High speed foil gybes are all about speed. It’s a pretty amazing feeling to stay near 25kts through an entire maneuver.
Heading into a tack make sure there’s nobody over your shoulder. Start by drifting the kite up in the window. Timing depends on kite size and power – bigger kites need more time to climb, and if you’re lit on any kite size you need to give it a ton of time to get to the top of the window. Remember, the kite is seeing close to 40 kts of apparent wind in 20kts of breeze!
With a little front hand bar pressure, keep the kite pointing in the direction you’re moving. You’re going faster than the wind so you can keep the kite powered even if it’s directly overhead pointing downwind. Flatten the board out, then pull your back foot and shove it in the new front footstrap. The kite supports most of your weight so you can get this footwork done as the board glides along underneath you. If the board tries to jump out of the water, sheet out to put more weight on it. If you touch down you need to pull in and keep more weight on the kite.
Plant your new back foot in front of the back footstrap and carve through the turn. If the lines go slack, turn harder.
Step 4 & 5
Now you’re really ready to loop the kite and take off downwind. On a good gybe I’ll step into the back strap as the kite loops. If it’s gnarly out I often wait until after for survival reasons.
A note to remember from Johnny Heineken
“All foils are different. Some are really stable in roll, and others fall sideways if you don’t pay attention. There are pros and cons to tacking both. On my Sword I have to point my toes going into a tack to start to roll the board over to the new tack or I come out with the board healed downwind and fall over it onto my face. My Spotz has quicker roll response which means I don’t have to point my toes to convince it to roll to the new side, but have to pay more attention during the maneuver or it’ll fall sideways.”