Toe to Heel Carve Kitesurfing Technique

Toe to Heel Carve

Technique / Beginner


We recently took you through carving onto your toes, so now we’ll add the second piece of the puzzle and carve you back round onto your heel as in Video 1. To many riders this will feel like a more natural way to turn, as once you’re around you have the safety net and confidence of a reliable heel side edge to fall back on, and you’ll be returning to the way of riding that you call home. This generally means that you’ll be more willing to really throw the kite across through the window, as you’ll be more able to control the resulting power if you overcook it.

The good news is the kite principles and timing are pretty much the same as in the carve to toe side. And if that hasn’t got you running for the champers then the fact that you’ll find it much easier to turn the board off your trailing foot and complete a full 180˚ should have you celebrating like a British cyclist.

Gouge It

It is quite achievable to carve from your toes to your heels quite tightly by just stomping all your weight over your back foot and pivoting around. We are however looking at getting a more relaxed and satisfying carve that, once honed, will work equally well in the waves and on a directional.

Pic A shows Karine in her carving position just before reaching dead downwind. This is a good moment to see what her body is up to.

If we start with her body alignment it would be fair to say that her hips are aligned with the board, so they will commit to the turn as much as the board is carved into it. This is necessary because in between moving from her toe side edge to her heel side edge Karine will have to flatten the board as she literally rolls over it.

However Karine has not committed her shoulders over into the turn. Because she is turning almost blind into the area behind her, she cannot drive through her knees, so she must balance her weight, otherwise it’s a refreshing dip in the sea.

Looking at her knees we can see that the back leg is quite bent and the front leg is almost extended. The front leg is pushing the board along and keeping it in front of her, and also it keeps her hips back, helping to get weight over the back foot. This allows Karine to steer the board with her back foot and commit her hips into the turn, by twisting them around to face the direction of travel.

By twisting her hips Karine can turn her shoulders and head, which prevents her from falling to the inside of the turn. You can emulate this on terra firma. Standing as Karine is in the picture you’ll be able to keep your balance and could probably throw a couple of martial arts moves into the equation. Now try standing on both heels and getting you weight low – doesn’t really work does it?

Finally for kite control, Karine has committed to a strong pull on the bar and has kept the bar in close to her to use all the power and control the position of the kite. Her aim is to steer the kite across the window, from 1 to 11. This will give Karine a fairly constant pull and let her know where the kite is. The actual kite movement would not be dissimilar to that of a slide turn. Watch Video 2 to remind you of the kite’s flight path.

The Live Show

Sequence 1 shows the entry into the carve from toe side and lets you see how the board flattens and drifts off the wind before any edge is set. If you dig the edge in too early you’ll be straight onto your bottom.

Following Sequence 1

Sequence 2 follows Karine through the exit of her carve.

Following Sequence 2

You can now add your two carves together just like Video 3 and go crazy with some mythical wave riding. It’s the start of great things to come.

Common Problems

If you keep falling in backwards, almost tripping on your heels. This is usually due to either leaning too much into the turn during the first half of the carve, or you are sending the kite back hard and still edging on your toes. Remember to keep your body weight over the board on your back foot, and let the turn of the kite pull you up off your edge to initiate the carve.

If you have no power coming out of the turn you have not turned the kite hard enough at the beginning. Remember that the kite needs to fly across the window, not up and around the edge. Because you turn towards it you will not feel the power until you are back onto your heel side edge.

The Keystones

  1. Steer Kite up
  2. Come up off edge
  3. Turn kite hard across window
  4. Carve around and try to look where you are going.
  5. Once on heel side dig in edge to complete turn and regain pull from kite.

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This technique article was in Issue 13 of IKSURFMAG.



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