Popped Front Loop to Toeside Kitesurfing Technique

Popped Front Loop to Toeside

Technique / Intermediate

Introduction

A while back we went through the sent, jumped version of this, and now it’s time for the next step, the popped one. If you haven’t yet tried this using the kite we suggest you do, as you’ll have more time and be in a more balanced position from which to land toe side. If you have and therefore have adapted your front rotation to land toe side then read on.

So first things first! As with learning any pop trick you can do two things to make it easier.

Firstly keep your kite relatively high. Aspiring to a low 45˚ kite position is all good and well, but learning will be a world easier if you park your kite just around 11 or 1. With your kite here you’ll get some float from the kite once you pop, giving yourself more time to complete the move and a considerably softer landing, and therefore hopefully a more consistent and confident base on which to improve.

Secondly you’ll need to approach with comfortable speed, moderate power and sufficient trim, so that you are able to push the board off the wind with a straight front leg, whilst keeping both your hips and shoulders back over the tail of the board. Which in turn will allow you to cut back upwind with your body weight low and pop hard off the back leg before you slow down, and set you up for a down wind landing.

If you’re happy with the above then looking at some key moment should piece it all together nicely.

Pic A

Popping into a front loop still requires the explosive kick off your back foot. If you are low enough on entry you should be able to get a decent up kick by extending the back leg. As you extend you need to initiate the front loop by throwing your front shoulder down. So far nothing new. Now looking at Karine you can see that she has popped up hard but has not turned her head back. This is because she wants a fairly slow rotation, so she merely throws her shoulders and head forward and lifts her front knee. Also note how she is leaning on the front hand, already steering the kite forward. You will naturally tend to pull on your back hand as you carve up, so to compensate for the kite rising you need to pull it back down.

Pic B

Now we can see that Karine is happily rotating into her front loop. She’s committed to the pop as the kite is still angled forward, but she is no longer pulling on her front hand, just keeping the bar still whilst she spins. To make sure that she keeps turning, Karine has now looked around over her back shoulder. This will also enable her to see where she is in relation to the water and where she’ll land. The major difference here to a normal popped front loop though, is her back leg and to a degree her front leg too. Karine has not bought her knees up towards her hands, but rather left her feet and board behind her. This will keep her rotation slower, and make the toe side landing easier as the board will not rotate around all the way in front of her. Meaning that she can complete the rotation with her head and shoulders but not with the board.

Pic C

Karine holds this position all the way around until she can see where she’ll be landing. The entire time she keeps the bar in, and with tension on the lines the kite continues to fly and continues to pull her through her rotation. Karine concentrates and focuses on were she thinks she land, and with the board still following behind, she can turn her head and shoulders towards this point.

Pic D

This picture really shows the need for a bit of float when you first learn this. With the kite still pulling Karine forwards and down wind gravity takes over, with the weight of the board forcing it and Karine’s feet down towards the water. As long as she has enough height/float, the board will swing under Karine without completing a full 360˚,allowing her to land tail first on a flat board, pointing down wind. From this position she can then soak up the landing and carve up onto her toes.

Top Tips

The most obvious bit of advice for this move is to try it heading towards your strongest toe side as the body will find it almost natural to allow the board and feet to fall this way. Heading on your favoured heel side will encourage you to instinctively to lift the knees and lead with the board, making the toe side landing very difficult.

Keeping the bar in and tension on the back lines will pull you through and out of the move. If you let the bar out, the kite will fly to the edge of the window and you will need to rotate even less!

Sequence 1. For the full Monty

  • Pic 1. With her kite just below 1 o’clock, Karine suddenly bears off the wind with her front leg straight, weight back and then cuts up hard.
  • Pic 2. Without using the kite Karine explodes up off her back leg by stamping aggressively with her back foot, kicking against the board.
  • Pic 3. Karine initiates her front loop by throwing her shoulders and head down and forwards towards the nose of the board, whilst keeping the bar in and the kite moving forwards. If you feel your kite rising, this is the moment to steer it down with your front hand.
  • Pic 4. As she rotates Karine leaves her back leg straight, and therefore the board behind her.
  • Pic 5. Karine leads with her head and shoulders. To keep the rotation going she turns her head and looks over her back shoulder.
  • Pics 6 & 7. Karine keeps her bar pulled in and already tries to spot her landing.
  • Pic 8. As she comes around the board starts to drop and Karine gives a little pull on the bar so that the kite pulls her down wind.
  • Pic 9. With the board dropping and swinging under her Karine fully extends both legs ready for the landing.
  • Pic 10. And touches down, tail first, on a flat board heading down wind. All Karine needs to do now is carve back up onto her toe side edge.

Common Problems

If you find that you are rotating too far and lading on your heels it could be a whole medley of reasons. However most likely is that you’re throwing a fast spin using your head at take off, and bringing your knees up and through, leading with the board – so slower spin and straight legs.

If you are landing toe side but fall in down wind of the board. This is a result of not rotating enough, landing on an edge and the power in the kite pulling you over. You must land downwind as then you’ll be over the board and running towards the kite.

Keystones

  1. Kite high-ish
  2. Down wind, carve and stamp
  3. Extend Up and rotate down without head
  4. Bar in, kite forwards.
  5. Straight back leg.

This technique article was in Issue 33 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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