Nose Grab Front Loop Kitesurfing Technique

Nose Grab Front Loop

Technique / Intermediate

Introduction

It’s always a pleasure to add a bit of extra panache to a move that you can already do, even if it is sometimes mildly frustrating to complicate a high percentage move, but hey the learning is fun and the rewards are worth it. We’ll call this the Nose Grab Front, to some of you’ll it’ll be a nose grab front loop and others a nose grab front roll. Either way we’re introducing this as a hooked in sent kite trick, so a variation of your front rotation using the kite for lift and height, whilst using your back hand to grab the nose of the board, so that you can still control the kite and land with your front hand on the bar. So as long as you’re happy spinning forwards it’s game on.

Best place to start is to look at the key moments of this move that will allow you to reach the grab, get enough rotation, and of course finish the move with enough time to spare that you can claim it.

The Take Off

We constantly bang on about the importance of the approach and take off and here is no exception. In fact this make or break moment will test the more manly of you, as there’s some serious multi tasking required. As with a bog standard front loop, your take off will initiate the rotation and is also the moment to get the grabbing process fired up. However what makes this a bit of a brain/body teaser, is the fact that both actions do their best to get in the way of one another, doh!

Pic A. Looking at Karine moments after she has sent the kite back for the jump, we can see that as for a standard front she is kicking hard off her back leg. The kick is not for pop, but to initiate the rotation as it combines with throwing the head and shoulders forward towards the nose of the board to get you spinning as the kite lifts. Normally in addition to this Karine would be turning her head and shoulders back and away from her direction of travel to further help the rotation. Here however she needs to get her back hand onto the nose of the board. Karine releases her back hand as soon as she kicks off her edge, and already reaches it forward towards the nose of the board. The good news is that the kick off encourages the nose to rise towards her. The bad news is that she needs to look for the grab and can therefore not turn her head and shoulders.

In short this means that you will have to kick into the move very hard to get enough inertia to send you all the way around the front. You will also have to commit fully from the off, as with your head looking forward for the grab, it will be tempting to bottle it as the rotation will feel slower than normal.

Grab and Go

Not quite shock and awe but once you’ve committed it’s all about keeping the grab and controlling the kite, which most likely will be a completely new body position. Where you grab is up to you, whether on the nose or across on the heel side edge of the nose, but you must hold on and pull the board towards you. This will help keep the front knee bent and make you rotate faster.

Karine grabs the board on the nose, reaching between her front knee and front arm. Her back leg, although bent is slightly extended. The straighter you have your back leg, the easier it will be to grab the nose, as the board will “tilt” up. Having sent the kite, Karine must now keep the bar in and pull on her front hand to redirect the kite back above her. As long as Karine kicked hard enough she will continue to spin, even though the bar now prevents her from looking over her shoulder. If however you are well powered (which Karine isn’t here), it should now be possible to look back under the bar to help with the rotation.

Finishing the Loop

Coming around her rotation Karine holds on to the grab as long as possible. This has two advantages, the obvious one being that it looks good, but almost more importantly it keeps her small and therefore keeps the rotation going, whilst also encouraging her to keep the bar in and the kite flying with her. If you drop the grab before you can see the water in front of you, you are likely to extend your body and arm, therefore stalling your rotation and loosing control of the kite, thus dropping you down rather than floating you around.

Touch Down

Pic D. If you’ve made it thus far this bit should be easy as it’s pretty standard procedure from here on in! As Karine comes around she drops her grab to get her back hand back on the bar. At the same time she cranks down on her front hand to dive the kite, which will pull her out of her rotation, and pull her downwind for a smooth landing behind the kite. All that’s left now is to drop her legs so that she lands on the board – business as usual.

Top Tips

The nose grab is not the easiest grab to practice on land, but it is certainly worth having a few goes whilst jumping, as you’ll get a feel for where the bar and harness pull and where you have to reach.

Start off by jumping and lifting your front knee whilst keeping your back leg fairly straight, you’ll see the board comes pretty close and that you don’t have to be a gymnast to get it.

Now have a butchers at Sequence 1 and the videos to get the whole move.

Common Problems

Not getting the grab – very easily done and rather upsetting! You have to get the grab done early, so concentrate on getting your back hand off as soon as you feel you’ve sent the kite enough and kick off the back leg. It will be easier to commit to this if you send the kite positively, as without lift from the kite you’ll be throwing yourself down onto the water.

Not completing the rotation! You have to kick off an edge, so make sure you’re edging well into the move, and make sure that as you send the kite you keep that edge. Remember you should be kicking into the rotation from the edge, not a flat board.

Keystones

  1. Good edge and send kite
  2. Initiate rotation with solid kick and release back hand early.
  3. Hold grab in with bent front knee.
  4. Keep the bar in and tension on lines.
  5. Release grab and dive hard for downwind landing.

This technique article was in Issue 37 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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