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How to do a duck gybe in windsurfing

By Edited Aug 16, 2015 0 0

A windsurfing duck gybe is a similar manoeuvre to a carve gybe but instead of fipping the sail, you duck under it, hence the name. Make no mistake, the duck gybe is a tough one to learn and you need to be fully proficient at carve gybing before you even attempt it!

Assuming you have mastered the carve gybe and you are ready to move up to the ranks of the super cool, then the following pointers will set you on your way.

  1. The initial steps are basically the same as for a carve gybe.

  2. Footsteer the board onto a broad reach and make sure the way is clear behind you so that you don't cut straight across someone else's path. Unhook from your harness.

  3. Move your back foot onto the opposite side of the board and apply pressure whilst leaning forward. Keep the rig sheeted in with your back hand.

  4. As you move through the turn, you need to release your front hand from the boom and move it to the back of the boom. This will push the mast forward. Next let go with your old back hand (obviously don't let go until you have re-gripped the boom with the other hand or it's bye-bye rig!)

  5. Continue carving the board round and duck under the clew of the sail emerging on the new windward side. Keep your feet in the same position throughout the turn.

  6. Now with your free hand take hold of the boom and let go of the far side of the boom with your other hand so that you can now reposition both on the new side of the boom.

  7. Sheet in and power up the rig, adjust your feet to your normal sailing stance, hook into your harness and away you go!

  8. Sounds easy I know – it isn't and will take time to get right!

Tips and hints to help you to learn to duck gybe

Although it sounds fairly straight-forward in the above steps, duck gybing is a difficult technique to get right. I would recommend that you try to learn on flat water rather than the sea and with a reasonable but not over-powering strength of wind. Force 4 should be absolutely fine.

As with carve gybing, the success of this manoeuvre is largely based on maintaining speed through the turn – you must stay on the plane or you will lose momentum and stop halfway round.


I would recommend wearing a safety helmet, at least until you are fully proficient as there is plenty of opportunity to get bashed on the head by the mast or boom!

It is worth persevering with the duck gybe as it does look impressive when executed correctly and it isn't something you see many windsurfers doing.

If you would prefer to try something a bit easier than the duck gybe, how about learning how to chop hop?

As with all windsurfing techniques, there is an element of risk involved so I recommend that you always wear appropriate safety equipment including a helmet, life jacket and appropriate clothing including a wetsuit, gloves and boots. Know your limitations and don't try anything which you aren't really ready for.

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