Strapless Riding Kitesurfing Technique

Strapless Riding

Technique / Beginner

Introduction

We’re going to keep this one relatively brief, as it is not rocket science, or rather it doesn’t have to be, apologies Mr Bernoulli. However pretty much everyone who stands on a surfboard for the first time, having been riding twin tips makes the same basic mistakes. To understand how a board works and how this effects the way you ride it should make it possible for you to work out what’s going on when you’re out on the water. As a little bit of understanding can make a huge difference. So for once you won’t have to read through pages of info as we’ll keep it down to the bear necessities, but rather look at a couple of pictures, watch some video and read a few paragraphs. Brilliant.

Board Trim

What we’ll look at is the trimming of your board, which is a nautical way of describing weight distribution. On your board you’ll need to concentrate on the nose to tail trim (fore and aft) and also on the rail-to-rail trim (sideways).

The easiest way to think of nose to tail trim is to imagine your board as a sea saw, or even an Indo Board. If you balance the board so that it is horizontal you have it trimmed flat, if you weight the back foot heavily the nose will rise, and if you weight the front foot heavily the nose pushes down.

In simplistic terms a board trimmed flat will offer the least resistance in the water, and the efficiency will allow it to get going quicker and ride more controllably.

Equally if the board is trimmed with lots of weight at the back, it is displacing a lot of water and creating a lot of drag. Therefore it will feel sluggish, slow to get going and feel directionally unstable.

Finally if you have a lot of weight forward, the nose of the board is pushing down into the water and once again creating a lot of drag, slowing you down and making the board seem heavy.

As we said this is a very simplistic view as visually it can be difficult to see. There are many factors which effect trim, but none more so that board design. Many kite specific surfboards are designed with a large flat area under the board which enables them to get planning easily, and which is easy to find for the rider. However many surfboards are more banana shaped to get the most out of a wave, and therefore have no or a much smaller flat section to ride, and therefore can be far more challenging to ride.

As far as sideways trim is concerned, have a look under your board. You’ve got some heavy finage there compared to your twin tip. If you come from a windsurfing background it won’t look like much, but to the average kiter there’s plenty of surface area down there. These fins create a lot of lift once water is passing over them, which means that to ride your surfboard you should try and use the fins as much as possible and not try to edge like a lunatic on a twin tip. In simple terms as long as your weight is biased towards the upwind side that’s enough edge. Instead of really digging in, try pushing against the fins, by pushing down on the whole of your back foot, rather than stamping on your heels heel. This way you can drive off the fins, whilst keeping the board flattish, which means that you can use the volume/buoyancy of the board.

If you need some motivation to learn to ride your board flattish on both planes, then let us tell you that once you’ve got your weight on the board, and your driving down through your feet, you’ll find it much easier to get air, pop and enjoy the huge world of strapless riding.

How It Looks

Now that you understand the basic idea lets have a look at riding, both heel side and toe side, and see how we can trim the board.

Pic A. shows Karine in classic surfboard error mode. She is leaning back against the kite and really pushing the board between her and the kite. To do this she has adopted her twin tip stance, with her weight back over her rear foot and the heel driving onto the upwind rail to edge the board. The end result is that the board is rearing up, pushing against the water. Like this the board will feel very slow, and it will actually weave from side to side in a kind of nose wobble as it pivots on its tail. Not a great look, the kite will feel heavy too as it won’t be able to lighten up with speed.

Pic B. shows the ideal cruising stance. Karine’s front foot is in the same place on the board as in the previous picture, but she has moved her back foot up, so that her feet are just wider than shoulder width apart. This is the most comfortable way to trim the board. If you have your feet far apart in a very wide stance you get glued into one position and it is very difficult to move your hips and therefore your weight forward or back. In this position Karine can rock her hips a couple of inches towards the nose or the tail with no effort. Her back foot also straddles the centre line of the board, which stops her edging for France and encourages her to drive through the entire foot.

Once you are comfortable riding like this you can experiment with moving your feet about. Try moving the back foot up even closer, as this will help in learning to change your feet before and after turning. Also try moving your back foot closer to the tail, as you’ll need this for jumping and popping. To do this you’ll need to bend the knees more and lean your shoulders towards the nose.

Pic C. shows Karine making a hash of her toe side, which admittedly is potentially more difficult on a surfboard. On a twin tip many of us do lean heavily onto our back foot to stop the kite pulling us off down wind when we’re riding toe side. On a surfboard we’ll be punished for this. The end result is the same as it was on our heels. The board will be slow and the nose will wobble, whilst the kite will feel heavy. The difference with toe side is that you are more likely to loose all your speed and stop because you probably won’t be working the kite as efficiently.

Pic D. shows Karine in a far better toe side. The root of the difference here is her front foot. If you compare it to the last picture, her front foot here is facing across the centre line, rather than pointing forward. To achieve this Karine must stand on both feet, and push both knees upwind, in more of a boarder’s stance. Her hips are more centred between her feet and as a result her shoulders are further forward. It helps to let a bit of power out of the kite so that you can really turn away from the kite, and with the board much flatter beneath you, both lengthways and sideways, it should happily plane along with minimum effort.

Final Thoughts

Have a look at the videos to get a feel for what it looks like on the water. It really is best to practice on flat water as then you can concentrate on achieving these goals without having to fight against the elements. Trial and error is always a major part of learning and due to the many numerous designs of boards out there this is very much our guide, which you must then customise to suit your ride.

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!

Support IKSURFMAG

This technique article was in Issue 22 of IKSURFMAG.

Related

Related

Kitesurfing Technique - Air Gybe
Kitesurfing Technique - Air Gybe
Air Gybe

The Air Gybe done well is the King of smooth: just freezing mid flight, maybe throwing in a cheeky grab, whilst hanging in the wind then casually changing direction before powering off back out to sea. Once fully mastered even the biggest air can be a mere method of turning, and any obstacle a plant. If you have conquered the…

Kitesurfing Technique - Back Loop
Kitesurfing Technique - Back Loop
Back Loop

The backloop has often been the defining moment in many a riders kitesurfing history. The first genuine “trick” to really wow the masses and motivate ones belief to keep learning, keep tacking time off work and keep spending money. However it does not have to be the starting point. If you can already jump and have the front loop sorted,…

Kitesurfing Technique - Back Loop Transition
Kitesurfing Technique - Back Loop Transition
Back Loop Transition

There comes a time in every kiters life when suddenly all the hours of battling the elements really starts to pay dividends. Once you have mastered the many basic fundamentals you will have a solid foundation on which to build many blocks. The backloop transition is without a shadow of doubt the first funky add on to the beloved foundation…

By Christian and Karine
www.ckperformanceclinics.co.uk
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

Giles

Issue 71 Fri 7th Dec, 2018

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

Gary

Issue 70 Mon 8th Oct, 2018

CrazyFly Raptor LTD Neon Board

Martin

Issue 69 Tue 7th Aug, 2018

GoPro Hero 6 Black Action Camera

John

Issue 68 Tue 12th Jun, 2018

GoPro Hero 6 Black Action Camera

Simon

Issue 67 Wed 11th Apr, 2018

Mystic Majestic X Harness

Andrew

Issue 66 Fri 9th Feb, 2018

6m Flysurfer Stoke

Ross

Issue 65 Tue 12th Dec, 2017

7m Cabrinha Drifter + Fireball Bar Set Up

Chris

Issue 64 Wed 18th Oct, 2017

Board You Desire From Shinn

Dave

Issue 63 Tue 8th Aug, 2017

GoPro Hero 5 Black Action Camera

Adam

Issue 62 Sat 10th Jun, 2017

CrazyFly 2017 Sculp 9m and Sick Bar

Dale

Issue 61 Mon 10th Apr, 2017

GoPro Hero 5 Black Action Camera

Sam

Issue 60 Sun 5th Feb, 2017

GoPro Hero 5 Black Action Camera

Steven

Issue 59 Mon 5th Dec, 2016

GoPro Hero 5 Black Action Camera

Edward

Issue 58 Thu 13th Oct, 2016

Fireball Set Up with an Apollo Kite from Cabrinha

Paul

Issue 57 Tue 11th Oct, 2016

Blade Trigger 10m Kite

Andrew

Issue 56 Sun 12th Jun, 2016

Board and Boot Set Up from Liquid Force

Peter

Issue 55 Sat 9th Apr, 2016

Nobile NHP Split Kiteboard

Andrew

Issue 54 Sat 6th Feb, 2016

Wetsuit and Harness from Manera

Gary

Issue 53 Tue 10th Feb, 2015

Ride Engine Harness!

Grahame

Issue 52 Wed 7th Oct, 2015

Prize Pack from TSHOTSH

Guy, Vince

Issue 51 Thu 13th Aug, 2015

Wainman Hawaii ManiaC Kite

Rich

Issue 50 Thu 4th Jun, 2015

Liquid Force Legacy Board

Daniel

Issue 49 Fri 10th Apr, 2015

Slingshot Vision Board

Michael

Issue 48 Fri 30th Jan, 2015

Blade Mist Kite and Bar

Gary

Issue 47 Mon 8th Dec, 2014

2015 Core GTS3 8m Kite and Bar

Wayne

Issue 46 Wed 8th Oct, 2014

Ozone Reo Wave Kite

Daan

Issue 45 Mon 4th Aug, 2014

Brunotti Board and a Pair of Sunglasses

Sean

Issue 44 Mon 9th Jun, 2014

Dakine Harness and Travel Bag

Matthew

Issue 43 Wed 2nd Apr, 2014

Manera EXO Harness and Goodies!

Ruben

Issue 42 Thu 30th Jan, 2014

North Gonzales Kite Board!

Johnny

Issue 41 Mon 2nd Dec, 2013

Best Spark Plug Kite Board

Christophe

Issue 40 Wed 9th Oct, 2013

Kiteloose Fatty Surfboard

Ben

Issue 39 Fri 2nd Aug, 2013

GoPro HD Hero 3 Silver Edition

Dave

Issue 38 Sun 2nd Jun, 2013

CrazyFly Sculp 9m Kite and Sick Bar System

Clara

Issue 37 Mon 1st Apr, 2013

Kitesurf Holiday Experience with Kirsty Jones

Vix

Issue 36 Sat 2nd Feb, 2013

2013 F-One Bandit 6 9m Kite

Paul

Issue 35 Mon 3rd Dec, 2012

Soul Drysuit by Ocean Rodeo

Ian

Issue 34 Mon 1st Oct, 2012

2013 Mystic Wetsuit and Harness

Mike

Issue 33 Sun 5th Aug, 2012

Wainman Joke Kitesurfing Board

David

  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 - Strapless Riding

×