Keen to learn your first kiteboarding trick? Let’s start off with a straight ‘air’, or jump. If you can jump properly, it makes it easier to do other more advanced tricks.
This tutorial continues from the first in our series of kitesurfing progression tutorials, Riding Upwind. If you missed that lesson, and you are learning to kitesurf, you might want to read it as well.
The Take Off
Firstly, you want to be powered and staying upwind. Keep the kite between 1 and 2 o’clock if you’re riding right foot forward, build up some decent speed and power, and keep edging hard.
Throw the kite back quickly from 1 o’ clock to around 11 o’clock, pull in the bar and KEEP EDGING. You will get to the point where enough tension has been built up that you won’t be able to edge any more and the kite will launch you off the water. Bring your knees up toward your chest to help keep you stable and prevent you from swinging around under the kite.
This is the key to getting your jumps sorted. If you release your edge too early you will get no height and land with speed downwind. Your goal is to go straight up and straight back down.
Landing your Jump
Once you are in the air, get the kite straight up above you (12 o’clock) and keep holding the bar in to get some good lift and hang time. Once you are on the way down, spot your landing and straighten your legs to absorb the impact on landing. It is important that you don’t lock your knees when landing, as you might hurt them on impact. Keep your knees slightly bent to help absorb the impact. About a meter above the water dive the kite back down toward 1 or 2 o’clock where it was before you initiated the jump. This will give you forward momentum to make your landing softer and get you riding away smoothly after the landing. Remember to point your front leg downwind toward your kite so you ride away in the direction your kite is pulling you.
Don’t release that edge too early at the start of your jump. Wait for the kite to pull you off your edge and up into the air.
- Not getting much height or lift
You need to be going faster and EDGE hard to build up tension in the lines between you and your kite to pull you off the water.
- Not getting much height or lift
You aren’t bringing the kite back quickly enough past 12 o’ clock and you might also not be pulling the bar in to generate more power and lift as the kite is sweeping back past 12.
- Losing balance in the air or swinging around under the kite
Lift up your knees toward your chest so your legs are bent. Also, don’t push off the water too hard with your back leg because that can initiate a spin (like a back roll).
- Landing hard or falling out of the sky with kite going behind you
You need to bring the kite back from 11 to 12 so it is above you while floating through the air. Then just before landing redirect it toward 1 or 2 o’ clock to pull you sideways and downwind a bit.
- Your legs skid out underneath you on landing
Point your front leg toward the kite so you land riding downwind, otherwise you land with both feet square to the kite and the board slides out from under you.
Click on the thumbnails below to see a full jump sequence demonstrating the main steps, or watch the slideshow.
As always, we would love to hear from you… if you are battling with your jumping, feel free to ask questions in the comments below and we will be happy to help you.
Calvin Da Silva (Kitesports)
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