Twin Tip Toeside Duck Tack Kitesurfing Technique

Twin Tip Toeside Duck Tack

Technique / Intermediate


It’s a while ago now that we covered the original twin tip duck tack. To kick off the New Kiting Year with fireworks, Champers and a full compliment of bells and whistles we’re going to celebrate. 2017’s first move, drum roll please, is its rather attractive cousin, the twin tip duck tack from toeside.

Much like the former variant, this can also be used to practice for the surfboard equivalent, but we’re rather fond of it as a thoroughbred twin tip move in its own right. So what is the twin tip toeside duck tack? In theory it should be simples! A 180 turn upwind, starting in a toeside riding position. Yup zoom in on your toes, crank it up and through the wind, and bingo,back off from whence you came. If that’s not enough info, please read on…

To attempt this, you need no more than a decent toeside so that you can enter with speed. This is also a carving move - so the more proficient you are with your carves, the easier the first part should be. Assuming that you can approach this OK, let us start by looking at the individual important bits.

Pic A. The Kite

There is no coincidence that in all things “tack”, the position of the kite is key. The perfect place for your kite to be is bang up above you at 12 o’clock. The idea behind it is simple enough – with the kite at 12 it doesn’t pull you down wind, so you’re free to turn underneath it, and use it’s support from above when required. However, there is a negative to having the kite high. The lift it generates makes it hard to edge, enough of a problem on heelside yet alone when you’re on your toes, so carving upwind would be nigh on impossible. The solution to this is to sheet the bar out, and this will only be possible if you trim your bar in to begin with. Now the final piece – how do you get the kite up there? Quickly. If you look at Christian in the picture you can see that he’s edging in on his toes, free hand forward to keep his weight forward and the board planning. The kite is about 11 o’clock, so he can edge and come in with speed. He steers the kit quickly up towards 12 with his back hand and pushes the bar out, so that it doesn’t pull him back down wind. He’s feathering the bar out as the kite pulls. If you drift the kite up it won’t let you carve.

Pic B. The Carve

Once your kite is moving and on it’s final push for the Zenith it’s time to get your carve on. If you wait just a trifle too long you won’t be able to drop your weight as the kite will hold you up! As the kite rises Christianreaches his arm to forwards and upwind towards the water, effectively this will be the centre of his turning circle. He drops his weight low by really flexing his ankles. This means that his hips drop low towards the water as well as his shoulders. In short he’s not breaking at the waist and sticking his ass in the air. Note the bar is at full reach so at the moment the kite is not fighting back, but Christian is still weighting his back hand so that the kite continues all the way to 12.

Pic C. The Drive

If you’ve ever studied surf fins, you’ll have heard of drive. In simple terms you push against them and they drive you forward. This is a carving move, so you need to drive the board around the corner. As his weight drops Christian pushes against the board, driving with his legs, squirting the board forward, like pumping a skateboard or carving a snowboardor skis. This is the carve, you must not go all gooey and soft, otherwise the board will stop, you’ve got to drive it around the bend. Looking at the picture there is one crucial body movement which helps you carve and prevents you from sliding. Christian’s shoulders are facing forwards as if each arm were on different sides of the board. You can see the spray coming off the board as it carves all the way through the wind. Bar is still out and steering the kite to make sure it’s at 12.

Pic D. Just a little bit further!

With his hand planted Christian is literally carving around his centre line directly underneath the kite which is now pretty much exactly at 12. This is your aim, to carve through the wind until you’re pointing back in the other direction, albeit with your weight downwind on the wrong side of the board. You can see as Christian slows he is still driving the board, with both knees pointing forwards, and his shoulders are still up. If you bend at the waist the next part will be extremely difficult. It’s worth noting as well, that as Christian comes up through the wind his weight moves forward on the board. This is to say that using his knees, he pushes his hips towards the nose of the board and therefore places more weight onto his front foot. At this stage the balance should be 50/50 front and rear.

Pic E. Get Up, Stand Up

If you look at this part of the move on video it looks complicated. How on earth do you get from leaning downwind of the board to back over it. Well as chance would have it having the kite at 12 o’clock is the golden ticket. Looking at Christian, he’s pulled the bar in, which will give him support and lift from above, which enables him to straighten up. He’s also pushing his front hand away from him, and as the kite lifts the centre line pushes him back up over the board. One caveat here though. This will only work if you’ve managed to get your weight forward and shared between your feet.

Pic F. Dive & Go

All that’s left is to dive the kite and get your weight back to resist the power, so that you can ride off into the sunset. You may have noticed in the previous picture that Christian was already diving his kite as it pushed him up. The earlier that you get the kite diving, the drier your tack will be. For your first attempts though you can stand then dive to reduce the un-necessary clutter of multi tasking. Here Christian drops his hips back towards the back of the board and upwind, which means that as the kite surges he’s able to push the nose of his board off the wind with his front foot and celebrate his first new move of 2017!

Top Tips

In order of appearance; bar trimmed in, good speed on a solid toeside edge, move the kite quickly up, drop your hand down and forwards, flex your ankles, drive with your knees, keep your shoulders facing forwards, throw your weight forward as you come through the wind and have your kite at 12 o’clock to lift you. These are the parts that make up the sum. It’s actually quite a lot to work on, so break it down into achievable chunks. Your first efforts should concentrate on moving the kite up quickly whilst getting a decent carve. Once you’ve got that base down, the rest should follow suit.

Keep in mind that it’s preferable to move the kite too far over and across past 12 o’clock than not moving it enough.

Now have a thorough look through the sequence and videos to see exactly when and where each element comes into play.

Common Problems

We think you’re probably expecting this, but assuming that you’re on a good toeside most issues are going to come from the kite and its position.

If you can’t carve upwind at all, you’re drifting the kite up too slowly and using if for support. Push against the board using your legs to generate speed, and move the kite up quickly and with as little tension in the lines as possible.

If you’re carving well, but you can’t get through the wind, it’s a result of the kite pulling you. This will either be because it hasn’t gone up to 12, or due to you not sheeting out fully. If you are sheeting out and the kite is near 12, then you need to trim more.

If you’re getting through the wind, but then find that your centre line is in the way and subsequently you’re forced to arch you back and fall behind the board. This is more often than not due to the kite not being at 12 yet, so it’s still trying to carry on and therefore pulling you. Try to be more aggressive to get the kite up quickly.

If you’re making it around, but are forced back at the last minute so that you claim a very wet one, it’s a result of pulling the bar in too early. Make sure you’re fully around and have your weight forward before you ask for the kite’s help.


  1. Solid toeside with bar trimmed in.
  2. Move kite up to 12 quickly and push bar out
  3. Drop your hand down and carve from your ankles
  4. Drive through the wind using your knees and move weight forwards
  5. Sheet in and push down on bar to lift before diving

This technique article was in Issue 61 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.

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