How to water start kitesurfing?
Your first kitesurf water start will probably happen somewhere in your second or third lesson when you can control the kite and you mastered the upwind bodydrag it’s time for your first water start. There are many ways to learn this technique but in all our years of teaching we found that slow steps an maintaining control is key. You want to gently come out of the water and come to a controlled stop again for your first attempts. So which steps do you need to take to start riding for the first time
Kitesurf water start step 1: body and kite position
Before the water start you must be in the correct position, This means you keep your kite at 12 o’clock, your board parallel to your bar and your knees pulled in. If you keep the kite over 12 o’clock your body will start to rotate and attempting a power stroke from this position will cause to you fall for sure.
Kitesurf water start step 2: create tension in your lines
In order to have both kite control as well as enough power in your kite, you need to pull the bar down towards the sweet spot. Don’t pull the bar all the way down as this will make the kite backstall. Read more about how to control a 4 line kite.
Kitesurf water start step 3: make a power stroke to get out of the water
If the wind is light you might want to start with the kite a little past 12 o’clock of the opposite side of your intended riding direction. When going left this means keeping your kite around 1 o’clock. Your want to be carefull with how hard you move the kite through the powerzone. Too fast will give you too much power and you will fall forward. Too slow and the kite will stay of the edge of the wind window, turning your body and not giving you any power. When making a power stroke you must remember to steer the kite back up to prevent it from falling in the water.
Kitesurf water start step 4: trying to stand up
When you feel the kite starts to pull, you want to try to stand up. You want to keep your head close to the bar and roll forward to stand up. Try not to lean back too much as this will make you ‘’fight’’ against the power of the kite, slowing you down at the moment you actually want to gain speed.
Kitesurf water start step 5: push the bar out and redirect the kite
In addition to trying to stand up, the position of the bar is important for a successful start. A very common beginner mistake is actually a natural reaction. You will most probably pull the bar down completely because you want to pull yourself up. Doing this will make the kite back stall and you will come to a stop. Simply remember that when you’re trying to stand up, at the same try to stretch your arms out so you push the bar away a little bit.
Kitesurf water start step 6: get your body in the right position
In the beginning you will probably be in a squatting position. If you keep this position the board will either catch water and you will fall forward or you will push the board from under you, making you fall. The key here is to straighten your front leg and push your weight on your back leg. You don’t want to gain too much speed so you need to push the board against the wind with your back leg.
Kitesurf water start step 7: come to a controlled stop
To stop you simply move the kite back to 12 o’clock slowly while at the same time pushing the bar away from you. We want to emphasize on really bring the kite back to 12 slowly and don’t pull the bar. Moving the kite back to 12 quickly while pulling the bar will lift you into the air.
Kitesurf water start step 8: get back into the base position
When you have come to a stop and want to attempt your next water start it is crucial to get back to your base position as described in step 1.
Tips & tricks for water start kitesurfing
Different kinds of power strokes
You can do the power stroke in different ways. A bigger power stroke means you get more power. Smaller power strokes will give you less power. Also the wind speed and the size of your kite have influence on how you should make a power stroke. When your kite is slightly underpowered you may have to make a bigger power stroke in order to gain enough power.
Start of with small power strokes
Especially when you just begin water starting, you don’t want too much power as that will pull you over the board. Start off with small strokes to get a feel for how fast you have to steer the kite through the power zone. As soon as you feel comfortable and have control, you can start making bigger strokes.
Always get back to your base position
A common mistake when failing to get up on an attempt is to directly try again from the wrong position. Always make sure to get back into your base position with your kite at 12 o’clock and your board parallel to your bar.
To stop slowly steer the kite bar to 12
Remember to not redirect the kite back up too fast, as this will make you jump.
Don’t forget to redirect the kite back to 12
When attempting your first water starts, everything you learned comes together all at once. A common thing we see is people forgetting to bring the kite back up after managing to stand up. The easiest way to prevent this from happening is to get three steps dialled in. For example, when starting left: steer left, push the bar out and steer right again.
Don’t pull the bar!!!
For anyone who has ever seen a kitesurfing lesson, you probably know the most used sentence for any kitesurfing instructor is: don’t pull the bar!!! Although a natural reaction, it is crucial to push the bar away a bit after you stand up. Keeping the bar pulled all the way in will make the kite back stall and you will fall back into the water. Try to get this into your system.