Riding direction kitesurfing

Which riding direction are there for kitesurfing? When speaking about the different directions it is always in relation to the wind direction. Make sure you understand the image below before you continue reading.

Riding direction 1: against the wind 

Riding straight against the wind is not possible. To ride into the direction of the wind, a kitesurfer must zig zag in an upwind course.

Riding direction 2: upwind

This is the most difficult riding direction for kite surfers as you will automatically get pulled into the direction of the wind (down wind). So how can a kitesurfer ride against the wind? Surprisingly this is due to suction created by the wind. On the luff side the wind is compressed hence gaining speed. On the convex side of the kite, the wind blows around the kite. Due to this opposite suction effect the kite is pulled against the wind. The ideal position to accomplish this effect is when the kite is at a 45 degree position in the wind window. Apart from the kite position the angle of the board is crucial to riding upwind. You have to point the nose of the board against the wind to actually push upwind.

Riding direction 3: half wind ( cross wind)

This is the most used riding direction in kitesurfing. When going across the wind you are riding in a 90 degree angle to the wind. When executing this course perfectly you can return to the exact same spot where you entered the water.

Riding direction 4: Downwind

This riding direction is the exact opposite of riding upwind. You will be going in the wind direction edgeways. When doing a water start you always go a little bit down wind first to gain some speed.

To ride down wind you also have to zig zag just like when riding upwind. Riding downwind can be tricky because going down wind too much can result in your lines going slack which make your kite lose power.

Riding direction 5: with the wind

This riding direction means you are going in the exact direction if the wind. This direction is the least used and the most uncomfortable riding position. Because you are riding towards the kite, the lines will slack. This will first make you lose power, before you kite start to fall into the water due to the lack of tension. It is possible to ride almost completely with the wind, by looping your kite.

Riding speed and course

When snowboarding for instance, when you don’t point the board down hill, you will never gain speed. The same goes for kitesurfing. If you point the nose of the board down wind too much you will gain too much speed. If you point the nose of the board too much upwind you will lose speed and eventually fall back into the water.