KITESURFING ON DIRECTIONAL BOARDs - time to go strapless
Ladies, it's time to go strapless!
Kitesurfing on a strapless board is one of the most rewarding things you can do while powered by a kite. You have never tried, but feel like it could be for you? We highly recommend trying it out! Especially, but not only, if you kite at a spot with waves!
This article is not about how to surf waves. It is about the first steps on directional kiteboards. Don't hit the big surf before you are confident in flat water.
"OMG it must be really difficult. Not for me, it's for the pro-rider.”
No ladies! It may look difficult, but if you are comfortable on your twintip, you have mastered toe side and you turning and curving on twintip with ease, directional kite surfing should be one of your next possible steps.
And don't get it wrong, riding strapless, does not mean going into the big waves necessarily. It can, but if you decide waves are too scary, there are other ways to enjoy a strapless, directional, surfboard (yes, all of this appellations are correct) while kiting . So no worries. You'r going to love it also in flat water - at first anyways. ;-)
IT LOOKS MORE DIFFICULT THAN IT ACTUALLY IS - JUST GO FOR IT
Ok, being honest, switching from a twintip to a directional board isn’t easy at first, as the position and stance are quite different. BUT from my own experience, we ladies have much better feeling for directional boards as our balance and body flow tent to be naturally better.
So if you are fascinated by kite surfing, don’ t hesitate to jump in. It is easier than it looks.
Kite surfing on a strapless board is one of the most rewarding things you can do, while powered by a kite.
But before you head to the waves you have to first know how to get up on a surf board without straps. Let me share with you few tips and the way how I started.
"Sometimes just small encouragement can mean a lot to the person and increase her confidence"
STEP 1: Borrow a bigger directional board for a day or two
Rent or borrow yourself directional board so you get the idea how it feels. I recommend the size 5’6 or slightly bigger with 20+ volume.
My personal tip: Don’ t go for huge fat low wind boards as some may recommend. This would make the ride slightly easier but the manipulation and water start would be quite difficult and exhausting. I found it also very difficult to edge and go upwind if the board had too much volume. Don't forget, we girls are lighter than most men, what works for them isn't necessarily right for you.
STEP 2: Start of on flat water with bigger kite and lighter wind
Before you hit the waves find yourself a flat-water spot where you can learn much faster and smoother.
Some recommend smaller kite and bigger volume board. I personally recommend medium size kite, which is more steady and slower and you can focus more on your new board. Don't go in gusty or too strong winds. Remember, you are riding without straps, so you might not be able to handle the same wind strength then usually, and trust me, getting blown off the board is pretty annoying.
My personal tip: With my weight of 55 kg, I would use 10 m kite in light wind* 13-16 knots. You will love the feeling of gliding smoothly on the surfboard.
* Avoid complete light wind, even if that could maybe feel safer for you at the beginning. In that case, you will be focusing on keeping the kite in the air rather than your new board.
Don't head for the big surf straight away. Riding waves with a kite requires excellent kite control as well as the understanding of the waves.
Don't forget, if you are new to being in the waves, kiteboarding in the surf can be very intimidating.
Tip: If you have never been in the waves before, give paddle surfing or even just swimming in the surf a try. The only way to get experience in the ocean is to actually spend time there. ,Being comfortable in the waves is very important, if you want to kite there.
STEP 3: Learn to body drag with the directional
To get out from busy bay and away from the shore you better body drag at the beginning.
Even without any straps on, a surfboard is actually quite easy to body drag with once you get the hang of it. You can use the board’s fins to body drag very efficiently. While powering your kite slightly with one hand, rest your other arm on top of your floating board.
With your hand on top, push your board perpendicular to your kite lines, pressing down on the rail to make the board edge upwind. The board’s fins will make your board slide upwind, pulling you along. You’ll be surprised how well you can body drag upwind using this simple technique.
STEP 4: Learn to waterstart on directional boards
You might not have a handle and no foot straps to help you, but by the point you have reached now, you don't need neither of these anymore to perform a waterstart. Nevertheless, a very good kite control is absolutely necessary to preform the water start with a strapless board, you will see how easily you will manage to get on the board even on your first attempt.
Beware that most people struggle with the water start, as there is suddenly so much volume in front on your front foot. If you think about twintip, you stand in the middle of the boar - on a surfboard you stand very much towards the back, as the surf board is designed to pivot around the back of the board.
But this volume, also will make your ride so nice and smooth, and the upwind performance of a surfboard - well it's just so much better!
In general, if you cannot handle in flat water, things are not going to go any better in the waves. You should be able to ride comfortably in both directions and be able to quickly change directions before you head to the waves.
Let’ s do this!
1. Walk out or body drag until you are in at least knee-deep water.
2. Place the board in front of you just like a twintip
3. Place your feet to the board. (The inserts for foot straps give you a hint where to place your feet in the beginning).
4. Apply pressure to your heals as you gently fly the kite back and front on top of the wind window. This will allow the water pressure on the bottom of the board to keep the board against your feet.
5. If you are ready to go, simply dive the kite and point the board slightly down wind.
6. Remember to keep your knees bent as you get up.
7. Once you are up, you can apply edge pressure and head up wind.
You will see it's not much different to twintip riding. In the beginning you will have to find your balance on the board. try different positioning on the board to find your best stands.
STEP 5: Get yourself a beginner board
You are in love with this feeling riding strapless? Want to learn and progress properly? Then it's time to get your own board.
Which board are you looking for as your first directional board?
Get the board with a relatively wide tail and little rocker (flatter shape) for stability, and the ability to be set up with 4 fins (“Quatro”) for light winds.
You’ll find such a board much easier to learn on. Once you master the water start and upwind riding, you’ll still be able to use the board for having fun in small to medium waves under 4-5 feet.
BIG BLUE Boards is the first women-only kite board brand.
We bring equality to kiteboarding by offering high-quality equipment specifically designed for women.
E-mail us to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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