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Kiteboarding Tricks And Jumps For Beginners | Tricky Kitejumps!

Doing tricks is one of the major elements of kitesurfing. While it is more popular among the younger kitesurfers, you are “never too old to learn”. It is is fun and could be useful on a not-so-epic day when you can practice new ways to “show off” on better days. 

Table of Contents

On this page, we will describe various popular kitesurf techniques that an average or rookie kiter can learn comfortably. Also, we try to focus on the tricks that are specific to kitesurfing (or fundamental to it) as opposed to techniques 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 borrowed from any other water sports)

High And Floaty Kiteboarding Jumps

Huge Jump! Photo by Steve Slaby. 

Huge jumps (over 15′) are a requirement for many beginning or intermediate surfers (board-off, invert board, etc.) as you need more air time or height to perform.

Requirements To Do High Kitesurf Jumps

  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 have to edge aggressively to stay on track.  It’s is debatable 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 To Jump (for kitesurfer going to the left):

  1. Go fast on a beam reach.  If you don’t have enough speed, go downwind briefly to gather speed before go back to a beam reach.
  2. Put your kite high at 10 o’clock
  3. Turn your 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 of 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 Kitesurfing Jump 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 downwind 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. The kite has already been sinking: Turn it forward when the acceleration eases.

Kiteboarding Tricks For Beginners Video

If you want some 101 inspirations to grow your skills fast, I recommend watching this video. 

Grab Your Kiteboard While Jumping

As you saw at the very beginning of the video above, grabbing your board in a nose grab when jumping is quite easy and common. 

Nose Grab. Photo by Steve Slaby. 

Grab tricks are borrowed from skateboarding. While they are essential in skateboarding, it just looks stylish in kiteboarding when done by itself. It is essential only when used in more advancde Board-off tricks.

Requirements For Doing A Kiteboard Nose Grab:

  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.

Nose-Grab Step-by-step

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

Tips: Common Kite-Jumping Mistakes

Can’t control the kite properly with 1 hand to land? Try to jump and land with only 1 hand without Grab first. Jump is not high or floaty enough to have time to do the grab? Jump higher.  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.

Kitesurf High Jumps Video

This video should quickly give you a better feel for how to making your jumps higher. 

High Spinning Jump Tricks

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. 

Brent in the middle of a spin. 

Requirements For Spinning Tricks

  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 For Spinning Jumps

  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 your 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 When Jump Spinning

  1. Forgot to turn the kite forward: Once air-born, immediately put pressure on the front hand (or take the rear 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 rear hand throughout the spin. Not bringing the kite forward after landing, as in a normal jump or spin.

Video of Kiteboard Backflip From Toeside

You may not be spinning several rounds doing this trick. However, learning the backflip is a good starter. 

Board-Off Jump

You can find most 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.

Courtesy of KiteLoose.com. 

Requirements For Board-Off Jumping:

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

Steps For Doing Board Off Jumps:

  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 When Kitejumping:

  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 is 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). 

Board-Off Jump Video

Been doing your first board-off jump yet? If not, this video might give you some inspiration. 

Kiteboarding Invert Tricks

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

Courtesy of KiteLoose. 

Requirements For Invert Jumps:

  1. Skills needed: Must be able to Jump Huge. 
  2. Equipment needed:  Same equipment requirement as Jump Huge.
  3. Conditions needed: Same conditions as Jump Huge. 

Steps For Jumping:

  1. Start the jump as you normally do.
  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.

Kitesurfing Common Mistakes:

Not enough air time: 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 Jump Tricks

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. 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 loops while you do all those spinnings.)

Courtesy of KiteLoop.

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

Courtesy of Best Kiteboarding.

Requirements For The Back Roll Kiteloop

  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: The same conditions as Jump Huge and Spin.

Steps For Jumping

  1. Start the jump as you normally do (move the kite up closer to zenith than a 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 rear 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. The reason is that you will be landing with more power.

Back Roll Kiteloop Video

Here is an easy-to-understand video that should help you nail your first back loop. 

Common Mistakes When Kitelooping:

  1. Your kite didn’t loop properly: Not committed enough. Try to crank your kite clockwise 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 (it is better to under-turn in Back Spin Kiteloop as you want to be downwind at landing).
  3. Crashlanding: 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 and challenging (and downright impossible for mere mortals).

Other Kitesurf Jump Tricks

A video showing examples of a whole variety of jump tricks. If you are at the beginning stages, it should be of inspiration. If you want to read more about kitesurfing jump tricks, then why not check out Iksurfmag. 

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