Front Foot One Foot Kitesurfing Technique

Front Foot One Foot

Technique / Intermediate

Introduction

This is one fun move for sure, you’ll confuse your peers, and most likely yourselves at first, but rest assured that the Triple F is surprisingly easy and is guaranteed to put a smile on your face – it’s show boating with a sense of humour. Just watch Nick Jacobsen to remind yourself why we kitesurf – it really should make you smile. On a slightly more serious note though, what do you need to bash out one of these? Realistically if you can jump with a tail grab and loosen your straps you are well and truly ready to rock and pose.

Preparation

Before you hit the water get yourself ready. To free your foot temporarily from the confines of your front foot strap you may want to loosen the strap a tad so that your hoof can slide out, and possibly more importantly back in seamlessly without hindrance or interference. And if you’re going to loosen the front one you best loosen the back one a touch too. This way if you don’t get the front foot back in it’ll be easy to ditch the board pre splash.

The Jump

Unless you’re as quick as an amorous Yorkshire Terrier, getting some height and float from your jump is paramount so that you have time to grab, free your foot, get it back in without stubbing your toe and land. Ideally you’ll want some power in the kite, a jolly good edge and some space. Start with your kite no higher than 11 or 1 o’clock. Once you know it’s there, look upwind and drive against your edge, pushing against your back heel ready to resist the extra power that you’re about to create. Now wiggle your front foot slightly out of the strap so that it is not wedged in and send the kite hard with a decent pull push action, keeping the bar on the sweet spot. Keep edging, keep the bar in and wait for the kite to launch you. If you edge well and send hard you will get the up earlier and the kite won’t fly too far behind you, making it easier to concentrate on the task in hand. We’re looking for an elevator jump here, so more up and down, not flying at mach 10 downwind.

Knees Up

As with any foot out and board off you, need to get everything in position ASAP so that you’ve got plenty of time. If you only manage to get the grab in on the way down your chances are getting slimmer. Here you can see that immediately after take off Christian is getting his knees up towards him. This requires the most effort as the lift from the kite is straightening you out, so you’ll need to pull hard and it’s probably why Christian doesn’t look too happy. Also have a look at his bar – Christian has pulled it in and is levelling it. This way he gets the kite settled just behind 12 o’clock with two hands before getting on with business.

Look for the Grab

Get focused on where you intend to grab the board, as this way you’ll get there quicker. Turning your head to look at the tail will also turn your body and the board, which is a good thing. By turning the board back you have more room behind your harness to lift your back knee and get the board nearer to you. Lifting the back knee and the back of the board towards you tilts the board which helps un-weight your front foot and makes it easier to slide out. You can see that everything is happening behind Christian, so he has plenty of room to manoeuvre.

Make It Count

This is your moment of glory, so make it count. Once you have the tail of the board pull it up and in towards your bottom, as this will help twist the board off your foot. At the same time lift your front foot towards you, et voila; your foot will now be dangling in mid air. Keep your grip tight on the board and keep your bar in for float. From here you have a plethora of options to show off, the most important of which is to get your front leg extended as Christian has in the photo. As you get confident you can play with board angles and leg positions. As per any reasonably high and floaty jump, aim to keep the kite just behind 12 o’clock so that you don’t get pulled forwards and off balance whilst in flight.

Eyes and In

Whilst learning this, once you feel that you’re dropping it’s your cue for front foot in. This way you’ll have ample time. Once you get more proficient and confident you can wait until millimoments before touch down. To make life easier and give you a bit longer you should start to pull gently on your front hand. This way the kite will fly over 12 o’clock and you’ll be rewarded with a little extra lift, and therefore time. If you don’t do this you’ll drop much quicker. Fix your gaze on the front strap and pull your back knee up, which will tilt the nose of the board down. Bend your front leg to bring your foot up and if your strap is loose it should be a fairly simple procedure. Once your foot is in give it a wiggle whilst you still have hold of the tail to make sure that it’s secure.

Both Hands and Dive

All that’s left is to land this with panache and you’ll feel pretty chuffed. Once your foot is in release the grab and get you back hand on the bar. You’ll need to dive the kite hard for landing because you gave it a little pull forward for support whilst replacing the front foot, so if you’re not aggressive now you’ll get pulled off balance as the kite flies around the edge of the window. You can see that Christian is giving the bar a fair yank down to dive the kite and as it pulls he angles the board off the wind for a soft downwind landing.

Top Tips

  • Approach your first few attempts with an aggressive jump, a boned grab and a subtle look back to get your confidence up. Then loosen the straps and give it a go. You’ll be surprised how both the grab and the back foot act as anchor points, making this feel far more solid and controlled than you would expect.
  • Now have a good look at the Sequence and Videos.

Common Problems

First off, struggling to get the foot out. Assuming that you have loosened the strap or straps the primary cause of this will be your legs. If you bring your front knee right up into your chest you’ll have no room to lift your foot out. Similarly if you don’t lift your back knee enough you may have the same problem. Make sure you get a decent tilted angle on the board, as this will make a world of difference.

If you’re getting stuck looking back and then dropping down into the drink. Chances are that you’re being a bit ginger on the front hand and leaving the kite too far behind you after take of. Remember to fly the kite back up to just behind 12 o’clock with two hands as you bring your knees up. Don’t go for the grab until you have the kite settled.

When you’re having problems getting the foot back in it’s either going to be lack of time and height, so make sure that you pull gently on the front hand as you slide it back in. It could also be the knees again, so make sure the board is tilted.

Keystones

  1. Elevator jump.
  2. Control kite with 2 hands.
  3. Tilt board, back knee up into chest and grab.
  4. Pull board in and lift foot out.
  5. Tilt, look at strap and slide foot in.

 

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This technique article was in Issue 47 of IKSURFMAG.

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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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