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Kitesurfing Tricks

Doing trick is one of the major elements of kitesurfing.  While doing tricks is more popular among the younger kitesurfers, you are "never too old to learn a new trick".  Doing tricks is fun and could be useful on a not-so-epic day  when you can practice new tricks to "show off" on better days.  The other advantage of doing trick is that it makes you feel young, no matter how old or young you are, it makes you feel like those teenager days when you "just want to have fun".

On this page, we will attempt to describe the various popular tricks that an average kiter can learn comfortably.  Also we try to focus on the tricks that are specific to kitesurfing (or fundamental to kitesurfing) as opposed to the tricks that are  "borrowed" from other sports such as wakeboarding, surfing, snowboarding, etc. (Kitesurfing will be more attractive if it has its own set of tricks that is not possible or not borrowed from any other sports)

  1. Huge, "Floaty" Jump
  2. Grab
  3. Spin
  4. Board-off
  5. Invert
  6. KiteLoop
  7. Other Tricks

[All the direct links to the videos on this page are provided by Ronny Basso at Kitefilm.com]

Huge, "Floaty" Jump

Huge Jump!

Photo by Steve Slaby

Huge jump (over 15') is a requirement for many beginner/intermediate tricks (Board-off, Invert, etc.) as you need more air time or height to perform the actions required for the tricks.

Requirements:

  1. Skill needed: Must be able to jump and land properly
  2. Equipment needed: To go huge, it is desirable to have a high performance kite (either high or moderate aspect ratio) and large enough for the wind condition. 
  3. Condition needed: As a rule of thumb, if you are riding in the chicken loop, you must be riding with your arms fully extended or half extended.  The more extended your arms when you ride while in the chicken loop, the higher you will jump.  For fixed loop riders, you need to feel lots of power from the kite and has to edge aggressively to stay on track.  It's is debateable whether one can jump higher in a fixed loop or in a chicken loop; however, it is definitely easier to go huge in a chicken loop as one doesn't have to edge that aggressively.

Steps (description for kitesurfer going to the left):

  1. Go fast on a beam reach.  If you don't have enough speed, go down wind briefly to gather speed before go back to a beam reach.
  2. Put your kite high at 10 o'clock
  3. Turn you kite to 1 o'clock (remember that by the time the kite starts to lift you, it will be at 2 o'clock position relative to your new position)
  4. Don't turn the kite forward immediately at lift-off but wait until the kite max out (around half of a second or so)
  5. Crank the kite forward (you should feel the second lift from the kite to make you go even higher or at least it should "float" you at the same altitude for a couple seconds while it flies across the upper power zone)
  6. Prepare to land as normally

So relative to your position when you first start to turn the kite backward for jumping, the kite will move from 10 o'clock to 1 o'clock and then back to 9 o'clock.  Relative to your position at lift-off, the kite is moving from 11 o'clock to 2 o'clock and then back to 10 o'clock.  Either way, the kite will lift you off the ground on the first power stroke and then lift you again or float you on the second.

Common Mistakes:

  1. Not enough power from the kite: Need bigger kite or more wind
  2. Not enough speed: Gather speed before jumping
  3. Not fully committed, slide down wind after turning the kite back: Don't look at the kite after sending it backward
  4. Turn the kite forward too soon before the kite max out: Wait for 1/2 of a second after lift-off before turning the kite forward
  5. Turn the kite forward too late and the kiter has already been sinking: Turn the kite forward when the acceleration eases

Videos:

Click http://www.kitefilm.com/video/jumping_part1.wmv (11 MB) to view some huge jumps video at Kitefilm.com.

Grab

Nose Grab

Photo by Steve Slaby

Grab tricks are borrowed from skateboarding.  While grab tricks are essential in skateboarding, it just looks stylish in kiteboarding when done by itself and only be essential when used in more advance Board-off tricks.

Requirements:

  1. Skill needed: Must be able to jump and land properly.  You may need to jump at least 10' to do the grab if your reaction time is slow.
  2. Equipment needed: No special requirement
  3. Condition needed: No special requirement

Steps:

  1. Start the jump as normally
  2. As soon as you are air-born, take the back hand off the bar, compressed your legs to bring the board closer to your body and grab the board with your back hand
  3. Release your board and land as usual.

Common Mistakes:

  1. Can't control the kite properly with 1 hand to land: Try to jump and land with only 1 hand without Grab first.
  2. Jump is not high or floaty enough to have time to do the grab: Jump higher
  3. Can't bring the board close enough to grab: Tighten your stomach muscle to bring the board closer

Try to vary the place to grab the board or the way you grab it to make the trick more stylish and more interesting.

Videos:

Click http://www.kitefilm.com/video/grabs.wmv (5 MB) to view some the grabs performed in this video at Kitefilm.com.

Spin

Brent in a middle of a spin

 

Claude in a middle of a spin

 

Spinning is one of the most popular tricks in Kitesurfing.  Depending on the duration of the jump and the speed of the spin, a kiter can spin once (360), twice (720), thrice (1080) and more.  For some people, spinning can make you feel dizzy so take it easy and don't spin too much out there ;-)

Requirements:

  1. Skill needed: Must be able to jump and land properly.
  2. Equipment needed: It is desirable to have a spinning or swivel bar so that you can untwist the line afterward.
  3. Condition needed: No special requirement

Steps:

  1. Start the jump as normally
  2. As soon as you are air-born, start turning your head and shoulder in the direction you want to spin (forward or backward) and the rest of you body will follow.
  3. After you have completed the spin, turn your head and look the other way to stop the spinning and extend your legs to prepare for landing.
  4. Land as usual.

Common Mistakes:

  1. Forgot to turn the kite forward: Once air-born, immediately put pressure on the front hand (or take the back hand off the bar - combine that with a Grab).
  2. Under-turn: Need more commitment and turn more aggressively.
  3. Over-turn: Need to turn more slowly and try to time it with the height of your jump.

Try to vary the height of the jump and the number of spins to make the trick more stylish.  Also, try to combine Grabs with Spins.

You can make a spin into a transition (change direction) by keeping pressure on the back hand through out the spin and not bringing the kite forward after landing as in a normal jump or spin.

Videos:

Click http://www.kitefilm.com/video/the_frontloop.wmv ( 4 MB) to view a front loop (spin) video and http://www.kitefilm.com/video/frontloop_transition.wmv (4 MB) to view a front loop (spin) transition video at Kitefilm.com.

Board-Off

Courtesy of KiteLoose.com

You can find most kiteboarding tricks in a "wakeboard dictionary"; however, one of the most stylish moves in kiteboarding that you will not find in wakeboarding is the board-off move.  As its name implies, the move requires you to take one or both feet off the board.

Requirements:

  1. Skill needed:  Must be able to Jump Huge and Grab
  2. Equipment needed:  It is desirable to have a board handle, a board small enough and same kite requirement as Jump Huge
  3. Condition needed: Same condition as Jump Huge

Steps:

  1. Start the jump as normally
  2. As soon as you are air-born, start grabbing the board and take one or both feet off the board.  If only one foot is off the board, you can grab the tail of the board.  If both feet are off, it is easier to grab the board by the board handle. In the beginning, try taking off 1 foot first.
  3. Put your foot or both feet back in the strap and extend your legs to prepare for landing.
  4. Land as usual.

Common Mistakes:

  1. Don't have enough air time:  Need to jump higher or floatier to have more air time or do the trick faster (try to take the board off immediately right after take off and put it right back without doing anything in between for the first few tries).

Try to vary your Board-off sequence: back foot off (easiest), both feet off, front foot off and try to combine Board-Off with Spin and Invert.

Board-off normally done hooked-in; however, you may want to try unhooked Board-off (if you already know how to do Board-off, unhooked Board-off should not be too hard if you can hang on to a bar with just your left arm)

Videos:

Click http://www.kitefilm.com/video/boardoff_tricks.wmv (10 MB) to view Board-Off video at Kitefilm.com.

Invert

Courtesy of KiteLoose.com

Invert is a family of tricks that you do it with your feet up and your head down (your body is in an invert position).  You can combine Invert with all the other tricks: Grab, Spin, Board-off, etc.

Requirements:

  1. Skill needed:  Must be able to Jump Huge
  2. Equipment needed:  Same equipment requirement as Jump Huge
  3. Condition needed: Same condition as Jump Huge

Steps:

  1. Start the jump as normally
  2. As soon as you are air-born, bring your feet up in the air and your head down
  3. Bring your feet down
  4. Land as usual

Common Mistakes:

  1. Don't have enough air time:  Need to jump higher or floatier to have more air time or do the Invert faster

Try to combine Invert with all other tricks you know, you will find that they will become more interesting and challenging.

KiteLoop

Courtesy of KiteLoose.com

 

Courtesy of Best Kiteboarding

Kiteloop is a family of tricks that you loop the kite while spinning.  Normally you loop the kite one way and spin the other way such that at the end of the trick your lines are not twisted  (actually this is not really a requirement for the trick but more a confirmation that the kite actually loop while you do all those spinnings).

We'll describe the most common type of Kiteloop, the Back Spin Kiteloop where you do a Back Spin and loop the kite (clock wise if going to the left and counter-clock wise if going to the right).

Requirements:

  1. Skill needed:  Must be able to Jump Huge (enough air time for the kite to loop) and Spin (Back Spin)
  2. Equipment needed:  Same equipment requirement as Jump Huge and Spin.  You may want to use shorter lines (15m to 20m) for more response from the kite, faster looping and less power during the loop.
  3. Condition needed: Same condition as Jump Huge and Spin

Steps:

  1. Start the jump as normally (move the kite up closer to zenith than normal jump to make it easier while learning)
  2. As soon as you are air-born, start doing a Back Spin and then very aggressively pull on your back hand to loop the kite (if you are hooked in, it's best to take the front hand off the bar completely)
  3. Time your Back Spin such that when you complete the spin, the kite also completes the loop - you will be landing with full power (it's best to learn kite loop in slightly underpowered condition as the landing could be very brutal otherwise)
  4. Land as usual but try to point your board more downwind than usual as you will be landing with more power than normally

Common Mistakes:

  1. Kite didn't loop properly: Not committed enough. Try to crank your kite clock wise as hard as you can; otherwise, it will not complete the Kiteloop before you complete the Spin.  Take your front hand off the bar.
  2. Over-turn and Under-turn: try to adjust your spinning speed as per condition (its is better to under-turn in Back Spin Kiteloop as you want to be down wind at landing).
  3. Crash landing: Use shorter lines and go more downwind on landing.

Try to vary the KiteLoop direction, the number of Kiteloops/Spins, Grabs, Inverts and all other tricks you know, you will find that they will become more interesting, challenging (to down right impossible for mere mortal ;-).

Videos:

Click http://kitefilm.com/video/kiteloops.wmv (11 MB) to view a kiteloop video at Kitefilm.com.

Other Tricks

You can find videos of other basic and advance tricks at the Kitefilm.com web site http://kitefilm.com/eng/download.asp or the PKRA web site: http://www.pkra.info/jumps/trick_results2003.php

 


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