Kiteboarding: Back Roll Tail Grab - Ride with Blake s3 ep6

Kiteboarding: Back Roll Tail Grab - Ride with Blake s3 ep6

The kiteboarding back roll with style 

The Back Roll is often the first trick new kiteboarders learn. The thing is, as exciting as they are, at the end of the day, they don't look that great on their own. Now, add a grab. The Tail Grab is the easiest grab to pair with your Back Roll. It's also one of the better-looking grabs. For this playlist, our aim is to help you add a bunch of safe, good-feeling, easy tricks. These will improve your riding and style fast. These are non-inverted, simple tricks that all tie in together yet look very different. Best of all, they will add to your fundamentals and help you progress into advanced tricks. At the very least, you should start turning heads at the beach or getting better photos on your next kiteboarding vacation. All that said, If you can already do back rolls, this is the next step in your progression.

We recommend you download the attached PDFon your phone. Check it before your next session!

Heads up, the printable steps will not be available until 01/27/19.

This is the sixth video in our "How to Jump with Style" playlist. Our last two videos covered the Back Roll Roast Beef and the Front Roll Stalefish. The Back Roll Roast Beef is a little more difficult than this trick, but also more stylish. The Front Roll Stalefish is the same level of difficulty and one you should master as well. If you're an intermediate kiteboarder, this is going to help build your foundation. You'll want to get this before trying unhooked kiteboarding back rolls with grabs. If you're a beginner it's going to build the foundation for all other back hand kiteboarding grabs with a roll. 

Blake and I often default to this trick in gusty conditions as it's easy to land and it feels safe. This kiteboarding trick is a must for you to practice every session if you want to progress into more difficult tricks. It will build body awareness and add style to your riding. 

Always practice the basics. The Kiteboarding Back Roll is king! 

Step One - Flat 360

At the risk of sounding redundant, you must practice the basics with consistent repetition. I recently had a conversation with my good friend Chris Bobryk, aka the American Sledge Hammer, about progression. He mentioned after all the years of kiteboarding he now sees it like other sports: if you spend time every session practicing the basics, the tricks you already know, you will automatically learn new things faster. I've found this to be true as well. A day spent just riding switch on a snowboard translates back to kiteboarding and improves body awareness and board control. 

Blake has also covered this in our videos, "5 Tips for Better Board Control" and "5 Tips for Better Kite Control". For this reason, no matter how far along you are in your kiting, you do want to practice the basic back roll every session. It will improve your confidence, your body awareness, your kite awareness, and it will make adding grabs much easier. 

The first step to mastering off-axis back rolls or even inverted back rolls is to learn the flat 360 spin. Send the kite for a normal jump, look over your back shoulder, and twist your hips. Keep your board aligned with your shoulders and make sure you breathe throughout the move. Keep tension on your front hand and watch for your landing. Right as you're about to land, give an extra pull on your front hand to dive the kite. This will pull you into the landing and help you ride away smoothly. 

Start small on this step and work your way up. There is no need to go huge right away. The more you practice, the more natural it is going to feel and you’ll naturally start jumping higher and rolling more into the spin.

Dip your shoulder into the Back Roll

Step Two - Off-Axis Roll

This whole playlist is based on incorporating off-axis rolls into your tricks. The reason we've opted for this is that they are easy and they look good. It's more difficult than the basic spin and is a great stepping stone into inverted rolls. Sometimes off-axis spins look better with a grab than an invert. We know this is a common second step for our Jump with Style videos. That said, we'd like to press an idea here. To master any of these moves, you must practice the basics every session. Be consistent. We've designed this playlist to teach you the fundamentals of style. Each trick will build upon the next.

If you learn even one trick in this playlist, the rest will come that much sooner. So many kiteboarders stall in their learning because they don't know what to try next. Even worse, they waste time trying something far beyond their skill level. Practicing the off-axis roll is a keystone step, so make sure you get this one.

Repeat everything from step one, but start dipping your back shoulder and leaning into the roll. Try to kick your legs even with your head and follow though with the spin. Don't worry about getting your legs above your head. That's going to complicate things. As you get comfortable, you can start to bring your back knee into your chest and poke your front leg. 

You don't have to grab right away

Step Three - Reach for the Grab

This is another common step in our playlist. If you can't make a grab right away that's okay! What's most important is that you learn to control the kite with one hand mid-roll. It's easy to get caught up with nailing the trick. If you stop and think about it, you are learning so many things all at once. One of the most important skills in kiteboarding is flying the kite with one hand. For this step, if you do the off-axis back roll and reach with your back hand, you'll be practicing flying the kite with the other.

That's more important than getting the grab at first. Having confidence, control and awareness of what the kite is doing behind you is an important skill to develop. It's also completely overlooked in the grand scheme of things. The next time you get frustrated trying to reach for a grab, remember you're still building your kite skills. 

For this step, practice taking your back hand off for the back roll. It doesn't matter when. You can take it off before you pop or as you start to roll. Make sure you practice tucking your back knee as close to your chest as possible and try to poke your front leg out. 

Nail the kiteboarding tail grab 

Step Four - Get the Grab

If you've practiced the first three steps, the grab will come naturally with time. Remember, don't reach for the board. Bring it to you by tucking your back knee! Practice grabbing it as early as possible and holding it as long as possible. As you get better you can start dipping your head back or experimenting with the axis of your spin. Before you know it, you might even start inverting the roll. 

While we're pushing for off-axis rolls in this playlist, an inverted tail grab does look impressive!  If you focus on the basics and work your way into it, you will be surprised how quickly this trick becomes second nature. 

A common mistake here is grabbing the toe or heel side of your board. Make a point to establish the habit of grabbing the tail early so you don't pick up any bad habits. There's no need to take yourself that seriously, but a solid tail grab looks better than a Tindy Grab, aka "somewhere between the Indy grab and a tail grab". 

Like all the tricks in this Jump with Style playlist, remember to practice the tenets from our first video along the way.

The Five Tenets of Style

  • Keep the Kite Low
  • Tweak It Out
  • Off-Axis Rotations
  • Add Grabs
  • Land with Power.

We hope you find this video helpful. Make sure to to check out the whole playlist so you can take your riding to the next level this year.


-Written and produced by Blake Olsen & Ryan (Rygo) Goloversic.

Blake Olsen

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.


Instagram: @BlakeTheOlsen

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. About eight years into a postal career, he decided to change everything and travel as a freelance videographer & writer. This took him from coast to coast and a variety of countries. Nowadays you can catch him on the phones, doing lessons, or working on videos. Of course, he still makes a point to travel as often as possible. His mission is to help people and share the stoke with his customers and students alike. Get out there and kiteboard.


Producer of: Ride with Blake I Sessions I Versus I Destinations I Foil Friday

24th Jan 2019 Rygo

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