This week we'll be breaking down your first time in the water with a powerkite!
Step One - Body Drag Downwind
This is a fun and easy step. You'll be in the water without a board and letting the kite simply pull you downwind. Move the kite back and forth across the wind window. This is going to give you a good understanding of kite control in the water and get you used to the pull of the kite.
Start to incorporate a figure 8 motion with your kite. These will generate more pull and simulate doing a power stroke with the kite.
Your legs will be out behind you, so make sure you keep your back arched. This will keep your face out of the water and help you see where you are going.
Step Two - One-Handed Kite Flying
Make sure you've perfected this while standing in the water first. Keep your back hand on the bar and point your front hand forward. You can start working on sailing to the left or the right by parking the kite at a 45 degree angle. The trick here is to keep a wide grip on the bar. You can hold the bar in the center and use your thumb or pointer finger on the front side of the bar for more leverage. Some people like to split the bar with the pointer and middle finger for leverage too.
This is a skill that you'll want to really master before trying to get on the board or body drag upwind. It's a small step that makes a huge difference when trying to learn.
Step Three - Body Drag
Now you will be parking the kite on one side of the wind window and repeating Step Two. Keep one hand on the back of the bar and point your front hand forward. Treat your body as a rudder and try to resist the kite. Don't worry about sailing upwind yet. Simply get used to getting pulled to the side and controlling the kite with one hand. Your body's resistance against the kite is what will be pulling you in any given direction. Be mindful of the kite and focus on the correct sheeting to keep it controlled. This will vary depending on the wind. You may need to sheet out or sheet in.
Step Four - Going the Other Way
With both hands, bring the kite gently back to noon and keep it on the edge of the wind window. Switch to your new back hand and point your new front hand in the direction you would like to go. Bring the kite down to 45 and let it pull you the other way. It's important to use gentle kite movements here because you do not want to get pulled downwind like Step One. The end goal is to learn how to sail upwind to recover your board, after all. Keep practicing and altering the angle of your body until you are able to sail upwind. The more you can point your arm into the wind, the more upwind you will be able to drag. There is a point of diminishing returns, so if you point your arm too aggressively, you will get pulled downwind feet first. Work your way into the most efficient angle and keep practicing until you can successfully sail upwind. It helps to pick a spot on the beach and practice sailing up further than where you started.
Step Five - Upwind Body Drag with the Board
Hold on to the handle of the board and put your elbow on the footstrap. You can weight your board with your hips as well. This will help create an edge on the board similar to riding. Practice Step Three and Four, but with the board in your hand. You can now also experiment with sheeting to see what it does to the kite.
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
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