to sail stance very awkward and I invariably fail. Must try again. When my step gybes are going well, the step and flip are very close together. The later the flip the slower the overall gybe. My port gybes aren't very good as I am naturally less coordinated on this side with the flip - I find myself holding onto the rig too long. It is also the "choppy" end at my local - in chop it gets ugly

evets
WA, 683 posts
12 Mar 2017 5:48PM
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I am pretty sure Stroppo steps, 5th overall in the GPSTS

evets
WA, 683 posts
12 Mar 2017 6:03PM
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evets said..
It took me a long time to learn to gybe (just a slow learner) and I have elected to only do step gybes. I use them on all of my boards from 45 wide to 65 wide with some success. Initially I considered trying to learn both in parallel. I think this was proposed in a coaching video, perhaps Peter Hart?
I am not suggesting the step gybe is the best technique, just that I have elected to stick with it as I have it working fairly well. I am convinced I can increase my alpha by increasing my speed across the wind. I do not think I need to change to strap to strap to do, for example a 26.
Flat water and consistent wind combined is very helpful when learning to gybe. Add in water 50cm-1 metre deep and I improved rapidly.


Yup got closer to the 26 today with a 25.5. Happy to be going in the right direction.

evets
WA, 683 posts
12 Mar 2017 6:04PM
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sailquik said..
That is a perfectly reasonable strategy Evets.

It is important to remember that the first way you learn to do something is usually the way you will persevere with, develop and refine. It is hard enough to change ingrained bad habits, let alone start something again from scratch.

There is no doubt at all that a very well refined step gybe can be very fast for Alphas, just as a poorly executed STS can be just as slow. Some great Alpha speeds very high in the rankings from accomplished step gyber's are proof of this.

Of course, for those aspiring to be the ultimate, all-round expert sailor, you won't be satisfied until you have mastered both. I know I still have a long way to go!


Absolutely agree that to be an all round expert being good at both styles is important. I have no expectation of reaching that level

Windxtasy
WA, 3840 posts
12 Mar 2017 6:59PM
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Evets, as a fellow slow learner you continue to be my inspiration. You are an expert in my eyes.
I am far from perfecting the step gybe but getting them smoother and better and more controlled, if not faster.
I am not going to confuse myself by trying STS gybes, but now that I have worked out the differences I plan to try them when I get the step gybe really sorted.
I can see that in really overpowered conditions when you cannot sheet in fully the STS gybe would be preferable. The STS gybe looks a lot smoother in videos too.
Powersloshin, I do not expect to be able to gybe as well or as quickly as the guys, but I would like to be up there with the best of the ladies, and my gybing is what holds me back. I am working on it! You are right about the physical aspects of the gybe. I do find arm strength is limiting when throwing the rig forward during gybes, especially with my non dominant arm, and the whole process is quite tiring when powered up.

This discussion is not all about me. It arose from a discussion with Lunny at the river the other day. Lunny has always done the STS gybe, and very successfully, but has recently decided to try to change to the step gybe because that is what the best slalom sailors do. We were discussing the differences, but I thought it best to ask the experts.

decrepit
WA, 8827 posts
12 Mar 2017 7:15PM
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Evets sent me today's PB step gybe, alpha for checking, so here it is.



There's nothing here I can see that could be improved, the separation is almost perfect but a tad chancy it's only 2m within legal.
And for comparison here's my 4th jan Lilacs strap to strap alpha, with similar numbers.


It's obvious what I've done wrong here, the return run goes to far upwind, so is slower.
But is there any obvious advantage between the two methods? hard to tell I guess.
So the step gybe is more versatile, you can use it anywhere, so that's why it's the one that's taught first. Unless you're really pushing the limits, young and learn new things easily, there's probably no benefit, trying to learn something different.


sailquik
VIC, 4175 posts
12 Mar 2017 10:27PM
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Here is another example I just rediscovered of Jacques executing a really hard and fast flat-water carve Gybe. Rig flip first/STS type.

This is one of the nicest, tightest, and smoothest carves I have ever seen.

Note that again the feet are changed just after the rig comes back into both hands and just as full power is applied.

This is a very deep and hard carve in a very tight radius, so despite a very high entry speed, a lot of speed is inevitably bled off in such a deep carve, (check the freeze frames below and see the deep hole in the wake!) This means the exit, although still planing, is at a lowish speed so he has to sink his body low and get he feet well forward to drive away hard keeping the board flat.



Here are some freeze frames to illustrate important points:

Note that the whole body and rig are leaned into the Gybe with the board. Rig kept up in front of the sailors face.





Here the back hand has let go of the boom and as it rotates the front hand brings the mast across in front of the face. See how the whole board body and rig are leaned into the arc of the carve. There is no muscling of the rig or great strength required. The rig is balanced and fairly weightless.


Weightless rig swings around in front of face. Rig and body leaning into turn. No 'Muscling'!




New front hand in place and holds rig forward as it pivots under its momentum. Back hand starting to reach for boom. Everything still leaning into the turn and beautifully balanced.


Back hand in place and starting to sheet in on new tack. Feet still static but just about to be moved. Body and rig still leaning into the turn and balanced. Knees bent in athletic stance ready to start foot switch. Still driving weight forward into direction of travel.




Sheeting in. Flattening board out to stop over turning and maintain speed. Foot withdrawing from old front strap, pivoted and placed on centreline of board between the straps



Foot switch continues and new front foot is moved forward and power coming into the rig. Back foot pushing and controlling board angle. Knees bent. Board flattening out more on new tack. Weight starting to come down on boom to keep board flat.



Now fully sheeted in. Body dropped down low to resist being pulled forward and catapult and to get full drive and weight on boom to give mast foot pressure to keep board flat. Board now almost flattened out on new tack. Only a few things left to do; That is to drive away, get feet in straps, hook in and smile!



Beautifully done Young Fella!

sailquik
VIC, 4175 posts
12 Mar 2017 10:37PM
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Well done Evets! That a ripper Alpha.

Notable is that you get up to your entry speed again on the run out. This is rare for me and always means a very good average speed.

Its also a nice controlled arc. Not too tight which washes off too much speed and still not too wide so as to miss the proximity circle. You actually accelerate up to speed on a course that is slightly too wide and then pinch back to make the circle just enough at the right time. I wish I could do that as well every time.

Stretchy
WA, 392 posts
12 Mar 2017 8:43PM
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I notice he had to put his new front foot in front of the strap before bringing it back to the strap. Is that normal STS technique or a reaction to a tight turn that bled off a bit too much speed?

Stretchy
WA, 392 posts
12 Mar 2017 8:43PM
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I notice he had to put his new front foot in front of the strap before bringing it back to the strap. Is that normal STS technique or a reaction to a tight turn that bled off a bit too much speed?

ignore that - I think that's what you were saying .....

sailquik
VIC, 4175 posts
12 Mar 2017 10:50PM
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Stretchy said..
I notice he had to put his new front foot in front of the strap before bringing it back to the strap. Is that normal STS technique or a reaction to a tight turn that bled off a bit too much speed?

ignore that - I think that's what you were saying .....



I would not say be bled off 'too much' speed. That is inevitable if trying to do a super tight gybe like this one.

When trying for Alphas, one would of course carve just a bit less tight to try to maintain more speed.

But I don't think a fast Alpha was the primary object of this particular gybe. Sometimes it is just great fun to really push it and carve super tight. If you pull it off it is a great feeling!

Stretchy
WA, 392 posts
12 Mar 2017 9:56PM
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Oooh yeh!! Nothing like coming into a gybe hard and fast pulling maximum Gs.
love it!

AUS 808
WA, 222 posts
13 Mar 2017 10:19AM
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I do both but only able to do them in one direction only.
It is very hard to change, I was hoping this season I would but no luck.
I would prefer to do Step Gybes in both directions as they feel like they flow better and i don't over turn as far.

On a Port tack I STS & on Starboard Step.
I prefer the Step but I'm slightly faster with the STS.

I am only a 23kn alpha so no expert but find the following:
STS you can sometimes get your front stuck in the strap as you tend to get a bit twisted if you turn to far, looking at my tracks I do this a lot.
Step, I constantly grab the mast during the flip which is really doing my head in but I can't fix it ATM.
Both methods can be nice & flat in chop if executed correctly, although this is rare, especially as you get tired.

There is one guy in Perth who puts his back foot in the strap first after flipping which isn't so silly because you don't get pulled over the front, you really have to keep the power on so as the board doesn't sink though.

Practice, practice & more practice

Ian K
NSW, 2731 posts
13 Mar 2017 1:56PM
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sailquik said..
Well done Evets! That a ripper Alpha.

Notable is that you get up to your entry speed again on the run out. This is rare for me and always means a very good average speed.

Its also a nice controlled arc. Not too tight which washes off too much speed and still not too wide so as to miss the proximity circle. You actually accelerate up to speed on a course that is slightly too wide and then pinch back to make the circle just enough at the right time. I wish I could do that as well every time.


You need an Alpha Genie to talk you back to the proximity circle.

evets
WA, 683 posts
13 Mar 2017 8:38PM
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AUS 808 said..
I do both but only able to do them in one direction only.
It is very hard to change, I was hoping this season I would but no luck.
I would prefer to do Step Gybes in both directions as they feel like they flow better and i don't over turn as far.

On a Port tack I STS & on Starboard Step.
I prefer the Step but I'm slightly faster with the STS.

I am only a 23kn alpha so no expert but find the following:
STS you can sometimes get your front stuck in the strap as you tend to get a bit twisted if you turn to far, looking at my tracks I do this a lot.
Step, I constantly grab the mast during the flip which is really doing my head in but I can't fix it ATM.
Both methods can be nice & flat in chop if executed correctly, although this is rare, especially as you get tired.

There is one guy in Perth who puts his back foot in the strap first after flipping which isn't so silly because you don't get pulled over the front, you really have to keep the power on so as the board doesn't sink though.

Practice, practice & more practice




I was cured of the mast grab by a brilliant life coach. Nebs said to me I had to give him a beer every time I grabbed the mast. That meant every time I consciously avoided the mast. Add to that rig flips on the beach to teach myself the correct muscle movements and I slowly unlearned the mast grab. Are you moving your hand to the front of the boom before flipping. I think not doing that could be another mast grabbing cause. So, rig flips on the beach boom to boom until it is first, second and third nature and aversion therapy were the keys to my change ??

AUS 808
WA, 222 posts
14 Mar 2017 8:14AM
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Select to expand quote
evets said..

AUS 808 said..
I do both but only able to do them in one direction only.
It is very hard to change, I was hoping this season I would but no luck.
I would prefer to do Step Gybes in both directions as they feel like they flow better and i don't over turn as far.

On a Port tack I STS & on Starboard Step.
I prefer the Step but I'm slightly faster with the STS.

I am only a 23kn alpha so no expert but find the following:
STS you can sometimes get your front stuck in the strap as you tend to get a bit twisted if you turn to far, looking at my tracks I do this a lot.
Step, I constantly grab the mast during the flip which is really doing my head in but I can't fix it ATM.
Both methods can be nice & flat in chop if executed correctly, although this is rare, especially as you get tired.

There is one guy in Perth who puts his back foot in the strap first after flipping which isn't so silly because you don't get pulled over the front, you really have to keep the power on so as the board doesn't sink though.

Practice, practice & more practice





I was cured of the mast grab by a brilliant life coach. Nebs said to me I had to give him a beer every time I grabbed the mast. That meant every time I consciously avoided the mast. Add to that rig flips on the beach to teach myself the correct muscle movements and I slowly unlearned the mast grab. Are you moving your hand to the front of the boom before flipping. I think not doing that could be another mast grabbing cause. So, rig flips on the beach boom to boom until it is first, second and third nature and aversion therapy were the keys to my change ??


Steve, I'm not sure if I slide my hand forward on the Step gybe, I do with the STS and even let the rig go sometimes letting it rotate by it's self.
I know I'm concentrating on the carve, sheeting in & straightening the front arm but can't recall where my front hand is as I flip the rig. Will have to check that.
Not sure about the beer trick, I'm spending too much at the bottle shop as it is

Adriano
9855 posts
14 Mar 2017 11:02AM
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This thread is great.

Amazingly, I have just thought about what I do and found that I use both instinctively depending on the circumstances.

It's never occurred to me before this thread. 30 years of windsurfing!

I wonder what I did in my 26+ alpha at Inverloch? That was on the Mistral SP41 on ball bearings....mmm....got me thinking.

Daffy those posts are great. Thanks heaps.



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"Strap to strap vs step gybes" started by Windxtasy