Down Loops are the first step in learning kiteloops.
Today we are going to be going over how to land with a downloop. A downloop is different from a heli loop because they are more of a transitional loop used at the end of a jump, trick or transition. A heli loop will catch you softly, whereas a downloop will help, but more so pull you into the other direction. You may land hot, but it won’t be the same amount of pull as a kiteloop, Make sure always to land with your board pointed downwind
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If you were only to try one trick from all of our videos, this would be the one. I say this because incorporating kite movement into your tricks is one of the most fun aspects of kiteboarding. Not only that, but you can use a downloop with any trick at any time. Looping early will make all your current tricks more intense, while looping right before landing is incredibly satisfying. Even adding a downloop after landing makes the transition feel powered, controlled and stylish. At the end of the day, if you aren't incorporating some form of kiteloops into your riding, you are missing out on half the fun of our sport. Kiteloops can be intimidating and do require a great deal of skill, while downloops are relatively easy and you can apply them to your comfort level.
Simply pull in on your front hand
Step One- Front hand pull
After your pop and jump you can pull a downloop at any time. Downloops are always pulled with the front hand on the bar. Simply pull in hard on your front hand and hold it until the kite loops around and is traveling up towards the zenith. The kite will be traveling in the other direction with this kind of loop.
For instance, if you pull in on your front right hand, the kite will loop and be directed towards the left side of the wind window. That is why downloops are typically used for transitional tricks. However, if you want to use a downloop to ride in the same direction, you can hold in the bar in longer to make it rotate in the direction you want to go, essentially doing a full loop and a half.
Pull at the edge of the window to soften the loop
Step Two- Timing
A downloop can be pulled at any moment during your jump. The key to not getting pulled hard downwind is to make sure that the downloop is pulled at the edge of the wind window. When you pull a downloop before or after you reach the zenith, you just want to make sure that you are looping it to the edge and not deep in the power zone. A downloop gets the wing of your kite generating speed and creating lift, as opposed to stalling above your head when parked. Even if the kite is not directly overhead, the movement of the kite as you come down will help catch you; however, always make sure to land with your board pointed downwind.
Sheet out to generate lift
Step Three- Sheet out
After the kite has completed the loop and made it back up to the zenith, sheet out on the bar so that the kite catches you. Pulling in on the bar gives the kite power; sheeting out is like a parachute. DO NOT sheet out until the kite has made the complete rotation that you want it to. If you sheet out too early and the kite is in the power zone, you will lose total control of the kite.
Think of sheeting out as pulling your parachute before landing. This will open up the canopy to give you more lift rather than downwind pull.
Land flat but prepare to edge once you have control
Step Four- Pick your landing
Landing with a downloop gives you options. You can land toeside and let the power of the downloop pull you into a turn. This is a nice feeling because landing toeside makes it easy for you to point the board downwind. As soon as you land pull in on the bar, which powers up the kite and pulls you into your turn. Another option is to land heelside; this requires you to land with your board pointed downwind and to be ready for the kite to pull you in the other direction. If you don’t know how to do a jumping transition yet, this is also a good way to practice. The biggest thing to know for landing heelside is to make sure that you have adjusted your hips to the other direction.
Use a downloop with any trick
Step Five- Application
Landing with downloops opens up a whole world of possibilities. A few tricks that you can try once you have learned the downloop are board-offs, one-footers, back or front rolls, Jesus walks, back roll hand drags, and much more. First get your downloops dialed in, but then try taking your back hand off the bar in the air and hold the grab as long as you can, downlooping the kite with your front hand. Having the freedom to land with one hand opens up a lot of tricks. So practice that first- landing one handed downloops- and then you are ready to get to work! The Front Roll Nuke
Next Episode - The Down loop Front Roll
This is Episode Two in our "Master the Kiteloop" playlist. In two weeks we'll break down how to do a front roll stale fish with a downloop. In the meantime, give our entry-level frontroll stalefish video a watch from our "Jump with Style" playlist.
If you're looking to learn more advanced kiteloops, this is the place to start. Get this one on lock and progress into doing the loop powered up in the air. We've at least one more downloop based trick planed for this playlist that we'll release down the line. To keep things fresh, we'll be covering your first kiteloop based tricks after this one.
When it comes to kiteloops, most kites will get the job done, especially for beginners. That said, some gear does work much better than others. A great rule of thumb is to learn on something no bigger than a 11 or even 10 meter. Larger kites will still loop but they are much slower, more difficult, and not very effective. There are several categories of kites that cater to different styles of riding. We much prefer the freestyle kites in most brands line ups. That said, many of the freeride kites work. To demonsrate this, we used the Carinha Switchblade 11 to film the majority of this list.
For intermediate to advanced kiteboarders
The fastest most powerful kites for loops fall in the crossover category. These are three-strut C Hybrid kites designed specifically with kitelooping in mind.
The Switchblade is an outlier on this list. It's technically a freeride kite. The FX is superior in speed and arc, yet the Switchblade packs some power. We chose to film with this kite due to its powerful low end. As we were filming in the Keys, the wind could be quite light. We don't recommend going larger than the 11 for kiteloops unless you are an advanced kiteboarder.
For newer to intermediate kiteboarders
These are faster freeride kites. Not designed specifically for kiteloops, but as they are all faster they work quite well. They also tend not to be as powerful when looping. The RPM might be the most powerful on this list.
These are just a few kites that we prefer. There are plenty of good options beyond these. If you already have a freeride kite and are new to loops, switching too a crossover kite will not make or break your progress. It will however help.If you are a more advanced rider, chances are you've already made the switch to something designed with loops in mind. Either way you go, we encourage you to simply have fun with it. Kiteloops can be scary and like any kiteboarding trick, they can be frusterating. take your time and learn to enjoy the process.
-Written and produced by Blake Olsen & Ryan (Rygo) Goloversic.
A Michigan boy through and through (even though he was born in Saudi Arabia), Blake is a youth with a lifetime of experiences and adventures. Not only that, he's passionate about sharing his zest for life with others. He is proficient at many fields, including kiteboarding and acting as concierge to any who simply ask. Looking for an adventure? Well, Blake is your guy. From sailing the Gulf and the Caribbean to backpacking Hawaii and Southeast Asia, he knows his stuff and can make your vacation into an adventure.
Ryan (Rygo) Goloversic
Just a dude from a kite shop testing all the gear one session at a time.
Many people dream of quitting their job, traveling the world and pursuing their passions. Rygo is one of those people who pulled the trigger. A few years into a postal career, he decided to change everything and travel as a kiteboarder, freelance videographer & writer. His mission is to help people and share the stoke. Get out there and kite!
Producer of: Ride with Blake I Sessions I Versus I Destinations I Foil Fridays