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Matt's Monday #17: Jibing , Jybing or Gybing...

Mar 15, 2010

Happy Monday everyone- thanks for all the great responses with regard to our new topic! It was pretty unanimous that jibe talk is in order…

The more lessons I teach the more I realize how difficult it is for people to learn how to jibe! When I sit down and think about it, I don’t really even know how to spell it... but I do know how to do it! The jibe is one of those moves that can take some people 10 years to learn. It is a mandatory maneuver to have in your repertoire, without it a windsurfer is incomplete! For those of you who can’t jibe, don’t take offense to that statement- everyone wants to learn how and for the next couple weeks, I’m going to do my best to get you guys on the right path to master this move!

Matt flying through a jibeBefore I go on too much, I will say there are many ways to teach the jibe. I believe everyone learns differently and each person requires a different approach based on what stage they are at. I see a lot of people that can “kinda” do it but it is not so pretty. Some people start out good and just loose it right where it counts. The bottom line is most everyone that I see has problems due to a lack of speed!

There are a couple different jibe styles. Some people teach a carve jibe which I don’t really believe in (mainly because you can’t exit the jibe as quickly) and most others including myself teach a “step jibe”. The step jibe enables you to “step” forward and this keeps your weight centered over the board and keeps it MOVING!!! If you keep all your weight back when doing a carve jibe, you are going to slow down at some point- no doubt about it. The step jibe is a superior jibe to the carve jibe for many reasons- if you already know how to carve jibe, that is great. I don’t want to convert you... but when you ask me how to plane out of your jibes and keep your speed through the turn, I’m going to make you go back to the basics and learn the step jibe!

We have all heard the saying, “when in doubt, gas it” right? That principle applies especially to jibers! The object of the jibe is to come out of the jibe just as fast as you went into the jibe right? In a perfect world, that is how it would go.  In the reality world, most people I see going into a jibe slow down before they go into the turn- It may be just from taking the back foot out of the footstrap and causing the board to wobble, it may be from getting out of the harness and losing momentum, it may be from fear knowing they  are about ready to fall in- the point is, they are losing speed and we need to figure out how to stop that from happening!

My buddy Neil who is an instructor down at Vela Baja has a great story that he tells to jibers... It goes a little something like this-
“Imagine that you are approaching a small town (Jibeville) by car. You have been on a major highway going as fast as you wanted. In this town there is a rule that says you cannot leave your engine running. There are signs posted outside the city limits warning you of this rule- you have plenty of time to prepare for it.  You are able to coast through the town as fast as you want but no engine noise is permitted. The road is on a slight uphill and the distance your engine has to be shut off for is about ½ a mile. If you do not make it through the town by coasting, you have to pay a fine of $10,000. You are not allowed to push your car or have it towed. As soon as you stop, you are instantly subject to  pay the fine or spend life in prison!"

Ouch. The moral of the story is that in order to make a great jibe, you have to have speed. Speed is what gives you the freedom to “COAST” through the transition zone of the jibe (also know as the town Jibeville).

As you “COAST” through Jibeville, this is the time to make your move and transition your feet and flip your sail. If you have your speed, you have stability and can easily maneuver the sail to the new position to head on out of town. If you slow down and stop “COASTING” flipping that sail and changing your feet is going to be a lot more difficult. Chances are you are going to be subject to a $10,000 fine...

The time is now to start thinking about speed into your turns. Hopefully the little story above gives you a better understanding of our goals. Obviously the flatter and smoother the water, the easier it is going to be. The windier and choppier the water, the more you have to bend your knees and be ready for a bumpy road.  Speed is still your friend in all cases, in fact it is more key the windier it gets.

I am going to break the jibe down into 3 sections; the entry, the transition and the exit. I like to keep it simple and focus on each of these areas one at a time. It is a lot easier for me to show you in person, but hopefully this will help some of you that are not able to come visit me in Maui or one of my Clinics. Break out your notepads because over the next weeks, you are going to learn some great tricks to help you get turned around!

Three-Time World Champion, Matt Pritchard is sponsored by Gaastra Sails, Tabou Boards, Da Kine, Kaenon Polarized and Camaro Wetsuits. Matt Does Private Lessons on Maui as well as several clinics throughout the year in different locations. If you are thinking of coming to Maui and need help planning your trip, contact Matt by email:

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