Hooked Popped Front Roll to Blind Ole Kitesurfing Technique

Hooked Popped Front Roll to Blind Ole

Technique / Intermediate


If all has gone to plan, those of you working on the hooked popped front from the last issue (98) will be ready for more. If there is one thing that is absolutely made for a popped front, it's a blind landing! And as if that's not enough, you'll also need a way to make your blind look panther smooth, so it's got to have an Ole tagged onto the end too. It's only June, but it already feels like Christmas! Marrying the popped front with a blind Ole gives you a super cool trick that you can bang out in so many conditions, any wind strength and water state. What's not to like? We have covered both moves independently, so we'll concentrate on the key parts to help you find the perfect flow from one to another.

Prerequisites for this are a popped front roll and the ability to land blind. If you've got the Ole down, it'll help to no end, as you'll be used to landing more over the board. As far as popping your front roll goes, we're not talking kite low mayhem but rather using your pop to get off the water rather than the pull of the kite. This means that during the learning process, you're more than welcome and very advised to have your kite high. It'll give you a tad more time and a lot more confidence. And, a final thought before moving on: Blind is a landing, so treat it as much. Although this move can flow beautifully, it is not one and a half front rolls. It's a front roll with a blind landing! OK, what do you need to stomp this?

Your Approach Pic A.

You should already have this down, but it won't hurt to remind you that you have to bear away, heading suddenly off the wind. Bearing away helps the kite fall back in the window a tiny bit and allows you to get into the perfect position to pop. Front leg straighter, bum over back foot, shoulders back and upwind, and head looking forwards. It also helps you land off the wind, which is a must if you want a smooth blind touch down. Karine approaches with her kite around 11 o'clock (no lower), hands centred on the bar with her weight back, bum low and nose up.

Pop and Roll Pic B.

Popping into the front roll correctly will make landing blind a whole lot easier. We can't emphasise enough how the stamp must precede the roll, and you have to resist the temptation to pull in on the bar for help, as this will only make popping less effective. However, you do need the bar on the sweet spot so that you get maximum pop and so that the kite pulls you through the move. Karine has carved super hard upwind; she explodes up off her back leg and then throws her shoulder and head to initiate her rotation. She consciously pulls on her front hand a bit to stop the kite from going up and to make sure it leads her through the move. Being pulled through the move by the kite is so important, as you can feel where you are, and you'll have something to physically pull against when it's time to throw the blind.

Head Stall Pic C.

Looking over your back shoulder so that you can see what's coming is key to throwing the blind. If you can see where you'll land early on, it gives you control and timing. This is what makes a blind landing. Rather than rotating and hoping that you'll be fine, by looking ahead, you can actually control when you throw to blind. In essence, you're stalling your rotation for the shortest of nanoseconds. Although it never actually stops, you're slowing it down until you need to speed up and throw the blind. In the photo, Karine is looking where she'll land. She's in no rush to bring her feet through, but she's safe in the knowledge that her head and shoulders are around. By breaking the move, even fractionally, into two parts, front and blind, you'll find it less of a blur and far more achievable. This is only possible if your kite is leading you.

Release & Throw Pic D.

Throwing the blind should be no different to a pop to the blind. In a pop, you concentrate on the up and then the blind. Here it's the "then to blind" moment. With the kite pulling, you have something to physically rotate against. You can give the bar a quick little pull with your hands to help turn your head and shoulders away from the bar before releasing your rear hand and dropping your rear shoulder. Keep your body locked and tight so that your hips and board turn with you. Karine has released her front hand whilst turning her head, shoulders and hips away from the kite. You can see that she's not high off the water; it's a late throw.

Bar Out & Chin Up Pic E.

Once you're rotating to blind, you want to make sure that your feet and board don't get left behind. To do this, push your bar away and dump power. This will allow your board to drop and make it easier to swing your legs around further and get the board to turn off the wind along with your body. Karine has her bar pushed right out, she's facing upwind, and her head is held high. This makes it possible to land over the board. It helps to keep what was your back leg slightly bent as you throw the blind. This way, you'll land slightly (old) nose first, which will help pivot the board more downwind.

Release Tension Pic F.

Once you're on your feet, you need to get rid of any possible tension in the lines before you can consider the Ole. Your aim is to get any weight off the balls of your feet and onto your heels. This will turn the board towards the kite and give you room and slack to Ole. The secret is not to rush. Make sure your bar is all the way out by pushing your hand up. Leave it there and turn your head towards your free hand. You can see that as Karine turns her head, it rocks her weight onto her heels, and the board literally carves downwind. Wait to feel the tension go.

Ole Pic E.

The cherry on the cake; with no tension, you can now comfortably move the bar across in front of your face. As you do this, you can pull in on the bar to steer the kite back down, which will give you some pull as you come through the Ole. And don't forget, a hearty "Ole" belted out will make this all the more satisfying. Looking at Karine, you can see that she's got plenty of room to push the bar past, and as she does, she's steering the kite down. You now have the option to ride out the toe side or slide yourself back to the heel side.

Top Tips

As you're adding two moves together, your best bet is to bang out a few popped fronts and then some higher pop to blinds. The fronts will give you the timing and allow you to think ahead, whilst the blinds will help you nail in the separate throw to blind moment.

Flat water is your friend. It's more than possible in chop, but learning will be easier as both the pop and your landing will be less of a challenge in the flats.

Although you're popping, don't fret about having your kite too high to start with. It'll slow things down, giving you more confidence and time. It will make coming out of the Ole with speed trickier, but you can build up to that. Once you feel comfortable with the movement, you can lower your kite by a smidgen.

Common Problems

Stopping on landing. If you've got enough momentum and speed coming in, then the only reason for this is that the kite is too high and has drifted behind you. Try popping without sending the kite, and give the kite a tug down before releasing your back hand.

Falling in backwards/catching your heelside edge. This is often the result of not sheeting the bar out when throwing the blind. Your feet get left behind, and you'll catch your edge. Also, don't rush the Ole by leaning back to make room for the bar to pass. Make a point of landing and shifting your weight first. This is only possible if you trim your bar and head downwind to pop.

Burying the nose of the board and sinking when Ole-ing. If you're making the landing, setting the Ole in motion only to then nose dive, this is usually because you're rushing into Ole and turning your shoulders too much as you turn your head. The Ole shouldn't be aggressive if you shift your weight onto your heels first.


  1. Off the wind approach
  2.  Stamp then head
  3.  Spot landing early
  4.  Throw blind late
  5.  Land over board, don't rush Ole

This technique article was in Issue 99 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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