A Guide for Beginners
Kitesurfing is an exhilarating watersport that combines the elements of surfing, windsurfing, and paragliding. One of the most exciting aspects of kitesurfing is performing jumps, where riders catch air and experience the incredible sensation of flying above the water. While advanced tricks and maneuvers can be awe-inspiring, it is crucial for beginners to master the basics before progressing to more advanced jumps. In this article, we will delve into the fundamentals of basic jumps in kitesurfing, providing beginners with a step-by-step guide to enhance their skills and boost their confidence.
First of all, we will do a little introduction about the main kitesurfing equipment needed to be a top rider and make the best and most powerful jumps ever.
Essential Equipment of Kitesurfing
Kitesurfing is an exhilarating water sport that requires some essential equipment to ensure safety and maximize enjoyment on the water. Here are the key items you’ll need for kitesurfing:
- Kite: The kite is the most crucial piece of equipment in kitesurfing. It consists of a canopy attached to control lines that allow you to steer and maneuver the kite. Kites come in various sizes, and the choice depends on your weight, wind conditions, and skill level.
- Control Bar: The control bar is used to steer and control the kite. It consists of a bar with lines connected to the kite. The control bar enables you to power and depower the kite, control its direction, and adjust the angle of attack.
- Lines: Lines connect the control bar to the kite. They are typically made of strong, low-stretch material like Dyneema. The length of the lines can vary, but most commonly, they are around 20-27 meters long.
- Harness: The harness is worn around the waist or hips and provides support and control while riding. There are two main types of harnesses: waist harnesses and seat harnesses. The choice depends on personal preference and riding style.
- Board: Kitesurfing boards come in various shapes and sizes. Twin-tip boards are most commonly used as they allow riding in both directions. They have foot straps or bindings to secure your feet. Alternatively, there are directional boards, similar to surfboards, used for wave riding.
- Safety Leash: A safety leash is a vital safety component. It attaches you to the kite, allowing you to release the kite’s power if needed. In an emergency, activating the safety system will depower the kite and separate you from it.
- Wetsuit or Rashguard: The choice of wetsuit or rashguard depends on the water and air temperatures. A wetsuit provides insulation and protection in colder conditions, while a rashguard is suitable for warmer climates.
- Helmet: Wearing a helmet is highly recommended for added head protection, especially in case of falls or collisions with objects.
- Life Vest or Personal Flotation Device (PFD): A life vest or PFD is crucial for safety, especially for beginners or when kitesurfing in challenging conditions. It helps with buoyancy and provides additional reassurance in the water.
- Safety Knife: A safety knife is a small, sharp tool used to cut lines in emergency situations, such as entanglements. It should be easily accessible, typically attached to your harness or wetsuit.
These are the essential equipment items for kitesurfing. It’s important to invest in quality gear, ensure it’s in good condition, and regularly inspect and maintain it for optimal performance and safety. Additionally, always follow proper safety guidelines, receive proper training, and be aware of local regulations and conditions before going kitesurfing.
Types of kitesurfing jumps
There are several types of jumps in kitesurfing that can add excitement and variety to your riding. Here are some of the most common types of jumps:
Straight Jump: The straight jump is the most basic and fundamental jump in kitesurfing. It involves launching yourself straight up into the air and landing back on the water. It’s a great starting point to practice your technique and gain confidence in the air.
Grab Jump: In a grab jump, you add style and flair by grabbing the board while you’re in the air. There are various grab variations you can try, such as grabbing the board with one hand, both hands, or even crossing your arms while grabbing.
Rotational Jump: Rotational jumps involve spinning in the air while performing the jump. You can initiate rotations by using your body and shoulders to twist, or by generating kite power through a kiteloop. Common rotations include 180 degrees, 360 degrees, or even multiple rotations.
Board-off Jump: A board-off jump is when you release your feet from the foot straps or bindings and let go of the board while in the air. You can perform various tricks or maneuvers with the board, such as spinning it, flipping it, or doing grabs before reattaching your feet to the board.
Kiteloop Jump: Kiteloops are jumps where you initiate a loop with the kite while in the air. This generates additional power and height as the kite pulls you through the loop. Kiteloops can be performed in different directions (downloop or uploop) and can add an exciting dynamic to your jumps.
Downwind Jump: In a downwind jump, you combine the upward trajectory of a jump with the forward momentum of riding downwind. This results in longer and more floaty jumps, allowing you to cover more distance through the air.
Wave Jump: Wave jumps involve launching off the face of a wave or using the wave as a ramp. These jumps can be combined with maneuvers like rotations or grabs, adding a unique element to your jumps while riding in ocean or wave conditions.
It’s important to note that attempting more advanced jumps requires proper skills, experience, and awareness of the conditions. Always progress gradually and practice in safe and controlled environments. If you’re new to jumping, it’s recommended to seek guidance from a certified instructor who can provide specific tips and guidance to help you improve your technique and stay safe on the water.
Step by step guide to kitesurfing jumps
Mastering basic jumps in kitesurfing can be an exciting progression in your skills and add a new dimension to your riding. Here’s a step-by-step guide for beginners to help you get started with basic jumps:
- Master the Fundamentals: Before attempting jumps, ensure you have a solid foundation in kitesurfing. Be comfortable riding in both directions, maintaining control of your kite, and executing basic maneuvers like turns and stops.
- Choose the Right Conditions: Start practicing jumps in moderate wind conditions with a steady and consistent wind direction. Avoid gusty or overpowering winds as they can make jumping more challenging and potentially unsafe.
- Equipment Check: Ensure all your kitesurfing equipment is in good condition and properly rigged. Check the lines, control bar, harness, and safety systems before heading out.
- Body Position: Approach jumps with the correct body position. Keep your knees slightly bent, weight centered, and arms extended but relaxed. Maintain an athletic stance to absorb the impact upon landing.
- Timing and Load Up: As you ride towards a jump, anticipate the moment when you’ll initiate the jump. Load up the kite by pulling on the control bar slightly to generate power. This will create tension in the lines and prepare the kite for the jump.
- Send the Kite: To launch yourself into the air, send the kite upwards by pulling harder on the control bar while extending your body. The kite will respond by lifting you off the water.
- Control the Jump: While in the air, keep your eyes on the kite and maintain control by keeping the bar balanced and the kite at a consistent height. Avoid over or under steering the kite to maintain stability.
- Spot the Landing: As you reach the peak of your jump, spot your landing spot in the water. This will help you prepare for the descent and adjust your body position accordingly.
- Prepare for Landing: Begin to prepare for landing by gently pushing the bar away from your body to decrease the kite’s power. This will help soften the landing impact and prevent excessive pull upon touchdown.
- Touchdown and Recovery: As you descend, prepare to absorb the landing impact by bending your knees and keeping your body position balanced. Aim to touch down smoothly with both feet on the board.
- Riding Away: After landing, regain control of your kite and regain your riding stance. Gradually resume your normal riding speed and direction.
- Practice and Progress: Repeat the above steps to build your confidence and improve your jumping skills. Start with smaller jumps and gradually increase height and complexity as you become more comfortable and proficient.
Remember, safety is paramount when practicing jumps. Always wear appropriate safety gear, be mindful of other water users, and never attempt jumps beyond your skill level. Consider taking lessons from a certified kitesurfing instructor who can provide guidance, feedback, and help you progress safely. Enjoy the thrill of mastering basic jumps in kitesurfing, and always have fun while staying safe on the water!
Performing basic kitesurfing jumps can be an exhilarating experience that takes your riding to new heights. By mastering the fundamental techniques, developing upwind skills and practising regularly, beginners can improve their jumping skills and gain confidence on the water. Remember to prioritise safety, follow the guidelines provided and enjoy the incredible feeling of defying gravity while kitesurfing.
So get ready, get out on the water and let your jumps fly!