Back Loop to Toeside Kitesurfing Technique

Back Loop to Toeside

Technique / Intermediate


For those of you already happily sticking your popped back loops, it’s time to add the killer combo and land them to toe side. This is also a great reason to learn your pop tricks and your toe side on both sides as some of you will no doubt pop back loops in the opposite direction to which you’d like to land toe side. If this is the case with you, it’s probably easier to learn the back loop the other way.

This move is another of those classics that looks phenomenal, is a base for much to come and is really not that tricky. In fact because of the direction of the rotation in a back loop, all you need to do is get your head, body and the board to carry on a bit further and bingo.


Not wanting to break the habit of a lifetime, it’s time to state a few obvious facts and lay some solid foundations. Before attempting this it will be a good idea to practice popping to toe side, in preference to sliding your board around. This will give you confidence to actually take the landings.

It will also be beneficial to spend some time riding around toe side so that you body gets fully tuned to the necessary twisted position. This way as you come around your back loop it will be much easier to inform your body to adopt that position which it’s just been practicing, as opposed to bullying it into doing something that it may not have done for a while.

You wont go wrong bashing out numerous popped back loops so that they’re happening as par for the course. If you are getting sufficient height and a controlled rotation, you’ll be able to think ahead to the final part and concentrate on getting to toe side.

Finally try walking through it on dry land. This should be the cherry on the cake, which then means out on the water you’ll tell yourself to do it, and from the moment you carve you body is in back loop to toe side mode.

The Big Deal

Landing to toe side from a back loop is all about the final stages, pretty much from the moment that you spot your landing, so in the build up to attempting this try and notice this moment, when the water comes into view and you have a rough idea of where you’ll land.

In Pic A you can see Karine is coming around her back rotation, her knees are still up and her eyes will soon be fixing on her landing zone. Even though she will land toe side this picture could just as much be from a normal pop back loop.

However in Pic B all changes. If this were a normal popped back loop Karine would be dropping her legs and letting them extend underneath her. However because she intends to land toe side Karine has made two distinct changes. The first is that she has kept her knees in tight. This will give her more room to get the board around that extra 180˚. The second difference is that Karine is leaning into the rotation. As she looks around she is forcing her shoulders around and her head down towards the water, just as if she were going toe side on the water. These two movements will roll her trailing hip around towards the bar and allow her to pull her trailing knee up and push her foot through in front of her.

Pic C is the result. As Karine’s feet start to drop her original back foot is higher in the air, her left hip is near the bar and her hands, and as a result her original front foot will touch down first and at least result in her landing with the board facing down wind with her left foot forward. At best she’ll rotate all the way around and land on her toe side edge.

It’s very tempting when going for a toe side landing to take you front hand off the bar. However this will make it very difficult to land with speed and power in the kite, as you will not be able to keep the kite down and the bar in.

All of It

To make life a tad easier, and to give yourself a bit more time, when you first try this have you kite a bit higher at about 11.30 or 12.30.

Following Sequence 1

  • Pic 1. Having already checked all around, Karine has gained speed off the wind as per pop and carved hard against the power in her kite with her front leg extended and her back knee bent.
  • Pic 2. Karine suddenly extends her back leg and explodes up off the water whilst leaning back to initiate her back rotation.
  • Pic 3. As Karine pops off the water she keeps the bar in and looks over her shoulder.
  • Pic 4. Now at the top of her loop Karine has her knees pulled in and her hands pulled down.
  • Pic 5. This allows her to pull her back hip towards the bar, lean into the rotation and turn her shoulders to continue the rotation.
  • Pic 6. Karine keeps the kite low by pulling on her front hand and kicks her old back leg through, just as if she was popping to toe side.
  • Pic 7. Karine drops her legs and lands toe side. She has kept both hands on the bar to control the kite.
  • Pic 8. Once she is sure there is power in the kite Karine pushes against her edge and takes a hand off just to twist her shoulders a bit further upwind to keep tension in the lines.

Top Tips

If you are having trouble getting all the way around take your front hand off as you come round. This should pull you all the way to toe side. However you will loose power from the kite so once you get the feeling and enough twist get the hand back on for.

As you try and kick your back foot through, look upwind to get your shoulders around and the rest of the body will follow.

This technique article was in Issue 10 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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