Guy Cribb INtuition Clinics – what the non-experts say.
I’ve been lucky – first sat on a pony at 2, first lesson at 4 and first pony at 6: Topo. My first piece of “sporting equipment.” He taught me well: look after your equipment or it bites, bucks, sits down, and/or kicks you hard. At 6 I learnt quickly that learning the hard way was not for me. I also learnt that learning required passion. Passion got you through the hard knocks; passion put the different mile stones into perspective; passion kept you humble; passion helped you put in the hard-yards; passion wiped the tears away.
Time and Tide wait for no one …
Learning takes time – at 6 me and Topo seemed to have endless amounts of it. I’m not 6 any more and time is precious; I don’t bounce as well as I did when I was 6 either – so I don’t want to learn the hard way; windsurfing equipment is neither made nor designed for 5 foot 2 (yes those inches count!) feather weights and it’s not cheap; I still feel more confident buying horses, than windsurfing gear, and while I have some very dear friends who windsurf and offer very good advice their needs, ambitions, and requirements are very different from mine. There’s a lot of information out there, to-be-honest most of it bores me-to-tears. Oh, and one other thing, me and Topo had one thing in common – we got bored easily! Getting bored and windsurfing are not a good combo. E.g. the first year I started windsurfing a number of people said: “Don’t worry about turning around, it can take 10 years to learn to gybe!”
I’ve been windsurfing for 6 years now – mostly on that beautiful, unruly, chaotic piece of water called Port Phillip (reminds me of my Welsh mountain pony!) And yes I can gybe, about 95% of the time, trying to get planning gybes now. Hurtling down the southerly swell off Dendy St. as fast as I can is my favourite form of amusement. I haven’t quite mastered exiting the swell at the right time – but it’s fun trying.
Sailing as fast as I can in a straight line is fine and I actually worked hard on that so I could go into gybes more quickly. High point of gybing to-date was bearing away in 35 knot Southerly on 3+m swell and nailing it before Christmas. Bearing away is the scary bit but getting used to the speed helps a lot. The week before that I bobbed around in 40-50 knots as a southerly change come through: I was too terrified to bear away, but I went out. 35 knots seemed like a gentle breeze after that.
Going to stick my neck out and say that I’ve just about nailed tacking, too – and all on boards no bigger than 80L. Bit of fine tuning required but it’s there, so are small jumps which are up to me to get bigger. I’m going to add to my list of windsurfing can-do’s – practicing to initiate a forward loop – which is actually fun! And sailing backward and heli- tacks are definitely things worth playing with, because I’ll get bored if I don’t have something to play with. Wave sailing – hmm, waves are like my Welsh mountain pony – highly unpredictable, minds of their own, and a big unknown – but a lot of fun and well worth persevering with. I use the word playing because my efforts in them hardly constitute “wave sailing.”
I’ve still got 4 more years before I get to 10 years of windsurfing and by then: forward loops will be soooo yesterday; I’ll be doing A380 tacks not heli – tacks (I haven’t invented that tack yet but I’m sure I can); I’ll be riding waves like I eventually rode Topo – with great success, and Scott McKercher will look on enviously at my Wave 360’s! I’ll be happily mixing different sail/mast/board brands regardless of what the “experts” say, because I’ll know what looks and feels right for me – not a 6 ft + muscle bound male who looks like he could be a stand in for Hercules should the Gods ever require one.
To make something I love to do easier is the best incentive I can think of for:
learning any thing;
developing my confidence;
wanting to try different things;
pushing my limits safely;
maximising the time I have available to spend on the water;
getting the most out of my equipment, including $: effectiveness for me;
minimising breakages – either to me or my equipment; and
continually increasing my enthusiasm, passion and curiousity for lets-face-it, a unique and challenging sport!
The flow on from the above is that the more confident I feel windsurfing the more places I look forward to sailing at, the more people I meet, and the more adventures I have, and everyone – at-any-age – deserves adventures: they are food for the soul.
And what does all of the above have to do with Guy Cribb’s INtuition Clinics? A lot. I couldn’t have done any of the above without them. At a guess I would have lasted two years windsurfing then got so bored and frustrated with it I would have given it away.
I did my first INtuition Clinic in 2008, about 18 months after I first started windsurfing. It was make or break time: I was hooked, but frustrated with the sport. I watched Guy’s gybing DVD and decided to go to Morocco – not ideal and a tad ambitious, but so was riding Topo at 6! I’ve done a lot of clinics since. And yes they often reduce me to tears, but that’s life traveling with 10 men! I’ve made a lot of mistakes, sailed in conditions I would never have normally gone out in, but apart from my pride/ego I’ve never broken more than my little toe. Without doubt my windsurfing has improved, as has my confidence with all aspects of the sport – on and off the water. Most importantly of all, INtution Clinics have allowed my passion for the sport to grow. And in-the-end a passion for learning is the greatest gift any one can give you. It’s timeless and priceless – which is more than can be said for windsurfing gear 😉
So our Club President Doug Hocken posts on Facebook – if Guy Cribb was to come to Inverloch to run a coaching clinic, would you want to go ? I’m thinking to myself – sure, but am I ready? Is my skillset up to the standard that I am going to get any benefit by being taught by a top international coach? After about 5 minutes pondering (and lamenting) over my successes and failures of a sum total of an entire 12 months of my windsurfing career, I decide – I couldn’t afford not to be a part of INTuition !!
What initially appealed to me about this course, was the opportunity of not only 4 continuous and glorious days of windsurfing (beats 1-2 days every couple of weeks), but the very fact that Guy would be giving us direction on our kit, our rigs and on our very own waters.
I think I’ve lost count of the amount of times that I watched the Guy Cribb Gybing and Core Skills DVD leading up to the course, (fortunately some very thoughtful friends bought me the DVD for Christmas). In preparation for the course, I managed to get two days of flat water practice on gybes, firstly very light wind / SUP conditions where I was able to wobble around a 10’ SUP, along with one day of reasonable wind, where I was able to get the beginnings of step entries into a gybe on a shortboard – albeit with limited success – still this was good progress after just watching the DVD.
But what did I genuinely expect to learn and achieve over the 4 days of the clinic? I had reasonable expectations of perhaps being able to get about ½ way round my gybes, probably followed by another several months until I could actually complete a shortboard gybe, let alone dreaming of a carve gybe. So you can imagine my surprise when by Day 4 of the clinic, I’m belting down the main channel of the Inlet along with 15 or so other sailors, all aiming to be the first to gybe around the Port marker. I couldn’t believe that I managed to get 3 out of 4 of my gybes, whilst we were pushing ourselves in the slalom race format, even managed one with a planing carve entry!
Teaching is a tough gig, but Guy Cribb manages to pull it off effortlessly. The man is an absolutewealth of knowledge and takes every opportunity to give a lesson, and tailors it for varying experience levels within the group. On each of the mornings we start off by watching the previous days video review. Usually a chance to ooh and aah at the guys and girls lucky enough to be able to complete their moves – and laugh at the rest of us providing the comic relief falling in. One particular morning though we are showing Guy the Sandy Point Speed Sailing video. Guy is commenting on how impressive the location is and how well made the documentary is. After a few minutes of watching, Guy then pauses the video and provides an impromptu lesson on stance during speed sailing!
Due to a few light wind days, (in hindsight quite a blessing as it allowed us to really hone and rehearse our moves ), our days were filled with on beach theory and practice, learning the ‘secret’ moves like some ancient martial art… amazingly no one was hurt as we ‘Sideswipe’ and ‘Twist’ our way to smooth transitions whilst we ‘Drop our guts’ and act like ‘Growlers’. The benefit of countless monotonous automation is apparent, as soon as we begin step two of Guys ‘3some’ – with the ‘on water’ light wind work. There are shrieks of joy (and some of pain if you ask Vitalli!!) as we come to grips with the subtle differences of light wind manoeuvres, but ultimately it sets us up very well for the building winds we were to encounter over the following days. If we had been blessed by Huey with 15-20kn’s every day, I know personally I wouldn’t have been as successful at getting the basics of each of the moves locked in.
Guy noticed that we were also a keen bunch and learning at a great rate of knots (pun intended), that weren’t happy with just basic tacks – oh no… within minutes Guy is giving us a demonstration and instruction in Heli-Tacks. Who knew our clinic was to become a breeding ground for budding freestylers !
The waters of Anderson Inlet are world class, there’s no denying that. But to hear Guy Cribb exclaim “these waters are better for flat water blasting and for teaching, than Prasonisi and Dahab”, was a great validation of why I choose to windsurf at Inverloch.
Can’t wait for next year’s clinic!
Well, what a great four days it was, although I could only go for three – don’t you just hate going back to school! The Guy Cribb windsurfing clinic made windsurfing so much easier and lots of fun. He taught in a smart, interesting and fun way, which meant we never got bored whether we were on the beach or on the water.
While there wasn’t much wind on the first day, we learnt so much on the beach like rigging properly, footwork for tacking, the boomshaka and rig flip, getting into the foot straps easily and early planing. In fact we were taught so much I can hardly remember it all. Although there was one thing I do remember – “@rse”, butt Guy couldn’t talk me into saying that.
Friday of course was spent at school, first day of year seven – I’d rather have been windsurfing, bummer. Friday night was dinner at the pub where I had lots of fun with the other kids Joel, Josh and Darren.
Saturday morning, we were back on the beach and in the water. We spent time learning how to gybe, which was pretty challenging along with the heli-tacks. I tried a few, whether they were successful or not I will not speak of. We got on the water for some light wind stuff along with some tacks and heli-tacks.
Sunday was the day we had been waiting for, south westerly winds picking up throughout the day so we set out to the middle channel where we then got planing, although it was a struggle getting there it was all worth it. We did some work on water starts, and then got serious, it’s race time. We all got started on the same sand bar and then set off all at once down the channel around the buoy and back I think Darren won the first one but I didn’t see the second cause I fell and injured myself. And then a front hit us like a ton of bricks so I went in but the most experienced stay out for the ride of their life.
And that was Sunday for me as I was to leave early for school the next day. I had a heap of fun and improved a heap it was a magnificent 4 four days of windsurfing. A big thanks to Guy and I hope he comes back next year!
By Harry Smith