Hi Everyone. So you’ve just completed your kitesurfing course. You’ve started to get up on the board and ride like the wind. If you are getting up and riding, chances are your tearing off downwind flat out but your loving it anyway. That been said, after a while your going to start getting tired with walking back up wind for another go. This manaouvre is commonly known as the kitesurfing walk of shame. Weve all done it. So, the object of this blog is to give you some handy tips so that you can move through and start driving yourself way way upwind.Riding upwind, that is the key to mastering of the art of kitesurfing. That’s when you can start busting all those tricks you see
the other kiteboarders doing. So get riding upwind sorted and your riding will improve out of sight. Here are some key points to think about for upwind riding.
Choose the right Kitesurfing gear
I cannot stress this enough. Picking a user friendly set of equipment will get you riding up wind in a matter of days. Picking the wrong gear may mean you stay down wind doing the walk of shame all season. I see both scenarios all the time. It makes me real happy to see someone ripping upwind in a matter of days and it really saddens me to see someone perfectly capable of getting going on the right equipment really struggling on crap gear. Heres the low down on gear according to me:
Get a Big Kite
You need power to go up wind. A big kite means you can really lay you’re board edge in and work on your up wind technique. If you are under powered you will be fighting to keep going let alone riding up wind. These days most kites are very safe and have loads of depower. I highly recommend getting out there on something that is really going to pull you. Do your research and find someone you can trust to give you sound advice on this.
Get a Big Board and Fins
A big board will get you up on the plane quickly and floats well. It goes hand in hand with the big kite. More power means
more ability to edge which in turn means ripping up wind. Having bigger fins will help even more. This allows you to keep tracking easily. Smaller fins allow for a more skatier feel which is great for more experienced riders. But for the new kiter its so important to be able to crank upwind if you want to see improvement in yourself. So stick with the bigger board and fins for now.
Get a Waist Harness
The new waist harnesses are very comfortable. In the olden days they used to ride up pulling on your rib cage. Not any more. The modern harness sits well across your waist giving excellent core support and total leg and hip freedom needed for developing good technique. In turn, the rider edges harder with the legs and really develops good stance for upwind riding.
Get speed up first
You really need to bear off downwind, get your speed up and then start leading into the wind. If you are not going fast, you cannot lay a decent edge. So speed up, load up, then you can point upwind.
Trim Your Kite
As you start to edge, easy your bar out without losing too much speed. This will cause the kite to move further forward in the wind window. The further toward the edge of the window the kites sits while under power, the more upwind you will go. A kite the sits deep in the power zone will literally drag you down wind. So observe the kite and be mindful of where it sits. Experiment with your trimming to get this right. Remember not to ride with the bar way out. Your bar should sit about a hand with from your chicken loop. This will allow you to lean back and really dig those heels in. If you are completely maxed out with the bar right out then its time to pull the depower strap so that your bar comes in closer to your waist. If you are still riding with your bar way out then lengthen your back lines with the adjuster knots.
If you can visualise what you are about to do, its will help you alot in the actual process. Create the process in your mind before you get out on the water and see how this effects your results. Look at the way others ride. Look at their stance. Try to identify a rider with a relaxed good looking stance and try some of the things that rider does.
Choose the right conditions for Kitesurfing
Get the conditions right. Steady breeze and flat water are the optimum conditions for this. Flat water will enable you to really work on your edging without skimming out on chop. That been said, once you have your upwind technique dialed in the flat, get out in the choppy stuff and transfer the skills. A steady breeze is also important. Again, as with the kite and board being correct to get results, you need a constant breeze. If its a maginal light wind day or very gusty and your goal us to practice upwind technique, forget it! Wait until the conditions are right.
Don’t give up. Some days it will all fall into place, and other days you may struggle. So take the good with the not so good and treat it like a game. And remember to keep it light if things dont go right.
Get some professional kitesurfing instruction
Sometimes all that is needed is an hour or two of one on one with your professional instructor. A few professional pointers and tips can save you weeks of heart ache.
So lets get out there and rip it up. Call or email Us if you feel like having a chat. Take care and Happy Kitesurfing
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