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Ride with Blake | Basic Grabs - Indy and Tail

Posted by Blake Olsen on

Hey guys, Blake from Mackite here.

This week we are going to go over kiteboarding grabs and give you a board grab guide.

We'll eventually cover every grab from beginner to advanced so stay tuned. 

Why you need to start

Not only does adding grabs to your jumps/tricks feel great but it actually helps you control the rotation and adds style. Adding grabs to your tricks is the next step in progression after learning the basics. Once you have a trick or jump dialed in and feel comfortable it is time to start grabbing the board. First you start with the easiest and smallest grabs, then as you progress you can work your way up to the harder ones.

In this video we are going to explain all of the kiteboarding grabs we know of and break it down into a three part series. The first vlog starts off with the easiest grabs, we’ll give you a week to practice and work your way up to the intermediate grabs. Once you have those on lock we can move on to the more advanced grabs. After that it’s up to you to invent more and let us know what you come up with!

Before we get into grabs you need to know a little bit about body positioning and how to make it easiest to reach the board. The first and most important thing to know is that in order to grab your board you need to get compact and bring one knee to your chest. If you are grabbing the front of your board you should bring your front knee to your chest, if you're grabbing the tail of your board you bring the back knee to your chest. Whichever side of the board you are grabbing you want to bring it closest to your chest so that it is easy to reach.

Another important concept to grasp is that landing your jumps and tricks is all about managing the center of gravity in which you are flying, flipping and spinning . There's a reason that most of the Olympic gymnasts are very short and muscular, They have a smaller center of gravity which allows them to rotate and spin faster than someone who is taller or not as muscular. With kiteboarding we can use the power of the kite to work with us making flipping and spinning easier for people of any size or athletic ability. The real skill in kiteboarding comes in the form of flying a kite and knowing how to release your board off the board water to send your body into a rotation. Once you are in a rotation you need to be able to control yourself so that you can land without crashing.

As you progress, start off with the basic easiest tricks because there's a lot to think about and it can be overwhelming. The more comfortable you get with those tricks the more you want to push it and work towards the next step, grabbing your board is the next step because not only does it add style to your trick but it allows you to keep it more under control and keep your center of gravity compact. We have all been there before where we over-rotated a trick, this is because our body is stretched out and we don't have control of our gravity.

Here’s our list of grabs we thought you should know.


To start, backhand is typically easier because it the hand you don’t necessarily need on the bar, unless you are making a jumping transition. This is because you want your front hand to be pulling on the direction you are going to land.

Indy grab 

To start off with because this grab requires the least amount of reach. After you pop off of a wave or send the kite you simply bring your knees to your chest, reach down with your back hand and grab the center of the board on the toeside edge in between your legs. This grab is essential to learn in order to move on to other grabs. You want to practice the easiest grabs first and really get them dialed in before moving on to harder grabs. This way you can build off of your indy grab and start to tweak it out and hold it longer. Once you get the feeling of grabbing the board here things naturally start to get easier and make your tricks more controlled.

Invert or turn your body away from the kite to add some style to this basic

Tail Grab

Is the second grab you should start to work on. It’s good to take it step by step and perfect each grab. Different tricks are easier with different grabs. Lets say you are doing a front roll, it will be harder to do a tail grab then an indy because it is stopping your rotation. Whereas if you are doing a backroll a tail grab is very natural and goes well with it.

Let’s just start with these two grabs for this week, get them dialed in and then next week we can move on to a few more advanced grabs.  

Printable Steps for the Beach

Tips for getting started:

Easiest to start grabbing with your back hand.

Practice the mechanics of your grabs with your board stationary (in the sand or on a rug at home)

Know your center of gravity.

  • Stay low
  • Get small
  • Crouch, don't bend.
  • Bring your knees up!

Indy Grab

Crouch down bringing your knees to your chest. With your back hand, grab the board on the toe-side, in between your feet.

Turn your body away from the kite, or invert for more style.

This style grab works best with a front roll

Tail Grab

This is similar to the Indy grab but you're going to be grabbing the back of the board instead.

Crouch down bringing you knees to your chest. With you back hand, grab the tail of your board.

This style grab goes best with a back roll.

Blake's Gear Picks

Many of you have been asking about my 2018 Gear picks so I'm going to include a few links.


Cabrinha Switchblade

Cabrinha Contra


Cabrinha Excalibur wood


Ride Engine Hex Core 

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

Facebook: BlakeOlsen