Melon Grab to Toeside Kitesurfing Technique

Melon Grab to Toeside

Technique / Intermediate

Introduction

Adding grabs to any move guarantees extra spice and will undoubtedly make it feel even better. There are also times when a quick fix is needed, when you don’t want to be slamming yourself and the mind just isn’t in game on mode, so refreshing something that you can already do is a relatively simple and gratifying experience. So bring on the Melon!

First things first, what or rather where is a Melon grab. Well we’re not going to be too pedantic about it’s exact position at first, but you’ll be aiming to grab the heel side edge of your board between your feet, with your front hand. Chances are that you’ll end up much closer to your front foot than your back one. The advantage to this though is that at least you’ll be able to tweak it out by pushing your back foot forward, which not only makes it a Melon, but also takes you nicely to Toe side.

Rather than over complicate this, let’s consider what we need to improve, exaggerate or change in order to transform our pop to toe side into a Melon to toe side.

The Pop

No doubt we’ll all agree and take it as a given that to have sufficient time to sneak a cheeky grab in we’ll need some extra oomph up off the water. This’ll be helped either by a little ramp or more speed on flat water. Either way, by softening the back leg and pushing the board further off the wind with your hips back over the tail of the board before carving back up, you’ll gain both speed and at the same time prevent yourself from slowing down too much as you carve up. In this position you can carve aggressively onto a serious edge from which your back leg stamp should bounce you up rather nicely.

The knock on effect of a serious pop is that the board will already be turning into the wind as it rockets off the water, meaning that it’s already on it’s way to toe side. In the photo you can see that as Karine blasts up off her back leg the board pushes around into wind in it’s usual wheelie take off position. As it does Karine lifts her front leg, bringing the board up under her and closer to her body, ready for stage two.

The Grab

This bit is worth practicing and visualising on land first, unless you’re a well rehearsed seasoned boarder, either standing or balancing off the edge of your sofa. Grabbing the heel edge with your front hand shouldn’t be too difficult, but twisting the board around and boning the front leg out (as per the bona fide Melon) may require a modicum of concentration and preparation.

That said, due to your explosive take off, the board and your body should already be making moves towards the correct position. Karine has grabbed the heel side edge of her board just behind her original front foot. As the board came up off the water she brought her front knee up towards her chest making it easier to reach down and grab the board. Rather than concentrating on the tweak Karine leaves her popping leg, the back one, straight as she turns her shoulders upwind while reaching for the grab et voila, a fine looking boned out Melon – result.

The Landing

Looking here at Karine you can see that the beauty of the exaggerated take off results in a relatively simple toe side landing. With the board turning through the wind, and Karine reaching down for the grab, the board has magically turned to toe side. To claim the move, victory and success all Karine needs to do is drop the grab, extend her legs under her so that her weight comes forward and over the board, away from the tail, and possibly (if the kite has moved up) get her front hand back on to steer the kite down a bit.

Top Tips

Definitely try this on whichever side you feel most comfortable riding toe side. This way your head, shoulders and body will naturally go with the carve and pop, making both the grab, tweak and toe side landing considerably easier.

Make sure you get you back hand central on the bar, so that your kite doesn’t rise during the move.

Make sure that you focus on popping up and leaving the back leg straight, before you bring the board up towards you for the grab.

Now have a look at the Sequence and Videos for real time how to.

Common Problems

The main problem is the original back leg. If you pop and then bring this leg up, bending your back knee, your board will not turn through the wind, and you’ll naturally feel the desire to land heel side.

You may also lean too far back away from the board on take off, which will result in you turning off axis. This result will be that even if you do make the grab and land toe side, you’ll have too much weight on the tail and will therefore stop once you touch down.

Keystones

  1. Bear Away
  2. Carve and pop aggressively
  3. Front Knee Up, Back Leg Straight
  4. Front hand grab
  5. Drop legs so weight over board

This technique article was in Issue 36 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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