Even if you’re not an air-style aficionado and prefer smaller kite options, there is always a place for big air and its plethora of embellishments. If you’re akin to sailing more towards the relatively fiercer end of the Beaufort scale, there is a point when unhooking and competing against kids who don’t yet shave seems unwise. The good news is that this is when the fun can really start. With a bit more hang time, your box of tricks suddenly expands exponentially. This time around it’s the one-foot rodeo, which is an utterly splendid move especially if you haven’t yet mastered the board off, as it looks impressive, but you don’t need to be a Yogi to execute it.
Before taking you through it, we’ll assume that you’re proficient at getting off the water, can hold a decent edge and are not opposed to the idea of wanging the kite for a bit of extra lift.
Blast Off Pic A.
Knowing that you’ve come in with the greatest of edges, a solid back leg and the kite parked below 1 or 11, before sending it positively this is the moment we’ll focus on, the actual moment of take-off. As the saying goes, there are a million way to skin a cat, and so long as you can get decent and controlled height, we’ll not mess with your method in these pages, or at least not right now.
We’re aiming for a vertical take-off for maximum height, but we also want some downwind drift for extra time, while having the kite positioned so that we’re free to fiddle about with the board without any unwanted nasty surprises. In the first photo, you can see that Heliarde has pulled the bar in hard, way past his sweet spot as he kicks off. This will help him drift further and for longer.
You can also see that his kite has gone quite a long way back and he’s in no rush to level the bar and bring the kite forward. This means that he’ll have all the time in the world to grab and faff, knowing that if anything he’ll pendulum back under the kite because he’ll be “quite” high.
Early Grab Pic B.
When you’re happy with your jumps, and you know what to expect, these moves will always be easier and look better if you grab early. The earlier you grab, the earlier you can free the foot and the longer you can embellish for. Now that he’s on the way up Heliarde has pulled his back leg up towards him so that he can grab the tail. There’s no need to pull the front leg up as you’ll want it extended later anyway.
Standing Room Only Pic C.
Once you’ve got your foot out, let your front leg extend fully so that the nose of your board hangs low, and then straighten your back leg so that you're standing tall. This will put the board vertically in front of you.
Knock Knees Pic D.
Now all that’s left is to grab the board between your knees, gripping it well so that it won’t slip forwards which wouldn’t be very comfortable for your front ankle. Once you’ve got it locked in place, you can take your back hand off and wave at the admiring grannies on the sea wall. Heliarde is probably looking for someone’s lost board in the mangroves at this point!
Undercarriage Down Pic E.
Once you feel that you’re descending it’s a good idea to get the board out from between your legs. Coming in hot in such a position is not going to please anyone but the rider you’ve been short taking all afternoon. Once you’re fully up to speed, you can leave the board there as long as you deem sensible. Keeping the bar in for float, move the tail of the board back behind you and lift your front leg slightly. This should give you enough room to slide your foot back into the strap.
Touch Down Pic F.
Once your foot is back in it’s just a matter of getting yourself down softly. Wait for the moment and then dive the kite for a marshmallow downwind landing.
If you’ve not the most flexible person on the planet or you ride with your foot-straps very tight may we recommend loosening your front strap. This will allow the strap to twist around your foot as you lift your board into the vertical position. It also means that if you do mess up the board can fall off your foot.
Another great thing about this move is that even though you have to commit to the grab early, you can still abort the board between your legs if you feel that the jump is not worthy.
Time for a gander at the sequence and videos to see just how Heliarde does it.
This one is all about your jump, if it’s high enough and/or floaty enough you’ll have all the time in the world. If you don’t have time, take a step back and work on the fundamentals, edge and wang.
- Good solid edge and plenty of send
- Bar in for extra lift and downwind drift
- Grab early to free the back foot
- Straighten legs, grip board and wave
- Get your foot back in with plenty of time
This technique article was in Issue 66 of IKSURFMAG.