Big huge airs are what attracts most people to the sport of kiteboarding, and it can be a lot of fun (when everything goes right!).
Check out these tips and tricks for boosting big airs on your kite board!
- 1. Start by riding with good speed and your kite in the area of 60º above the water
- 2. Redirect your kite up and away from your direction of travel by pulling gently with your back hand.
- 3. Progressively edge your board harder and harder and then stand tall and release your board from the water as the kite passes directly overhead.
- 4. Pull up your knees up to stabilize yourself in the air while gently pulling with your front hand to keep the kite overhead and redirect it to the direction you are traveling.
- 5. Extend your legs as you approach the water and absorb the landing with your knees. As you land, the kite should be on its way down in the direction you are heading so you can ride away with speed.
- If you feel like you plummet from the sky and crash onto your butt, you are probably sending the kite too far in the opposite direction. Make sure you limit the back-travel of the kite, and bring your kite back overhead so it will let you down softly.
- If you can jump far horizontally, but can only get a foot or two above the water, you are not edging hard enough before you jump. Edge harder and pop your board off the surface of the water as the kite crosses overhead.
- Point your board downwind as you approach the water to avoid skipping out when you land.
The Send, Snap, Sheet Technique
Send, Snap, Sheet is a good way describe the technique. (say it while snapping it out on your fingers) The tempo gets quicker as the wind speed increases, or on smaller kites.
The Send- 99% of people send it from 10:00 or lower to 2:00, and pendulum under the kite. If you assplant or drop like a rock, that's probably what you're doing. Send the kite from 10:45-11:00 and limit the back travel to 1:00 MAX.
The Snap- happens right as you're about to leave the water (after sending it). I say snap because you want to snap your hips away and upwind and get a clean release. Imagine trying to dunk a basketball springing from your back foot.
The Sheet- start your jump with bar sheeted at least halfway out, and after sending and snapping away from the kite, you begin to rise vertically if you did everything right. This is when you sheet in.
Hand Positioning- if you're hands aren't in close in higher winds, you're gonna pay the price. (sending it too far, or landing too hot) Learn to fly the kite with your wrists and really focus on getting the Send, Snap, Sheet technique down. In lower winds, you can move your hands out a little bit, 1-2 inches at a time.
Remember, you're not jumping a ramp, you're riding an elevator.
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