Upwind body drag kitesurfing

The upwind body drag is a technique any independent kitesurfer must control. The upwind body drag is mostly used when you fall off your board or you can’t waterstart anymore due to a lack of wind. The purpose of the upwind body drag is to use your kite to drag you. To control the upwind direction it is important to have the correct body position. There are a couple of key aspects for upwind body dragging: the kite position and the body position.

Upwind body drag step 1: kite position

In order to body drag upwind the position of the kite is a crucial aspect. If you’re going left your kite must be between 10 and 11 o’clock and I you’re going right between 1 and 2 o’clock. If you keep the kite too high the kite will pull you up and down wind. If you keep the kite too low you wont have sufficient power to push against the wind. 45 degrees is the ideal position, where you have an optimal balance between power and upwind ability of your kite.

Upwind body drag step 2: posture 

Your body will kind of be your boat. Your body should be in a straight position and you should lay on your side. If you’re going left make sure you are on your left side. You then want to use the hand on that side to determine your direction. Your body will actually function similar to the rudder of a boat. You should keep your fingers together and your hand should just be under the surface of the water. Then with that hand point upwind in the direction you want to go to. With your other hand you will have to control the kite.

Upwind body drag step 3: operating the kite with one hand

In this example the you are going upwind of to the left. Your will be positioned on your left side using your left hand as a rudder. Your kite will also be on the left, making controlling the kite easy with your right hand. Since the kite wants to fall to the left, the only thing you have to do to keep the kite in the correct position if to give a bit of counter steering on the right. It is also important to keep a bit of power in the kite by keeping the bar on the sweet spot. Mae sure to not pull the bar in too much to prevent the kite from back stalling.

Upwind body drag step 4 : riding direction

A lot of beginner kitesurfers will want to get back to their board in a straight line directly against the wind. No matter how good of a kiter you are, you can’t go straight against the wind. You will have to body drag in zig zag motion to get back to your board. This means you have to go back a forth from let to right in about a 1- to 15 degree angle to the wind.

How to change direction upwind body drag

If you want to change direction you will have to bring the kite back to 12 o’clock slowly. If you steer the kite back to 12 too fast it will pull you down wind. As soon as the kite comes back to 12, put both hand on the bar again and position your legs under yourself or facing backwards. Then use both hands to bring the kite to the other side and get back into the right body position.

Upwind body drag with a board

There is not much difference between body dragging with your body only and with a board. Just make sure to keep the kite in the correct position and use your board as a rudder to go upwind. Best thing is to grab the handle of the board to position it in the right direction.