Roast Beef Back Roll Kitesurfing Technique

Roast Beef Back Roll

Technique / Intermediate


We’re always on at you about spicing moves up with a cheeky grab or two. Funnily enough, a guest on one of our last clinics who could throw a hefty plethora of moves down did get well into the concept. To quote Jason, “I won’t do a jump without a grab now.” So this one is for all of you who agree: a sent back roll with a Roast Beef grab.

You may recall the Roast Beef, but in case you don’t, it’s the back hand grabbing your heelside edge, just in front of your back foot with your arm reaching down through your legs. What makes these grabs tricky is adding the required body position to a move that you’re so used to doing in a particular sub conscious way. Being able to Roast Beef in a straight jump doesn’t necessarily make it any easier to add it to a back roll than cooking up a decent Sunday spread. Although at least you know that your body is capable of the required contortions!

So, let’s have a gander at what’ll make this easier to stick.

Slow Mo Pic A

Being able to add any grab of substance to a sent back rotation requires one thing, a slow rotation. If you hack it round like a Tasmanian Devil you’re either going to over rotate or have no time and balance to get the grab in. Going around slow will give you the awareness, balance and confidence to concentrate on the grab. First part of slowing it down is to send the kite. Your kite needs to go back behind 12 o’clock from either 1 or 11. With a decent send the pull from the kite will break your rotation into two parts, two 180˚ if you like. Karine has given the kite a sharp send from 11 o’clock to past 12. This will only work if you keep your back leg strong and edge against the kite. The second part of slowing your rotation down is what you do on take off. If you look at Karine, she has extended up into her rotation with her head looking forwards perpendicular to her shoulders. She uses her edge to get a small amount of rotation, but she’s not throwing her head around, bending her back leg and spinning into it. In short it’s send and up, not drift and around.

Timing Pic B

When to go for the grab is your next concern. You need time to get your legs up, having extended up into the loop, and you need to be balanced with the kite just behind 12 o’clock. On take off you should already pull on your front hand as you extend up, this will stop the kite continuing back and will get it moving slowly forwards. You can see in the picture that Karine is about half way into her rotation, so by this stage she is happy that her kite is supporting her, still behind 12, therefore she can keep the bar in whilst she is almost stalled in the sense that her rotation is slow. Both her knees are up, so everything is ready. As such she can release her back hand in anticipation of the grab.

The Grab Pic C

Adding the spice, which in this case should perhaps be horseradish in preference to the usual mustard. The question is how to get yourself into a decent Roast Beef from the previous picture of both knees high? The humble answer is to now pull the back knee up even more, right into your chest. This should give you an easier path between your legs to that elusive heel side edge. Do look at where you want to grab the board, going purely by feel may get you a lucky tickle, but for a solid hold use your eyes. You can clearly see that Karine is focused on that part of the board. It’s also worth noting that Karine has her bar in on the sweet spot, so she’s supported and therefore it’s more movements in the chair of air rather than ab strength and flexibility. Finally, and not to be forgotten, is the matter of continuing your slow rotation and not freezing half way around. Once you’ve got the grab get pulling on your front hand to drift the kite forwards. This will generate pull from the front side of the window and keep you rotating.

Enjoy It Pic D

Once you’ve got the grab it’s time to make the most of it, enjoy it and show it. Here Karine pulls the grab in towards her, whilst extending her front leg away from her, tweaking and boning it. With your back hand pulling on the board you’ll feel more balanced and less likely to overdo it with the front hand on the bar. As the kite moves slowly forwards you’ll come around, and with the front leg boned and pointing back it will keep the rotation slow. Note that Karine still has her head looking forwards, she’s not looking over her shoulder, which could make her over rotate.

Touch Down Pic E

And finally, the all-important landing. As Karine comes around to face downwind she releases her back hand from the grab and starts to dive the kite aggressively with her front hand. It’s tempting to let the kite drift rather than dive it, but if you do you’ll land on an edge and without power. By diving it the resultant power will pull you out of your rotation and it’ll be much easier to land softly, tail first and downwind.

Top Tips

Time and float are your friends, so giving the kite a decent send as if you were going for a jump is key. Not only does the send give you some height, but as you redirect the kite towards 12 o’clock after take off this movement will give you the desired float and hang time. If you drift your kite up, you’ll most likely experience a pulling feeling whilst you go for the grab, as the kite will already be moving down, rather than up.

Make sure that you resist with the back leg when you send the kite. In a back rotation it is too easy to soften the leg and roll back rather than stamping up into the rotation.

Now take in the videos and sequence so that you can visualise the move as a whole.

Common Problems

Not getting the grab! Assuming that you can already Roast Beef, the reason for not getting it in the back roll will be a lack of send and therefore float and time. Send it and make it slow.

Over rotating without getting the grab! Take a step back and concentrate on some slow back rolls. You’re likely spinning into it, so make sure you extend against your back leg as the kite lifts and do not look over your front shoulder to initiate the rotation.

Getting the grab but over rotating! Nine times out of ten this will be because you are inverting your back roll too much. If you lift the board too high by rolling your head back as you rotate, your board, which is quite heavy, will take a short cut, which speeds your rotation up. So keep your head and shoulders up and over the bar.


  1. Send and extend = slow
  2. Head looking straight between shoulders
  3. Lift both knees high into chest
  4. Look for grab with bar in
  5. Pull back knee up even more

This technique article was in Issue 54 of IKSURFMAG.


By Christian and Karine
Christian and Karine have been working together as a coaching team, running improver to advanced kitesurfing clinics since 2003.

Problems? Ask Below