One Foot Dark Slide Kitesurfing Technique

One Foot Dark Slide

Technique / Advanced


It's an absolute pleasure to welcome Heliarde back onto the technique pages of IKSURFMAG. We've had so much fun filming and working with him this past month, so here he is showing us how it's done, this time with the somewhat precarious looking one-footed Dark Slide, finished off with a back roll and late kiteloop, Muito show!

This one is definitely for you if you're a Dark Slide freak, adding yet more punch to the classiest of moves. One hundred per cent proof, guaranteed to make your heart race for a moment and intoxicating to all those watching. Dare we suggest that before indulging in this, you should already have the grabbed dark slide down! As such, we won't be going through a "how to dark slide", how to proceed with getting your foot out and surviving both the back roll and the landing.

Shall we proceed with the core ingredients for this cheeky cocktail...

Dark Slide Grab Pic A.

This is the fundamental of the move, and as such you really should have this firmly in the bag. With a decent and long-held grab, you will be accustomed to the inevitable back roll and a hopefully late kite loop to finish things off. To make this as smooth as possible, you'll want plenty of speed which will give you support. Approach on a good edge and try and get into your slide early, before the kite reaches 12 o'clock. If you keep yourself small as you fall, you maintain the maximum amount of tension in the lines and as such give yourself more time to do what you have to do. You can see that Heliarde has come in fast, he's falling behind his board, keeping small and keeping his head and shoulders up. He's let the bar out to make sure that he doesn't get yanked forwards by the kite as he doesn't want to become too extended. As soon as he falls into the slide, he's already grabbing the front of the board.

Foot Out Pic B.

As soon as you're into the slide, it's all or nothing. You need to get your front foot out asap. To make this a reality, don't extend your back leg, as the straighter it is, the closer the nose of the board will be to you and the harder it will be to free your front foot as the board pins it to the water. Hold the board away from you with a straight arm and pull your foot out of the strap by bending your leg and moving your foot towards your bum! Here Heliarde has his arm straight, head and shoulders are still up, and his back leg is bent. He's also feathering the kite on the sweet spot. Try not to hang off the bar; otherwise, the kite will move back too quickly, and you won't have time.

Prove It Pic C.

Seeing as you are attempting to make a showy move even showier, you do need to make a point of your foot being out so that all and sundry can witness your elasticity, skill and coordination. While still sliding and not moving the kite too quickly, you need to pull your knee and foot under your arm and then extend it out in front of you. As you roll down with your rear shoulder towards the water, it's the perfect opportunity to stick your leg up in the air for the ultimate tweak as Heliarde so brilliantly and bravely demonstrates here. By doing this, you will have inadvertently initiated your back roll — time to enjoy the ride.

Lift Off Pic D.

As soon as you start to rotate, it's a good plan to get some distance between yourself and the water so that you have space and time to complete your rotation. With the kite drifting back but still high in the window you can pull in on the bar to help you up and off the water. In the pic Heliarde's kite is high, and he's pulled the bar aggressively in towards him to get the required lift. At the same time, he lifts his head and shoulders so that the board will swing underneath him. Whether you keep your foot high is a personal style choice at this stage of the game!

Loop Time Pic E.

Now that you're up, it's time to help yourself around the rotation with a cheeky kite loop. However, first off you need to get yourself small and compact, bringing everything together so that you can keep your balance as the kite pulls, and therefore follow it around for a smooth landing. You can see that Heliarde has brought both knees up to keep the board close and he's finally decided to stop tweaking his leg:) As he steers the kite into the late loop, he looks where he wants to go and anticipates the pull while bringing his front foot back over the board. If you can, this is the moment to get your foot back in the strap, but it's not essential, nor is it easy. Geronimo.

Keep It Together Pic F.

If your kite is looping late and at the edge of the window there will hopefully not be too much pull, and what power there is, should only last a split second. To increase your chances of sticking this, you need to keep yourself small, knees up and board close and hold the grab until you touch down. Heliarde holds the board up against his front foot, which he jams up against the front pad so that he doesn't slip on landing. This may seem foolish but releasing the board with only one foot strapped in is not really an option. This way, even if you don't stomp the landing, everything stays where it should be. Note how Heliarde is concentrating on where he'll land as he wants to hold on until then.

As If by Magic Pic G.

As the kite goes up, it will hopefully place you down fairly gently, in which case you can release your grab and land smoothly on the board. With your front foot jammed against the front pad, you have something to resist the forwards pull, and you won't slip.

Top Tips

We say this for pretty much every combination move. Before going for the one-foot hammer out a dozen or so grabbed dark slides with the rotation and loop. This way, you'll dial in the conditions and the timing of your loop to keep the power to a minimum. This is the key to this move, as the last thing you want is to be fired out of a cannon as you come around one footed.

Then once you have the above dialled, try getting the foot out while sliding, but bail the rotation and kite loop. There's no shame in learning step by step, and it'll give you time to practice getting the foot out and into a show-off position with no consequence.

To make it simpler to slide your foot out, you can loosen your front foot in the strap as you approach, wiggle it back a bit.

Now enjoy the sequence and videos to see how it's done in full flow.

Common Problems

Not getting your foot out. If you pop into the slide or keep the bar in, you'll get extended, and it'll be much harder to get the foot out. Stay small and fall with the bar out, then sheet in.

If you can't get lift as you rotate. The chances are that the kite drifted too far while you were sliding. Try starting earlier and centre your backhand on the bar with your fingers straddling the centre line.

If the kite is looping to powerfully and slowly, make sure you don't loop too early and when you do loop, use your wrist to steer the bar, rather than just pulling the bar in and choking the kite.


  1. Approach with speed, fall small with the bar out
  2. Grab and pull foot back and out
  3. Foot forward and shoulder down
  4. Rotate and pull the bar in for lift, head up, board down
  5. Loop with wrist and hold grab

This technique article was in Issue 78 of IKSURFMAG.


By Christian and Karine
Christian and Karine have been working together as a coaching team, running improver to advanced kitesurfing clinics since 2003.

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