the twist - Guy Cribb

the twist - Guy Cribb
Cribby Twist
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Last month we were introduced to Boomshaka! The first of Guy’s
Core Skills, imperative every time you flip a rig.This month we learn
about The Twist, another of Guy’s Core Skills, necessary every time
you step from one side of the board to the other, in tacking, gybing
or freestyling!
Memory coaching is so successful, is because no matter how bad your habits,
it will correct them. (Guy Cribb INtuition Muscle Memory is the repetition of
movements until they become as INtuitive as walking, so you don’t have to
think, you just do.)
In line with Guy’s other Core Skills, The Twist is vital for all windsurfers,
whether beginner or expert. Many of you reading this will already do the
twist, even if you don’t know it. In fact I regularly meet pro-sailors and
instructors who still don’t know they do the Twist, even though they do it!
Follow the sequences throughout this feature to feel what the Twist is. For
best results, crack open a beer, take your board out of the garage, whip the fin
off and stand on it in the straps in your garden, (or living room if the wife’s
out). By repeating the Twist a sufficient number of times, you’ll develop Muscle
Memory and the Twist will become INtuitive during your gybes.
If you’re carve gybing successfully, you already do the Twist. If you can tack a
short board, you might already be doing it. If you want to develop your
freestyle, the Twist is probably the best tip you’ll ever have. Coaching even
high level racers and freestylers, this tip has improved their performance,
taking the element of chance away from their tacking or gybing success rate.
To see if the Muscle Memory is working, try the footwork whilst repeating
your phone number backwards. Not so easy eh? Half way round your gybe
with the spray flying passed, the only thing you’ll be able to think about is
“H-o-l-y f-e-c-k!!” So, make sure you’ve got the Muscle Memory sorted
If you can strap-to-strap gybe but can’t suss out the step gybe, the Twist is
the move that makes the difference.
Once you have it sussed in the garden, try it afloat in light winds (slow
motion) on a big floaty board and a small sail. Having mastered it there too,
the real full speed version should come naturally.
I teach beginners the Twist on day one. As it’s one of my Core Skills, they’ll
find it vital throughout their windsurfing. So many teaching establishments still
teach beginners bad habits which restricts their progression. For instance, the
standard RYA method of tacking and gybing teaches beginners to use totally
the wrong hand and footwork required to tack or gybe a short board at
speed. As these beginners progress, they’re expected to un-learn their bad
habits, and relearn the correct skills! One of the reasons why my Muscle
This month’s feature is split into three main sections; The Twist, Spinning
Around (to help you Twist) and Freestylin’ Rig 360 (a fun light wind freestyle
trick to practice the Twist.)
Scan through all of them and see how we’ve included heaps of onshore shots
to help you develop your Muscle Memory.
The Twist
The Twist enables you to step from one side of the board to the other
using the minimum number of footsteps and keeps your weight over the
centre line to prevent the board from tipping over. No other footwork
achieves this.
The Twist is merely a transitionary stage to get from one side of the
board to the other, so never hang around in this twisted pose for more
than a split second.
As if carve gybing wasn’t tricky enough, it’s imperative you momentarily stand like this (the Twist)
half way round the corner!
Do the Twist to keep your weight over the centre line
during the tack.
July 87
Cribby Twist
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Not doing the Twist is the second biggest cause of failure in carve gybes,
accounting for about 40% of peoples’ mistakes. Learning how to Twist using my
Muscle Memory can cure this problem in about an half an hour.
Direction in which the board will
1&2: At planing speeds the board turns by banking it
over, just like a skateboard (bank right to turn right.)
To carve gybe, one of the most basic ingredients is to
keep the board banking to keep it turning.
3: By doing the Twist correctly my weight is applied to
the right hand side of the board and therefore keeps it
turning right.
4: If at any stage my weight moved to the left hand
side, the board would start swerving left and I’d end
up swimming.
5: Half a Twist is not sufficient!
Having done the twist make sure your weight stays on the heel of your twisted foot (and not on its
toes) otherwise can you guess what might happen?
You see, gybing’s not so complicated after all! Don’t believe the hype!
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Cribby Twist
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Whether you’re doing a flare gybe in light winds, or a carve gybe (strap-to-strap or
step) in high winds, the footwork is virtually identical.
The only real difference is when you’re not planing (i.e: flare gybing - bottom
sequence) keep the board flat by staying over the centre-line. Whereas when you’re
planing, keep the board banked by staying to one side of the centre-line.
The difference in footwork between a step and strap-to-strap gybe is simply either
‘stepping’ forwards or slipping straight into the new front ‘strap’.
Even the timing of the foot change is virtually the same for all gybes.
When to Twist:
In the step gybe, people talk of the rig ‘going light’; do the
Twist then. Or as the nose of the board points straight
Although wearing a wetsuit boot or having the straps
too tight might restrict your Twist, they won’t prevent
it. The only thing that prevents the Twist is when
there’s too much power pulling from the rig,
jamming your front foot into the strap. Reduce
the power by improving your entry to the turn
(more tips on that in future issues, but a
couple right now; put your back hand down
the boom as far as you can reach before
turning, and use more downhaul and
outhaul to give you better control.)
Bear in mind, people generally Twist
too late than Twist too early in
their gybes.
to Strap
90 windsurf
Cribby Twist
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Strap to Strap Gybe
July 91
Cribby Twist
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As you step around the front during a tack,
invariably the board grinds to a halt and
becomes extremely unstable. Therefore it’s
critical you keep your weight over the
centre-line. The best way to achieve this is to
do the Twist.
Above left & left: As the board carves around into
the wind, to prepare for the Twist, wrap your front
foot around the mastfoot until your foot is literally
pointing in reverse.
Above, Above right, and right: Just before the
board comes off the plane, or as the nose points
straight into the wind, (whichever happens sooner)
make your move around the front, concentrating
on doing the Twist AND keeping your feet
together right by the mastfoot. If at this stage you
stand too far forwards on the board it will nose
The most common mistake during a tack is not
staying on the centre-line. There’s a few others like
raking the rig back too far (especially big or heavy
rigs) or hesitating during the Twist. But if you don’t
stay on the centre-line, your board tips over and
you fall off. Simple as that. If you’ve been through
the RYA syllabus, you probably can’t tack a short
board because you’ve got one foot on either side
of the centre-line, so when you go to step back,
your weight is left on one side of the board; it tips
over, you get wet.
92 windsurf
To understand the right and wrong of tacking, you
really have to stand on a straight line now. It could
be a stripe in your carpet, the centre-line of your
board or a pair of stockings stretched out. Pretend
it’s the centre-line of your board and point your
front foot forwards with your back foot sideways
over the line, just like in this ‘wrong’ picture.
Right way:
Now point your front foot into reverse so that
your toes are pointing inwards (wrapping it around
the mastfoot) as in the ‘correct’ photos above.
Do the Twist onto the centre line. Easy enough
Cribby Twist
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Below: Don’t hang around! Remember the Twist is
just a transitionary stage to move from one side of
the board to the other, so get on with it.
Below: Step right back making sure you land on the
centre-line. If you find you’re nearly making your
tacks, but are falling off backwards when you reach
your new side, usually it’s because your back foot has
landed on the rail and tipped the board over, instead
of on the centre line to keep it flat.
Below:To complete the tack, twist your front foot and
body to face upwind/forwards again.
This foot sequence is the shortest number of
footsteps to go from one side of the board to the
other, short of jumping around. The reason why I
don’t recommend ‘jumping around’ is because there’s
room for error, and as you jump, your weight goes to
your toes and upsets the balance of the board.
There’s much more I’d say about the tack if this was
a feature on ‘how to tack’. What I suggest is you
practice this footwork on your board at home (being
careful not to spill any beer on the carpet), then open
up last month’s Windsurf mag with my feature on
Boomshaka! Have a recap and a refill, then turn
overleaf and read Spinning Around.
Wrong way:
Point your front foot forwards (instead of
wrapping it around the mastfoot) as I have done
for the ‘wrong’ picture here.
Do the twist and watch your weight go off the
centreline and tip the board over, as in the second
‘wrong’ photo.Your body cannot twist that far
without dislocating at the hip, or spinning on your
foot, neither of which I can recommend.
So, the biggest mistake you’re likely to make
tacking, is not wrapping your front foot far
enough around the mastfoot going into the turn.
For info on Guy Cribb INtuition Holidays visit or call 01273 842 144
July 93
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