If you’re keen on style there is no simpler way to ooze some steeze than add a grab. And as we have often said it’s a great way to freshen up and reignite your passion for a move that you already have in the bag - so it’ll not only look the puppy’s but also feel da bomb! Here we have a hooked in pop to blind with a back hand grab on the toe side rail in between your feet. You should already have the ability to pop around to blind and ride and if you don’t then hopefully this will be the incentive you need to learn.
What is involved to nail this? Well if you intend to grab you’ll need a tad more time than a quick fin clearer to blind, so that equals more height from more pop, and you’ll need a solid blind action as you will effectively be stalling the blind until the very last moment….
The Set Up
In search of your pop you’ll require two things, the obvious one being speed with a dose of power and the less obvious one is a good body position. Whilst learning you can afford yourself the luxury of a third one, which is lift from the kite. No need to have it down at 45˚ when a forgiving 1 or 11 o’clock will help you on your way. Here we can see Karine’s body position as she carves back up into her pop. Her front leg is extended, meaning that her hips, and weight are pushed back towards the tail of the board and her shoulders are also leaning back. Karine adopted this position before she turned off the wind and has held it throughout her carve. This strong position enables her to pop explosively off her back leg. Before we continue take note that your hands should be centered on the bar and your kite parked still.
From such a solid set up the pop should be simple. As long as you turned off the wind before carving up both the kite and the board will behave, that is to say the kite will give you something to pop against and your board won’t slow down too much as you carve. To get maximum pop you must keep your shoulders back and upwind of the board, your bum low and close to the water and you must not soften your back knee as you carve up. Karine has stamped down hard against the board with her back foot, explosively kicking herself away from her edge, and with her weight back she takes off nose first. In anticipation of not having much time to grab she is already releasing her back hand from the bar as she stamps.
As with any pop you need to wait until you’ve extended your body to get full elevation up, but as soon as you have it’s chop-chop to get the grab in. Having already released her hand Karine’s next job is to bring her knees up towards her so that the board is within grabbing distance. Karine looks down towards where she’ll grab as she lifts the board and keeps her knees apart so that there is room for her arm to reach down towards the edge of the board. Also as a result of popping hard the back of her board kicks around and out slightly which has the effect of turning Karine back and away from the kite. This is good as it pushes her body back and away from the bar, which in turn gives her more room to reach down with her back hand.
With the board flicking around, room for the back hand to reach down and the knees pulling everything up Karine can comfortably grab the board for a solid indy. In this picture you can she the result of all that has gone before – the bar is in front of her and she has plenty of room to reach and hold the grab without the need to be a contortionist. Whilst you have the grab aim to keep the bar in on the sweet spot so that you’ll have a modicum of support from the kite, you’ll keep your forward momentum for the landing, and you’ll be able to dump the pull when you need to turn to blind.
Throw the Blind
The good thing about the grab is that it naturally makes you stall your turn or throw to blind. Blind is always a last second movement, hence why we can do a tiny pop to blind. The higher you go, the longer you have to wait in order to keep your balance and control the landing. Once you feel that you’ve got the grab and you know that you’re coming down it’s time to turn. The action will come from your hips and your back leg whilst your free arm will balance you. Karine has released her grab and now commits to blind. To turn the board she twists her hips and pulls her back leg up towards her bottom and around towards the water. The board will naturally want to fall tail first so Karine focuses on pulling her back leg up. By doing this she will rotate around her harness hook and should make it all the way.
Landing this should be as per your pop to blind, although chances are as you’ve had more height you will have less momentum to keep you going once you plant the board. Make an effort to keep your back foot up so that you can plant the front of the board into the water for landing. This way as the nose catches the board will pivot off the wind more and you’re more likely to keep moving. If you land flat on your edge you’ll just stop. You can see that Karine has landed nose first with her front leg fairly straight, whilst her back leg is bent so that the board will turn further away from the wind on landing. She is already in her default blind position so that she will keep moving. If you have slowed too much pull the bar in to get some oomph from your kite.
Practice the Indy first if you’ve never tried it before.
Getting the board flicking you slightly around on take off does make the movement of turning to blind in the air much easier as you have less far to turn and thus your body is in a better position. Try looking back at where you came from as you grab, this will help you turn during your indy.
Although we’ve said you don’t want your kite too low, don’t have it any higher than 11 or 1 o’clock. It still needs to be pulling forward to allow for some flick, an easy grab, and momentum on landing.
Now look at the full Monty in the Sequence and Videos to get yourself visualised!
If you can’t reach the grab. Make sure you’re popping hard enough. The pop will help you lift the board as the water will cork the board back up at you. Also make sure you turn to face slightly back to get the bar and your harness out of the way.
If you’re falling backwards as you land. If your body is further downwind than the board when you land you need to sheet the bar out as you throw the blind. If you’re landing and then falling chances are that you’re landing flat or tail first, so concentrate on keeping that back foot up and close to your bottom so that the board can pivot.
- Turn up and pop hard.
- Release back hand and look for grab.
- Lift board and look back.
- Throw to blind using hips and back leg.
- Keep back leg up to land nose first.
This technique article was in Issue 46 of IKSURFMAG.