Pasty’s Foil Tech: Tacking and Gybing

Ketos foil kitesurfing cornwall - Pasty's Foil Tech: Tacking and Gybing

Words: Lee “Pasty” Harvey
Photos: Lee Whitehead –

You are ripping upwind and downwind, now it’s time to foil out of those tacks and gybes.

As with everything on the Foil, speed is your friend. You will also find it easier to foil out of tacks and gybes using a foil kite due to foil kites producing lift at 12 and all the way through the window.We will look at the slightly different techniques needed for both foil and tube kites.


To be able to foil out of a tack you should be pulling 95% of your roll tacks on the surfboard.A roll tack is where your body stays facing forward and you spin under the kite.

sequence 1024x259 - Pasty's Foil Tech: Tacking and Gybing

Key points

  • Ride at speed in your upwind stance and slowly start to bring the kite up while gently easing the bar out. Keep looking upwind driving the foil at full speed.
  • As the kite starts to come above you look upwind under your armpit
  • You are now pointing straight upwind with the kite at 12, bring your back foot forward , (on tube kite give the board a little pump just before you step forward) so you are over the foil and everything is in line – board pointing to wind, kite at 12, body under kite and over upright foil
  • Keep the kite moving and keep the board carving while sheeting in
  • On tube kite sheet in as hard as possible and dive the kite down and up in big power stroke or in light winds or big kite sometimes it helps to downloop. (on foil kite – just sheet out and you will be powered)
  • Move back into upwind stance

Practise lots as it takes perfect timing to foil away without touching down.

Fault correction

  • If you are falling off mid tack then something is out of line. Either moving the kite too fast or carving the foil too hard. Slow the manoeuvre down it should be slow and graceful.
  • If you are touching down at the end then the kite has stopped moving. Sheet in a little bit more and keep the kite flying. On tube kites be super aggressive with the power stroke. On foil kites make sure you don’t oversheet and choke the kite.


The key to foiling out of gybes is to keep plenty of speed on the foil. The more speed you have going in the more time you have to get the kite back into the power zone.It may feel scary to think about swapping feet while going full speed but it’s the only way to stay flying!

gybe sequence 1024x241 - Pasty's Foil Tech: Tacking and Gybing

Key points

  • Ripping downwind at speed, gently start to bring the kite up easing the bar out and bring the back foot forward a little so it’s just infront of back strap.
  • As the kites comes towards 11 or 1 gently head the board upwind a little (this stops you riding under the kite), sheet in on bar and swap your feet so you are now toeside.
  • Pull hard on your front hand so that you downloop the kite.
  • As the kite starts to move, bring your head around and carve hard on your heals.
  • Keep pulling on the kite sheeted in on tube (sheet out on foil) kite.
  • Bring the kite back down into the power and back into your downwind stance
    Remember speed is the key. The foiling gybe is a fluid manoeuvre with all stages flowing together. If one stage takes too long then you will drop off the foil.

Fault correction

  • If you are getting pulled off sideways you are either looking down, not bringing the kite up or heading upwind too much before swapping feet.
  • If the kite gets left behind when you are looping it you are not carving the board hard enough or not pulling hard enough on the bar.

Thanks to my sponsors:
Ketos Foils, North Kiteboarding, ION, Peter Lynn Race Team

Pasty offers coaching and tours in West Cornwall, UK. For more head to

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