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Jibing: Front Foot Magic
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fxop



Joined: 13 Jun 1998
Posts: 65

PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 12:07 pm    Post subject: Jibing: Front Foot Magic Reply with quote

Been jibing mostly dry for 20 years, but had a chance to take a wave sailing lesson from Matt Pritchard in Maui last winter and got lots of feedback. 

One thing we worked on was front foot pressure.

Then I noticed that both Matt and Wyatt emphasize front foot a lot in their jibe tips.   This emphasis seems new to me, maybe I missed a memo back in 1993? I formerly thought "commitment" meant getting all weight onto the back foot. 

Anyway all summer during flat water I've been grinding on the front foot and what a difference.  My goal has been as Wyatt says to try to rip the front strap off the board by lifting my heel up and bracing the top of my foot against the strap.   I had been cheating before -- sometimes getting the heel up sometimes not. 

Now as I start the downwind turn the board feels much more slippery. It accelerates  instantly and the apparent wind drops much more quickly. This leads to an earlier switch / flip and more speed out which is the key to the planing jibe. 

It feels like magic.  Now I feel like I'm jibing on two feet on a stable platform, not hurtling through big chop on one foot.  My OP jibing is improved because I'm accelerating much more smoothly. I can start the jibe from a nice stable beam reach instead of flying downwind on a broad reach first which I always hated in heavy conditions.  The new challenge is catching up with how quickly things are happening which is a good problem to have.   I still have to remember to do it -- it's hard to put things into muscle memory at this point. 

Anyway if you are not a nerd skip the rest of this post. 

So all summer I've been wondering why it works so well. I don't need to lift the windward rail on my 85 L board. Yes, it gets your weight fwd with ankle flex but we all know if you overdo the "weight forward" thing even slightly in OP conditions you will bury the rail and the board will slow down and the body will not.  Does this move with the front heel just accidentally find the sweet spot between weight too far back and too far fwd?

So here's a theory:  bracing the front foot makes the board a more rigid shape that feels lower resistance from the water.  If all my weight is on the back foot then every change in water contour changes the attitude of the board as it carves. The water "sees" a rubbery, wobbly shape trying to carve through it and the water knows to resist. 

But with both the top and the bottom of the board braced the board is now a rigid, clean shape that slices through the chop effortlessly.  I am in control of board attitude, not the water. 

Would be interested in any other observations about how it feels or why it works.   
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 13858

PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 12:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Jibing: Front Foot Magic Reply with quote

fxop wrote:
I can start the jibe from a nice stable beam reach instead of flying downwind on a broad reach first which I always hated in heavy conditions.  The new challenge is catching up with how quickly things are happening which is a good problem to have.   I still have to remember to do it -- it's hard to put things into muscle memory at this point.  

Would be interested in any other observations about how it feels or why it works.   

I don't know or care about the latter question, but AMEN to the former statement. I get the same sensation from thinking "hip thrust" rather than "ankle lift", but the ankle lift does reinforce the forward segment of the hip thrust. However we achieve it, a fast, tight, carve initiated full tilt from the incoming beam reach beats the hell out of adding the control and timing challenges of full speed broad reaches, rough water, and jibing sail, board, and rider all at the same time. I can't even imagine how great sailors add spatial awareness and freestyle tricks to that multitude of challenges.
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Sailboarder



Joined: 10 Apr 2011
Posts: 395

PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am now learning how to carve jibe and trying to get a repeatable carve initiation. I do it on a Kona One with long and thick rails. I figured last week that the only way I can do it repeatably is by pulling up on the front strap while pressing on the leeward rail with the back foot. Pulling up for me is forcing the knee up and in the turn. Instead of raising my toes to pull, I let the heel go up and I then feel on the ball of my foot since the arch is pulling on the strap.

It gives me the same feeling: I am in charge, and turn how I decide, instead of having the chop and the board deciding by themselves.

My goal is to perform my first planned gybe. Instead of doing a wide arc and slowing down waiting for a problem to happen for a full 4 seconds, I aim for a quicker turn as suggested by iso elsewhere. I hope I will loose less speed that way.
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scargo



Joined: 19 May 2007
Posts: 252

PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the "bracing the board" theory, and I think that's definitely part of it. But it's also about rail pressure.

An interesting thought expirement is this: imagine that your feet are in exactly the same position heading into the jibe but you don't have footstraps. If you had most of the weight on your back foot, and your rear heel on or close to the center line, you could carve with rear toe pressure. But if you tried to weight your front foot (again, with no straps), you couldn't carve the board because it would want to head up. Therefore, I think one could argue that exerting upward pressure on the front strap is necessary to counteract what would otherwise be windward pressure on the rail due to increased weight on the front foot.

Also, I think the Wyatt/Matt advice is one of those tips that mentally makes a difference. There's a relatable, repeatable, and tactile sensation to lifting the front heel, and that tends to put the rest of the body in the right position.
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spennie



Joined: 13 Oct 1995
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Location: Thousand Oaks, CA

PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well guys, don't really want to flog this dead horse again, but if you took your front foot out of the strap and put it right behind the mast step, then stepped on it, you'd get even better results. Probably not a good idea while wavesailing, however.
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scargo



Joined: 19 May 2007
Posts: 252

PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love the Spennie, and I use it from time to time. To me the huge benefit is that it instantly forces you to surf instead of sail, and that has lots of benefits, including putting you in the right posture (your a can't be sticking out that way), making your eyes scan the surface ahead, etc.
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VinceSF



Joined: 05 Apr 2005
Posts: 186
Location: Marin County, CA

PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

another way to say it is by thinking in terms of weight forward. If you put, or force, your weight forward into the turn your back foot is all but forgotten and you keep the board flat and speed constant. your weight inward is really what makes the board turn and stay into the turn. You don't need to be gentle to control the board with your back foot anymore, the body weight is what will make you turn.
If you've laid the rig down you can flip it early, recover from the other side, then have plenty of time to switch feet.
in this scenario you MUST keep your front foot in the strap for better control.
(sorry spennie, your technique will never help someone who is trying full on speed jibe)

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jingebritsen



Joined: 21 Aug 2002
Posts: 2378

PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

weight too far forward wets the board too much, and stalls. too far back, one wheelies and stalls. all depends on gear and conditions. makes for much typing, and pondering. best to sail often. jibe and tack lots.
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whitevan01



Joined: 29 Jun 2007
Posts: 453

PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jingebritsen wrote:
best to sail often. jibe and tack lots.


that's the best advice. I see people going on super long "voyages" when windsurfing and, sure, they are having fun, but spending what seems to be hours on one tack. most of the people I see doing this can't jibe for beans and they only attempt a few jibes a day.

of course, to each his/her own, but I prefer to go on short runs and see how many jibes/tacks I can do in a specified amount of time.

have fun!!!
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 13858

PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2013 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

scargo wrote:
"bracing the board" theory ... I think one could argue that exerting upward pressure on the front strap is necessary to counteract what would otherwise be windward pressure on the rail due to increased weight on the front foot.

Those defy physics, but if you jibe better buying them, that counts for something.
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