S-Bend Kitesurfing Technique


Technique / Advanced


Without wanting to open up a tin of worms and start some huge debate here’s a look at how to learn the S-Bend. It’s a fairly controversial move in its own right, as the definition of an S-Bend will vary depending on whom you speak to. Purists will expect boots and a lot of inversion throughout the rotation which is a fair expectation as its a move borrowed from the wake world. Whilst those eager to learn will label their first unhooked front rolls with the same tag.

In essence it should be a relatively powered unhooked forward rotation, with the kite definitely below the 1 or 11 mark, and an effort should be made to hold off the rotation until after take off and the front leg has straightened. The other defining factor is the rotation itself, as it should be lead by the head and shoulders, with the knees, feet and board coming around at the end, having been practically left behind, rather than tucking the front knee up as you go into it. The more power you take into this move and the lower that you can eventually get your kite, the closer you’ll get to the real deal.

However as with many an unhooked moved you’re more likely to learn it if you take some power out, inch the kite up a tiny bit and instead concentrate on the movements involved. With less power you’ll have the confidence to edge hard and wait that split second before rotating! In the clips and video Christian is powered enough to pop, but nothing more, so it’s down to the correct technique.

Pic A

This hows Christian carving back hard onto his edge after bearing away to unhook. Like all unhooked tricks you need to go off the wind to get your hips up, weight back and ditch power in the kite before edging. And this will also drop the kite slightly back in the window and make the down wind landing far more natural. All the time keeping your kite at a comfortable angle! Give yourself enough time to complete the move by starting with the kite around 11 or 1, and then throughout the move you can concentrate on bringing the kite down, rather than sneaking it up. The other important point here is the carve. Christian is edging super hard with his weight back and low, straight front leg and bum on the water. This way he’s really putting the board in between himself and the kite, and therefore he’s got a lot to stamp against to pop. It’s a common mistake by many kiters that when they think front or forward rotation they don’t get their weight low enough going into the move and therefore don’t get the necessary pop. Going into this should be like a raley so make sure you’ve got them dialled.

The pop! - Pic B

Christian has carved the board up hard and underneath him, just as he would for a raley, and at the moment when he felt he could no longer resist he has kicked his back leg away, explosively extending it and therefore popping against the board. The result is that he rises up whilst getting pulled towards the kite. This gives him the required height to spin. Without the stamp and resulting pop you’ll just get pulled across the board and stretched out. You can see that Christian’s back leg is turning away behind him and as yet there is no clue of a forward rotation. This is one of the secrets, unlike the front loop you are not using your kick from take off to initiate the rotation. Instead you wait to get airborne. It may only be a fraction of a second, but the first few attempts, it feels way too long.

Pic C

You can see that now with the board flicked behind him, Christian is going into his rotation. For the early attempts it is worth talking yourself through it – pop, extend, go – just to make yourself wait. The beautiful thing is that if you do wait, with the board behind you, you’ll be able to generate a surprisingly fast spin. You can see that Christian’s body, legs and board are pretty much in line with the lines of his kite, so in theory it’s the same as hanging underneath a kite or a bar, just aggressively turn your head and shoulders behind you and you’ll start to spin. You’re aiming to get your head around far enough that you’ll be able to see the water and where you want to land. Final point is the arms. You can see that Christian has his arms pulled slightly in, and certainly at first this is good practice as you’ll be able to keep the bar turning with your head and shoulders rather than leaving it behind. And as a result it’ll be far more achievable to stop the kite from drifting up.

Pic D

Half way through the rotation and already getting ready to land! Where the head leads the body will follow, and this really is the case. You can see that Christian has his head fully round, and that he’s focused on his landing spot. Also note that his bar is also around and in front of him. In simple terms with the bar and your head leading you will make it around. However to guarantee a complete rotation and a soft landing Christian pushes his hands down towards the water, which will turn his shoulders and then his body will follow. If your kite has snuck up this is the time to dive it, as the forward pull will help to swing you around. Remember that as your hands are close together you’ll need to pull and push to get the kite to dive. Once again you don’t want to try and bring your legs through yet as you’ll end up in a sitting position in the air, and you’ll land where it hurts.

Pic E

The downwind landing is a result of pushing the hands down and trying to keep the bar near you. If you do that your head and shoulders are kept up, whilst gravity swings your feet and more importantly your board back underneath you. If you aim to pull the bar in towards your front him this may help, but just getting the bar in close should be enough.

Top Tips

Bang out a few raleys before trying your S-Bend, as its an add on, not a different move. This way you can find a kite position that gives you some time in the air, but also allows you to edge and pop hard. Whilst practising the raleys think about letting your legs extend behind you. Once you’ve done this a few times you’ll be ready for the first spin, and as a famous sports brand other than Animal once said – “just do it”. Going for the first late spin is more of a mental challenge than a physical one and once you’ve broken the ice you’ll be able to continue with gusto.

Think about waiting for 1 count before initiating the spin. This gives your legs time to rise and guarantees a quick rotation. So pop hard, think extend and then go!

Keep your arms slightly bent so your head is over the bar. Once your arms are straight and squashed against your ears its very hard to keep the kite steady and you won’t be able to push your hands and shoulders around for the last bit of rotation.

Following Sequence 1

Common Problems

Kite going up. Make a point of steering the kite down a little as you take off. This will reset it in a good position and make you wait that tiny bit longer before rotating.

Not completing the rotation. Firstly check that you are popping hard enough. If you know that you’re holding back a bit on the pop, change down a size and give it your all. If you are popping hard and not completing the rotation you either have your arms too straight or your kite to low. You’ll know if your kite is too low because it’ll be crashing as you do. Keep your arms in so you can push the bar down. And if you’re kite is moving down consider moving your bottom hand up so that you hold the main de-power line between you first and second fingers in a spit grip.

Landing on the crown jewels or your bum. Fair game in a wetsuit, unpleasant in boardies or a bikini! If the board is in front of you when you land you are bringing your front knee through to rotate and your feet are leading. Let the board swing behind you before you spin.


  1. Pop hard
  2. Extend legs
  3. Arms in
  4. Front shoulder down and head looking back
  5. Push bar around in front of you!

Do you enjoy reading IKSURFMAG, using our App and website? We now need your support to keep IKSURFMAG going. Support IKSURFMAG from as little as £2 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you!


This technique article was in Issue 29 of IKSURFMAG.



Kitesurfing Technique - Back Loop to Blind with Air Pass
Kitesurfing Technique - Back Loop to Blind with Air Pass
Back Loop to Blind with Air Pass

After last issue’s take on the back loop to blind we thought it only fair to continue on from where we left off. Needless to say you really should be sticking the blind landing on your back loop before moving on to this cherub. That said the air pass on this trick is heavily dependant on timing and technique, not…

Kitesurfing Technique - Back Loop to Blind with Surface Pass
Kitesurfing Technique - Back Loop to Blind with Surface Pass
Back Loop to Blind with Surface Pass

For the truly courageous amongst you our final move this issue is a real gem. Not only is a back to blind with a surface pass, see Video 1 out an absolute show of control and a beautiful move in it’s own right, it is also the final building block to a couple of world class air pass moves. Once…

Kitesurfing Technique - Back Mobe
Kitesurfing Technique - Back Mobe
Back Mobe

Seeing as its getting much warmer up this way, and holding onto the bar is now genuinely possible and even enjoyable, we thought it high time to throw a real cherub of a move at you aspiring unhooked freestylers. So here and beyond lies the A-Z of how to learn the jolly Back Mobe. Just to clarify this is not…

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

Problems? Ask Below


Subscribe it's Free!

Win a Re Solve Split Kiteboard From Kitelement this issue in our FREE subscriber prize draw.

By subscribing you will not only be first to read the mag but automatically entered into the prize draw every issue!

Draw closes on Wed 10th Apr, 2019
First name is required.

By subscribing you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy

Subscribe Another
Re Solve Split Kiteboard From Kitelement

Issue 72 Wed 6th Feb, 2019

Compact Series Surfboard from ODO Kiteboarding


Issue 71 Fri 7th Dec, 2018

A 2019 Mercury 6/4 Freezip and Vex Harness from Prolimit


Issue 70 Mon 8th Oct, 2018

CrazyFly Raptor LTD Neon Board


Issue 69 Tue 7th Aug, 2018

GoPro Hero 6 Black Action Camera


Issue 68 Tue 12th Jun, 2018

GoPro Hero 6 Black Action Camera


Issue 67 Wed 11th Apr, 2018

Mystic Majestic X Harness


Issue 66 Fri 9th Feb, 2018

6m Flysurfer Stoke


Issue 65 Tue 12th Dec, 2017

7m Cabrinha Drifter + Fireball Bar Set Up


Issue 64 Wed 18th Oct, 2017

Board You Desire From Shinn


Issue 63 Tue 8th Aug, 2017

GoPro Hero 5 Black Action Camera


Issue 62 Sat 10th Jun, 2017

CrazyFly 2017 Sculp 9m and Sick Bar


Issue 61 Mon 10th Apr, 2017

GoPro Hero 5 Black Action Camera


Issue 60 Sun 5th Feb, 2017

GoPro Hero 5 Black Action Camera


Issue 59 Mon 5th Dec, 2016

GoPro Hero 5 Black Action Camera


Issue 58 Thu 13th Oct, 2016

Fireball Set Up with an Apollo Kite from Cabrinha


Issue 57 Tue 11th Oct, 2016

Blade Trigger 10m Kite


Issue 56 Sun 12th Jun, 2016

Board and Boot Set Up from Liquid Force


Issue 55 Sat 9th Apr, 2016

Nobile NHP Split Kiteboard


Issue 54 Sat 6th Feb, 2016

Wetsuit and Harness from Manera


Issue 53 Tue 10th Feb, 2015

Ride Engine Harness!


Issue 52 Wed 7th Oct, 2015

Prize Pack from TSHOTSH

Guy, Vince

Issue 51 Thu 13th Aug, 2015

Wainman Hawaii ManiaC Kite


Issue 50 Thu 4th Jun, 2015

Liquid Force Legacy Board


Issue 49 Fri 10th Apr, 2015

Slingshot Vision Board


Issue 48 Fri 30th Jan, 2015

Blade Mist Kite and Bar


Issue 47 Mon 8th Dec, 2014

2015 Core GTS3 8m Kite and Bar


Issue 46 Wed 8th Oct, 2014

Ozone Reo Wave Kite


Issue 45 Mon 4th Aug, 2014

Brunotti Board and a Pair of Sunglasses


Issue 44 Mon 9th Jun, 2014

Dakine Harness and Travel Bag


Issue 43 Wed 2nd Apr, 2014

Manera EXO Harness and Goodies!


Issue 42 Thu 30th Jan, 2014

North Gonzales Kite Board!


Issue 41 Mon 2nd Dec, 2013

Best Spark Plug Kite Board


Issue 40 Wed 9th Oct, 2013

Kiteloose Fatty Surfboard


Issue 39 Fri 2nd Aug, 2013

GoPro HD Hero 3 Silver Edition


Issue 38 Sun 2nd Jun, 2013

CrazyFly Sculp 9m Kite and Sick Bar System


Issue 37 Mon 1st Apr, 2013

Kitesurf Holiday Experience with Kirsty Jones


Issue 36 Sat 2nd Feb, 2013

2013 F-One Bandit 6 9m Kite


Issue 35 Mon 3rd Dec, 2012

Soul Drysuit by Ocean Rodeo


Issue 34 Mon 1st Oct, 2012

2013 Mystic Wetsuit and Harness


Issue 33 Sun 5th Aug, 2012

Wainman Joke Kitesurfing Board


  1. The Promotion is organised by IKSURFMAG and the participating brand stated on the subscribe page. You are providing your information to IKSURFMAG, not the participating brand. The information you provide will only be used for the purpose of facilitating the Promotion and notifying you when new issues of our totally free magazine are released. We will never sell or supply your details to any 3rd parties.
  2. You can opt out of any future emails by clicking the unsubscribe link within the footer of the email at any time.
  3. The winner will be notified by email shortly after the closing date shown. Previous winners will not be eligible to win again until at least three new Promotions have run.
  4. Winners must reply to our email within two weeks or a new winner will be drawn. Please check all spam folders to avoid loosing out.
  5. Participants only need to enter once in order to be eligible for all future prize draws.

Share - S-Bend