Board Behind Waterstart Kitesurfing Technique

Board Behind Waterstart

Technique / Intermediate


Stylish and practical, definitely two words that fit this down to a T. Stylish because what better way can there be to regain your pride after a wipe-out, other than just boosting back up into the air from which you fell and scooting gracefully off. Practical as most of us spend a lot of time getting back on the board and this one relieves your abs of their constant and exhausting task of pulling the board back under you after each and every dunking. It’s also a bit of a precursor to moves like the jumping beach start and will also give you a good feeling for when you come to learn the dark slide. That should hopefully be enough to tempt you?

By way of an additional forward, this is most handy and practical should you fall and find yourself with the board still attached and behind you. The only prerequisite for this may be the ability to jump, even if only baby ones, as you’ll have an idea of what the kite should be doing and how to land. Right, let's have a look at the bits that make this possible.

A New Beginning Pic A

So you’re in the drink, your feet are in the straps, and the board is behind you. The good news is that you no longer need to abuse your stomach, but rather use the wind. Regardless of wind strength, gusts, lulls, sea state or anything else that mother nature cares to hurl at you, the pre-start checklist remains the same. First off your board is securely on both feet and is, therefore, unlikely to come off when you launch yourself from the water. Secondly, your sweet spot needs to be trimmed out away from you. This will not only help you get more lift, but more importantly, it will enable you to man handle the bar as it will be up in front of you. If the sweet spot is down near the chicken loop, the bar and your hands will feel too low, they’ll be out of sight under water, and you’ll feel less balanced. Assuming that the above is correct you now need to work out which way you’ll go and check to see if the coast is clear. Christian will go right, starboard, so he has a good check. All this can be done with the kite at 12 o’clock, but if it’s very windy slightly to one side or the other will keep you in the water.

The Set Up Pic B.

As you can well imagine, if there is most of you and your board in the water, you’re likely to create a far amount of drag and resistance. This means that you do need to move the kite for assistance. Think back to the early days, or your first lessons. More often than not you’d try to dive the kite from 12 o’clock and either not much would happen or if there was enough power the kite would go flying straight down towards the ocean and you’d get pulled over the figurative handle bars. The chances are that if your instructor was worth his or her fee, they’d then tell you that you “still” needed to start with the kite behind you, or rather behind 12. Meaning that if you were going right, your kite needed to be back towards 11, and if you were going left back towards 1 o’clock. It’s the same here, and the same rings true that it’s better to start with too little and then slowly ramp it up rather than moving the kite too much. To set himself up here, Christian has slowly moved the kite to his left, so it creeps around the edge of the window to about 11:30 (it’s quite windy). If he moves or you move the kite quickly you’ll be lifted, and you don’t want the lift yet, so slowly does it. Once the kite is back where you want it, you can then send it forwards with more meaning. You can see that Christian has been quite positive with his bar, as he’s trying to move the kite quickly and he keeps the bar out on the sweet spot as he doesn’t want the kite to stall.

Now’s the Time Pic C.

If you look at this pic, it’s a continuation of the last point. Christian has given the kite the command to move with meaning, and he’s watching it like a hawk to make sure that it turns fast but goes up over 12 rather than overdoing it and diving it down. In this scene 12 is your magic number. With the kite going over and past 12 the kite is already lifting Christian so his upper body raises out of the water. This moment of lift is your cue…

To Pull the Bar Pic D.

With the kite moving overhead Christian pulls down on the bar for some extra lift. The chances are that this will stall the kite a bit so the pull will be both upwards and downwind. At this moment your want to tense your core and be ready for the pull, as with the board lying behind you in the water there will some resistance to you going up. Now Christian is looking forwards in the direction in which he’ll travel. This will keep him, and you, balanced once you take off. Also by pulling down on the bar you will be levelling it, so the kite will stop moving forward.

The Big Chill Pic E.

As the kite lifts you out of the water, you want to stop it somewhere around 12. Much like you would in a jump, but the main difference being that your objective is to take the kite from one side across to the other. However, at this moment you want to press the pause button. This way all the energy will be up, you’ll have tension on the lines, and you’ll be in a position from which you can then orchestrate the landing, so keep the bar level. The other point here is not to do much with your legs - yet. The reason for this move, other than looking and feeling great, is that you’re trying to save your poor abs. If while the kite is pulling you up and through the water, you try and pull the board underneath you, you’ll actually have more resistance than if you were stationary in the water. So leave your whale tail behind you until the board is clear, just like Christian is here.

The Dive Pic F.

Just like a standard jump, you’ll want the kite to pull you downwind so that you can turn the board to follow it for a smooth, marshmallow landing. The only way to achieve this is to dive the kite hard down through the window. Just like a jump timing is key here, so wait with the kite at 12ish until you’re dropping. Then once you’re close to the water dive the kite hard. Do however make sure that you have your knees up and the board underneath you before you dive.

The Reception Pic G.

And again just as per a jump your aim is to land slightly tail first with the board pointing downwind and the kite diving. So hopefully this will be second nature by now? Take the landing by standing up over the board, and once you are balanced, you can then carve back onto your edge and continue as if nothing happened.

Top Tips

Aside from making sure that both your feet are firmly in your straps, you will need more oomph than you think to get up and out of the water. Trim your sweet spot out, so that the bar will remain above the water when you send the kite, and you’ll get a bit of extra stall lift when you pull the bar in. That said it is better to build up to the perfect take off, rather than fire yourself straight into orbit on your first attempt, so start off with the kite just behind 12 and see what happens. If you don’t feel much, take it back a bit further for the next attempt.

Take in the sequence and videos to get a feel for the bar movement and timing.

Common Problems

The most likely problem is not getting enough lift. If this is the case take the kite back further before sending it up and over.

If you’re getting dragged hard forwards but not getting lifted out, it means that you’re diving the kite when you send it. Think of turning it quickly to make it move but then let off so that the kite goes via 12 o'clock.

If you’re landing nose heavy or falling to the side as you land, this means that the kite has crept too far round the edge of the window, so it’s now too much to the side you are going. Make sure you level the bar and stop the kite at 12, and then make sure you give it a decent dive to land.


  1. Move the kite slowly back towards 11 or 1
  2. Turn the bar aggressively to move the kite quickly up towards 12.
  3. As the kite lifts, pull the bar in and level it
  4. Wait to clear the water before bringing knees up.
  5. Dive hard for a downwind landing as per a jump

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 59 of IKSURFMAG.



Kitesurfing Technique - Air Gybe Nose Grab
Kitesurfing Technique - Air Gybe Nose Grab
Air Gybe Nose Grab

Another splendid way to make the essential art of turning around both exciting and aesthetically pleasing. There must surely be enough transition variations to keep you busy during a reasonable session, ensuring that you never need to pull off the same move twice. Now that’s something we can all appreciate. Before adding this feather to your bow, we should perhaps…

Kitesurfing Technique - Air Gybe to Toeside
Kitesurfing Technique - Air Gybe to Toeside
Air Gybe to Toeside

Rather than being an extension to one of the most popular transitions, the Air Gybe landed to toeside is in fact a very good way to learn an Air Gybe. Why? The answer is all about playing to your strengths. Most of us have a stronger or preferred side, the foot that we like to have leading. This side was…

Kitesurfing Technique - Air Gybe with Late Kite Loop
Kitesurfing Technique - Air Gybe with Late Kite Loop
Air Gybe with Late Kite Loop

This move is really as much a cheat as it is a trick, and a very useful one at that. If the title doesn’t give away what it is have a look at Video 1. A late kite loop in this case means that the kite loops once you are on the water, not in the air. You’ve probably seen…

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 - Board Behind Waterstart