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Ride with Blake | How to Set Up Your Footstraps

Posted by Blake Olsen on

This video covers how to perfect your kiteboarding stance as well as some of the basics concepts such as heelside, toeside. Goofy foot vs regular foot. Riding blind and riding wrapped.

If you need help putting your footstraps together for the first time give us a call and we'll walk you through it.


This may seem like a simple one but in reality when do you ever learn how to set up your board? They don’t teach you this in a lesson. I’ve done it myself where the footstraps are in the wrong position and it makes riding uncomfortable, or when I got my first board and set up the fins the wrong way. There is so much going on when you are learning to kiteboard that it can be very overwhelming. I had a student the other day refer to his first day of kiteboarding as controlling panic.

Once you learn to control the panic things become much easier and it all starts to fall into place, slowly but surely. All kiteboarding requires is patience, practice and dedication. Those are the ingredients for success, however having your foot straps in the wrong position for example can really set you back. That was the case for this student of mine who was learning to ride upwind.

He had learned to control the panic, relax, fly the kite, put the board on his feet and ride the board both ways but was struggling with going upwind. He brought his own board and had set it up at home before the lesson. The size was good, we had the right kite for the wind and everything seemed promising. When we got out there he was getting up right away but was having trouble opening up and riding upwind.

I took the kite to demonstrate what he needed to do. Once I had the board on my feet i realized the problem was his foot straps were closing him in and making him ride downwind. With both the straps facing forward and not allowing for any twist in the hips, this was his problem.

So that’s the story of why we're making this video. To help all of you who are getting into kiteboarding have all of the necessary information you need before you go. Something as simple as the placement of your foot straps can make all the difference.

Here’s how you do it:

1. Stand on your board with your feet a shoulder width apart.

2. Twist your hips and pretend you're riding to the right and left. Take note of where your feet go when you open up each way.

3. Set your foot straps on the board and make sure that you’re not having to angle your feet in the straps as you open up. If you set your straps at ‘0’ ‘0’ which is straight, it’s going to close your hips and shoulders downwind.

4 You want to offset them so that they are facing towards the front of the board which will allow you to open upwind.

5. Place the screws in the right holes so that your straps are shoulder width apart, wider if you are planning on landing hard or doing tricks.

PS. Your fins face out on both ends not inward!

Printable Instructions For the Beach

Footstraps are a bit different from wakeboarding setups. Here are some quick steps to follow when setting up your footstraps for kiteboarding.

Step 1

Stand on your board with your footstraps on but not connected to the board. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.

Step 2

Twist your hips to the left and the right while standing on your board, as though you were turning while riding.

Step 3

Align your straps on the board for upwind riding. Your straps should be slightly angled and not pointing straight forward. This will become uncomfortable when your foot is constantly up against the side of the strap. This also closes off your stance and will cause you to fight against the board to go upwind.

Step 4

Offset your straps so that you are comfortable. This will allow you to ride upwind easier.

Step 5

Test it out! Please the screws in the right placement. Set it in and put your feet back in them and then see as you open up both ways to make sure your stance is comfortable.


  • If you're having to twist your feet too much in the straps, angle them out a little further.
  • If your stance is too narrow and you're feeling like you're coming down too hard, widen your stance.
  • Narrow stance is great for cruising as it will allow you to dig your edge in a little harder.
  • A Wider stance is better for freestyle riding to absorb the impact of landings


All footstraps are different! Depending on the brand, the physical assembly will be different, however the stance/positioning should remain similar.

Different Riding Styles

Goofy - Riding right foot forward

Regular - Riding left foot forward

Blind - Back is to the kite with your chest facing out

Wrapped - Riding unhooked

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