Kiteboarders are obsessed with getting more air, more height and more power into their tricks. At the end of the day, there are no shortcuts to improving skill on the water, only practice. That said, there are some things you can do that over time are going to have a huge impact on your riding and your pop.
Tip One - Ride Finless
Take the next 2 - 4 months and commit to riding without fins on your twintip. At first, everything is going to be more difficult. You'll find that you can't stay upwind as well, you'll slip out while loading up for a jump or powered move, and most importantly, you'll adapt and develop superior board control.
Not having fins will force you to use the edge of your kiteboard more efficiently. You'll become aware of how much digging your heels can impact this edge. You will also be forced to use more body and the appropriate angle to pop off the water or ride upwind well.
Your board is going to feel more loose and playful on the water, too! Enjoy this time and keep trying things as normal. When you are ready to ride with fins again, it will be like night and day. You'll be popping harder, jumping higher and riding upwind with ease. Everything will feel easier on the water and you'll be one step closer to mastering your kiteboard.
Tip Two - Gear
Before we go any further, I want to point out that time on the water is most important. The right gear does help, but the best riders can make a piece of plywood look good. A board won't make you jump better. Practicing more will. That said, there are variables you can experiment with in your equipment that will make a noticeable difference on the water. First up is your fins. Small fins make for a playful board and are great for riders learning surface passes or who need forgiveness on freestyle tricks. Large fins are going to make for a track-like feel on the water but will make your pop powerful. The bigger the fins, the easier it will be to get big air, but the trade-off is that your ride won't be as playful.
Next up is the board. You have some variables here as well- things like having channels on your board. The more channels you have, the more you will be able to hold down board speed. Remember, board speed equals power and height on a jump. The rocker line, the concave and the flex of the board matter too. The stiffer and more flat the board, the more energy you can build up and release for a trick. The more rocker & concave, the softer landings will be and the more playful the board will be. You can hold down a lot of power with these boards! You do give up pop with more rocker. It's all about finding a balance that is fun for you on the water.
Tip Three - Fitness
The most valuable thing you can do is develop explosive core and leg strength. After all, more pop comes down to creating, holding down and releasing more speed and energy on the water. The stronger you are, the more you can hold down. The options here are endless; you can choose any workout that you enjoy and will stick to consistently three days a week. Hitting the squat rack is a great option. Body weight squats with full range of motion are beneficial. Box jumps, running stairs, yoga... all these things are going to build muscle, endurance and strength. The only rule is to follow a program and up the resistance over months of training 2 to 3 days a week. This might be the least popular tip on the list, but it will be the most effective. Kiteboarding is a lifestyle but it's also a sport! I love bro-ing down about gear and I do believe it helps, but nothing compares to the human element in kiteboarding! Get fit and you're going to be ripping in no time.
If you implement all three of these tips, in 6 months' time you'll see mind-bending improvement in your riding. It might not be a quick fix, but honestly there is no such thing. I hope you found these tips helpful! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out in the comments.
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