How to  hit a rail kitesurfing: 50/50

How to hit a rail kitesurfing: 50/50

This is the most basic trick and is derived from skateboarding. It's also the easiest because you can basically ollie or ride up in the same direction you were traveling. Eventually you can take this to a nose press or try to spin into it or out for more technicality and style.

This is the first move you should try and it's going to open a whole new world of kiteboarding for you. Let's get to it!


You should be able to do all the basic unhooked tricks comfortably. Frontroll, backroll, raley, Experience at cable is not necessary but will put you years ahead and will save you lots of falls. One season riding cable 3 times a week should be adequate to develop muscle memory. 

Rail setup

Set the rail around 45 degrees downwind or more. The best setting is debatable and different riders would give you different answers. I find that 45 is just right for me. You want the kite to pull you across the whole rail.

Spray the rail down and check around it for water depth and rocks or anything under the water.

Tack upwind and away from the rail. A long approach is best especially if there is a large group using the feature. You’ll notice a circuit going so just get into the flow.

Make sure there is no sand on your board or butt before riding up!

The Approach

Ride down wind at the feature. As you approach the rail, keep a mild edge and unhook. This is different from freestyle. You don’t want to come off your edge a ton. Keep a mild edge while unhooking and set the kite. It helps to keep it low and like all unhooked tricks, you can split the bar with your lead hand. Set the kite and find the appropriate speed.


Since the wind is not consistent, timing varies. If the wind is really strong, unhook early and ride downwind a ton to take some power out. If it's mellow, unhook a bit closer to the feature to maintain speed across the rail. The key is to go with the speed of the kite. If the wind changes, you have to adapt and accept that you are coming in strong. If it’s light and you end up going slow, just try something new with low consequence.

Body Position / Variables

Get into an athletic stance, knees slightly bend standing up with a mild edge. Line your board up with the rail and go flat when riding across the obstacle. You can ollie on like a skateboard or if there is a safety, you can just ride right up.

In this video, we're hitting a left foot forward feature and a right foot forward. If you are a regular or goofy foot you can pop to toeside so you're riding in a more comfortable direction.

I like to stay hooked in when I pop toeside and unhook to maintain my edge before hitting the feature.

On the rail

Once on the rail, go flat and keep the bar close. The number one mistake is letting the bar out. The number two mistake is trying to edge. If you do this, you will slip off.

Look where you want to go and focus on the end of the feature. The body will go where your line of vision is. Let the kite pull you to the end of the rail or hop off, your call.


A few common mistakes are letting the bar out, trying to edge on the rail. Another mistake is having the wrong angle for the rail. If you're getting pulled off on the downwind side, you probably need to angle the feature more downwind.

After your hit, get out of the way and go with the flow of the other riders. Don’t ride upwind in front of the rail. This will create chop.

The last tip is to be relaxed. Sometimes when trying new things, people get tense and hold their breath. If it helps imagine you are someone else like a world class rider and envision their style. It will loosen you up and make you feel a bit more fearless. 

Ryan (Rygo) Goloversic

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 his career, he decided to change everything and travel as a kiteboarder, freelance videographer & writer. His mission is to share the stoke & help people put the boarding into their kiteboarding. Get outside and kite!


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

23rd Nov 2020 Rygo

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