Thought we’d throw this in as we’ve had hours of fun doing this with guests on clinics. It’s a very simple move for anyone who can manage a jump or preferably an air gybe. And in the right location, with the right wind direction as in Video 1 it opens the door to a plethora of tricks, from simple grabs to full on pass moves.
But first back to the wind, or more importantly the wind direction. A good time to state the obvious, before you go blindly running down the beach to impress your better half. This is really only a move to learn where the wind is blowing offshore. When we say offshore we mean your local sandbar, a small island where you kite, the bank of a perfect holiday lagoon, as opposed to gusty nonsense lifeboat weather where you should be thinking about taking the kids to the park or catching up on that crochet pattern. In addition to an offshore/bar/bank wind it would be a blessing if the water got rapidly deep, so you have something to land in if your board sticks to the sand and you go over the handlebars. Chances are if the bank is steep, it’ll be drier too, and you’ll have less chance of gluing the board down. A shallow shelving beach covered in mussels, cockle and razor shells is far from ideal.
For sure once you have the take off consistently incident free, and you understand how to control your direction of flight more, you’ll be happy to perform to the masses in cross-off and even cross shore, but that’s your limit.
On the kite front you’ll want to mimic what you do when you jump. So your choices are either to move the kite from 11 o’clock to 1, or visa versa. If the wind is dead off shore you can choose whether to jump right or left, depending on how you’d like to land. If it has some cross in you will have no choice as one way leads to the water and the other leads to terra firma. You will need some power in your kite to generate enough upward lift. If you don’t have enough power or you sheet the bar out, the kite will still travel from 11 to 1, but it will take the shortest, most direct route, resulting in you getting pulled forward and out of the straps. The kite needs to rise to 12 as it travels across the window.
If you have a look at the first picture in Sequence 1. Christian has got himself in the straps on a dry bit of sand, and has the kite hovering above him with just the smallest amount of tension on the back lines. This way he can keep his balance without getting pulled around by the kite, but still has a modicum of control over it.
In Pic 2. He very gently steers the kite back to 1 o’clock. Patience is the virtue here; as yet again if you move the kite quickly it will pull you off balance to the side. Likewise if you sheet the bar out too far, you’ll end up taking the kite back too far and low, from where you won’t be able to bring it back without a monumental struggle not to fall over.
Pic 3. Shows Christian ready to start. You can see how he has pulled the bar in to get tension back on the lines so that the kite will respond quickly when he steers it. He has started to drop his weight back to counteract the pull from the kite and is now ready to send the kite across the to 11 o’clock for lift as in Pic 4.
With the kite taken care of for the launch its time to think about the board. We’ve already mentioned the need to get the kite to lift us, and this will be a lot easier if we offer up some form of resistance whilst its moving. Position the board across the wind with a bias to behind you, to help you balance against the kite. In this case Christian has his board so that it lies perpendicular to 11.30 rather than 12 o’clock. Depending on how comfy you feel experiment a little whilst standing. The theory is to get you board facing across where the main surge of power comes from. The harder you swing your kite forward, the earlier the power will turn on and therefore the further back you need to have your board facing.
This is the bit that will suit the ballerinas among you, as it requires a certain amount of finesse and balance work. The trick is to anticipate the pull from the kite, so you need to be ready and already leaning back for when the pull comes. Lean back early and end up on your buttocks, lean back late and you’ll be tripped up by your own footstraps when the power comes on whilst you are still upright. What you actually need to do is try and balance on the heelside edge of the board, with your weight over the board with your toes pulled up, feathering the kite to hold you up by gently sheeting in or out. The gustier it is the harder it will be. In this position as soon as you feel the kite start to pull you can push yourself back off the edge to get you weight upwind of the board and you’ll have the edge to spring off.
Follow Sequence 2
- Pic 1. With the board angled slightly back on a dry bit of sand Christian has slipped into his footstraps, moved the kite slowly back and is balancing on his heels against the kite ready to go.
- Pic 2. Christian has sent the kite hard across by pulling on his front hand and sheeting in. As he does this he drops his weight upwind of the board and pushes away from his heels to dig the edge in, and turns his head to focus on where he wants to go.
- Pic 3. As he feels himself lift Christian jumps up off the ground from his heels. If you use your toes the board may well stick, just as it would on water.
- Pic 4. Having sent the kite from his right to his left Christian will not only travel up but also to his left. Much like a jump Christian keeps the kite above him by levelling the bar out, to keep the float. It would also be a good idea to bring your knees up towards your hands to help with your balance in the air.
- Pics 5 & 6. The entire time that Christian feels that he is still lifting he keeps the bar pulled right in to keep tension on the lines and the kite above him. If you sheet out your kite could fly towards the wind over your head, and drop you.
- Pics 7 & 8. As Christian feels himself drop he needs to get himself ready for the landing. He dives the kite hard with his front hand. This will pull him further out and away from the beach and give him some forward momentum to land with. This is only possible because Christian kept the kite above him during the initial lift and kept the bar pulled in.
- Pic 9. Christian extends his legs and lets his feet drop down under him. The pull of the diving kite helps Christian twist his board slightly off the wind as he concentrates on where he will land.
- Pic 10. Christian lands tail first on a level board with the kite still pulling.
- Pics 11 & 12. Finally he soaks up the landing, regathers and then carves up onto his edge and sails away.
Board sticking to the sand and you get pulled forward and out of the straps. As long as the sand is not too wet and gluey, this is the cause of not leaning back against your edge as you send the kite across. If you find the balance tricky, or the wind is gusty try sitting down.
If you keep falling backwards before the kite pulls you. Chances are you need to be more aggressive with sending the kite across, and keep that bar in.
Dropping into the water with no speed. Think of it as an air gybe, you need the kite to pull you out of the move as you have very little momentum. So you must dive the kite. However if you have let the kite drift too far in front of you in the air there will be no power to be had, so keep it above you and keep the bar in.
If you are not so good at landing in the direction you need to you can always land on your stronger foot as in Video 2.
- Board biased to where you start the kite from.
- Drop your weight onto your edge as you send the kite
- Jump up off your heels
- Kite above you head with bar in
- Dive hard to land.
This technique article was in Issue 19 of IKSURFMAG.