Now this is a good grab, and one that’ll dazzle on a plethora of tricks. Our sage advice would of course be to start at the beginning, so we’ll introduce this one with a regular jump. The idea being that you’ll have ample time to both ponder and practice grabbing in the right place, as it is quite different from others that you’ve probably tried and therefore requires a bit of mental and physical rehearsal prior to your first airborne attempts.
So what and where is the Roast Beef. The Roast Beef is a back hand grab on the heelside edge of your board, reaching down in between and through your legs. Now just think about that for a moment. If you’re sitting comfortably, imagine that you’re jumping and decide which way, lift your legs and reach down between them with your back hand, palm facing forwards and grab that fictional edge, voila – le Roast Beef. Now let us have a look at the steps to crack this one during your jump.
The Jump - Pic A
OK we’re not going to go through the complete how to of jumping, however for controlled air with sufficient time to get this grab it will always be worth saving some concentration for the take off. You don’t need massive speed, your edge and keeping it are more important so make sure that you approach with your kite around 1 or 11 o’clock, heading upwind with the bar trimmed in sufficiently so that you can twist and look where you want to go with both hands happily reaching and gripping the bar. Remember that you need to keep your back leg working, push against your edge so that you’re riding in a straight line upwind. Don’t allow your back leg to soften and don’t carve up. Once you’re heading straight you can send the kite up and back positively, and when you’re taking off feel free to pull the bar in. You can see Karine has a solid edge and she’s given the bar a good sending to get some height and hang time. AND her hands are centred on the bar so that she can happily take her back hand off to grab without the kite reacting too suddenly.
The Prep - Pic B
Like any grab and jump you need to get balanced, have the kite in the right place, move your body to make room and bring the board within reach – not much then! As soon as Karine takes off she pulls the bar in towards her hips. This potentially gives her more height and also by bringing the bar down parallel to the water, it steers the kite forwards towards 12 o’clock, so that it doesn’t keep going back from the initial send. Next up this grab requires a bit of a look back. This means that you need to turn your shoulders back slightly, as Karine has done here. This gives you room to reach down with your back hand without your harness hook and chicken loop getting in the way. And finally to reach the Roast Beef, lifting either your back foot or front foot won’t help. You need to lift both legs to reach this grab. Here Karine is lifting the board towards her by bringing both knees up simultaneously. Keep your knees apart though, you don’t want to block yourself.
The Grab - Pic C
You can see here exactly where you need to grab the board. As you’re grabbing with your back hand it’ll feel natural to grab just in front of the back foot, so keep the knees up and reach down between your legs. Look at where you want to grab the board, don’t grope in the dark. Once you have the grab, hold it. As with all grabs you still need to concentrate on the kite, so keep that bar in to keep tension on the lines, and try not to hang off your front hand, as you don’t want to start diving the kite just yet.
The Tweak - Pic D
The beauty now is that the Roast Beef is an easy grab to tweak. If you hold it and push your front leg away it’ll bone out nicely as Karine demonstrates. You can twist your body more for a decent look back or you can lean back and invert the board, the choice is yours.
Landing - Pic E
Due to the position that this grab puts you in landing tail first with the board pointing downwind shouldn’t be a problem. You still need to get the power on though, so as soon as you feel that the kite is flying over and past 12 o’clock it’s time to release the grab and concentrate on the landing. Diving the kite with your front hand requires you to bend your wrist, so at first it’s a lot easier if you get two hands back on the bar. The added bonus of getting the back hand on the bar is that it will bring your body back from the look back and help balance you for the touch down. Make sure you dive the kite down through the window and don’t let it drift around the edge, you need the pull and the speed it generates to touch down softly.
Without a doubt you should practice this grab on terra firma first before taking to the skies. It’s very different from the tail and nose grabs, not more difficult but you won’t have muscle memory for the body movements, so some time on the beach or sofa won’t hurt.
Yet again as with many back hand grabs, giving the kite a decent send will enable you to keep the bar in more with the front hand, happy in the knowledge that the kite can and will move forward once you have the grab, without it down-looping you into the drink.
Now have a leisurely wander through the sequence and videos to imprint the movements into your mind.
Assuming that you’re jumping OK, the problem will be 99% not reaching the grab.
You must turn your head and shoulders back after take off, otherwise there is no room to reach down.
Bring both knees up together to reach the grab. If you just bring the back leg up you’ll instinctively go for a tail grab, and if you do reach between your legs the board will be tipped down and away from you making a solid grab very hard. If you lift the nose you won’t have a long enough arm to reach the board where you should.
And finally get balanced before letting go with you back hand, otherwise you’re likely to let the bar out as you release the back hand and then you’ll drop and have no hang time…
- Decent send from a decent edge
- Get balanced
- Turn back
- Lift both knees
- Look for grab
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This technique article was in Issue 52 of IKSURFMAG.