Hooked in Front to Blind Kitesurfing Technique

Hooked in Front to Blind

Technique / Intermediate

Introduction

Unfortunately many hooked-in moves are overshadowed by their unhooked cousins. Which is a great shame as they still showcase a lot of technique and can look so smooth. Once again the combinations of moves to and from blind look truly stunning. This was recently showcased by one of Britain’s most stylish riders, Ali Barret, who having broken his hand managed a 3rd place at a national BKSA event pulling all the stops out with a medley of hooked in flair. Hats off to you Ali!

We’ll start with the front to blind as for many it’ll be easiest to get your head around as there is a certain flow to it. To get this dialled you’ll need a decent popped front loop, so no sending of the kite. And of course you’ll need a solid blind.

To build up to this trick we highly recommend practicing a lot of high pops to blind. This will help your blind timing and encourage you to wait! The idea behind this is that often when folk pop to blind they deliberately keep low so that they land in a perfect position. This will not be the case following a front loop. By popping high you will have to wait still travelling forward before you “throw” to blind at the ultimate moment, just before your board hits the deck. Also it will teach you to separate your rotating to blind from your pop, which will mean that you can then add it onto your popped front roll.

All the Important Parts

Pic A. Starting at the beginning, you have to bear away, heading suddenly off the wind for any pop trick and here is no exception. Karine has her kite at 11 o’clock and has pushed her front foot away from her, which helps the kite fall back in the window a tiny bit and allows her to get her body into the perfect position to pop. Front leg straight, bum over back foot, shoulders back and upwind, and head looking forwards. Oh yes and her hands are centred on the bar.

Pic B. Popping into the front loop correctly will make landing blind a whole lot easier. Karine has carved super hard upwind, she has kept the bar in to keep tension on the lines, so the kite will pull her through the move, and as she explodes up off her back leg she consciously pulls on her front hand a bit to stop the kite going up. Being pulled through the move by the kite is so important, as Karine can feel where she is and will have something to physically pull against when she throws to blind. If you dangle under a high kite with loose back lines you may be able to land blind but you will not ride away blind – a big difference.

Pic C. Karine is leading her rotation with her head. As her head comes around Karine can gage where she will land. If she feels like she has too much height she may have to pull on her front hand to correct this. Also the timing of when to throw the blind depends on her height. Keeping her knees up watching where she is going Karine can actually wait in virtual slow mo until she wants to throw the blind.

Pic D. This is the waiting shot and possibly the single most important part of throwing a front to blind, so lets take a moment to understand it. A front to blind is not one and a half front loops, meaning that you should not try to continue rotating from your front loop around to blind. There are two separate movements, you come around the front, focus on where you will land and then whip your legs and hips around to blind, as you practised with your high pop to blind.

In this picture Karine is waiting for a split second to come down a tad as she has more height than in the video. To make it work she keeps the bar in so the kite will pull her downwind with it. This way when she goes blind her feet and board won’t get left upwind, so she wont fall towards the kite. With her front foot held high, she will be able to turn the board to blind when she decides. If you look at the videos you can see that the turn to blind is quick compared with the front rotation.

Pic E. Karine has thrown her blind. As she pulled her right leg behind her, she pivoted her left leg underneath her. The result is that she is landing new tail first, which will help the board pivot all the way for a clean landing and prevent her digging the new nose in. Also as she throws the blind Karine lets go with her back hand for two reasons. Firstly it helps her turn the full amount to blind. And secondly it releases the tension in the back lines, the kite doesn’t pull her, so Karine can get her balance before reaching for the bar again. If she landed with two hands on the bar she could be pulled out of blind.

Pic F. Once Karine has landed, sorted her weight out onto her new back foot and feels comfy, she reaches for the bar with her back hand. This way she can keep her speed and get ready for a move from blind…..

Top Tips

Learning anything to blind is a lot easier if the water is flattish, as your board keeps its speed and you are less likely to trip on an edge.

For your first attempts try not to get too high. If you have the kite in the right place, 11 or 1, you can pop hard but with less speed which will make the timing easier and the move less daunting.

Following Sequence 1

  • Pic 1. With her kite at 11 o’clock Karine pops up hard into her front roll and gives a cheeky tug on her front hand.
  • Pic 2. As she starts to rotate Karine keeps the bar in close and keeps the front hand engaged to keep the kite from going up.
  • Pic 3. To make the rotation smooth and help later with the blind part Karine lifts her knees.
  • Pic 4. Karine looks over her back shoulder, so that she can see her potential landing spot as soon as possible and keeps the rotation going. The bar is still pulled in.
  • Pic 5. Seeing that she still has time due to having a bit of height Karine keeps her knees up and bar in.
  • Pic 6. As she starts to come down Karine commences the throw to blind. She whips the board through and underneath her by pulling the front knee forward.
  • Pic 7. As her front leg comes through she kicks her back leg around. She still pulls the bar in and has her arms bent to keep herself close the bar.
  • Pic 8. As she touches down new tail first Karine releases her back hand so that she can balance herself against the landing. With the bar pulling away the kite will not pull her over.
  • Pic 9. As the board bites and Karine feels herself moving she reaches back up to the bar to get control of the kite. Lovely.

Common Problems

We touched upon it already but trying to rotate to blind won’t work. You need to get the front loop sorted, and then whip yourself around. If you find that you are over rotating, try slowing your front loop down and then speeding up your throw to blind. The opposite won’t work!

If you are landing with no speed the chances are you went into the move too slowly and with the kite too high. Try adding a few knots and don’t let the kite drift up. Concentrate on keeping the bar in, as this will keep the kite moving forward, and you will get pulled with it, giving you the vital momentum when you land.

If you fall backwards when you land, you are releasing your hand too early, which allows the kite to get away from you and also allows your legs and board to drop. Keeping both hands pulled in helps keep the knees up and therefore balances you.

Keystones

  1. Speed off the wind
  2. Pull on front hand as pop
  3. Bar in and knees up
  4. Wait & whip
  5. Release back hand

This technique article was in Issue 24 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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