The Kite-loop Technique
Beyond initially learning to handle the kite, the biggest challenge faced by beginner kiteboarders is learning how to get up out of the water and go. Commonly referred to as waterstarting, using the kite to pull you out of the water in a consistent way takes more skill, practice, and patience than anything a beginner has previously encountered, and is even far more difficult for most people than riding along after a successful waterstart. This article examines the kite-loop technique, and is part of a series explaining the many water-start techniques used in kiteboarding.
A kite-loop is a term used to describe steering the kite in a complete circle in front of the rider, and is best suited for use in light winds. Begin setting up for a kite-loop by positioning the kite directly overhead. Your body should be facing straight downwind, and the board perpendicular to the wind direction. When using a kite-loop to get up and go, plan to ride in the opposite direction that you initially steer the kite. For example, if you plan to ride to the left, you will begin the kite-loop by steering right. To initiate the kite-loop, steer the kite hard either to the right or left, again you will be initially steering the kite in the opposite direction you want to ride. Turn hard to steer the kite straight down on the side you choose. Continue to steer hard with the same hand to turn the kite beyond straight down and begin it turning back across to the opposite side of you that it began diving on. Complete the kite-loop by continuing to turn the kite until it is pointed slightly upwards and in the direction that you will be riding. The kite does not need to be returned to directly overhead, a kite-loop water start is generally just three quarters of a full kite-loop, ending with the kite pointed across and in the opposite direction it was initially dove in. When using the kite-loop, plan to be pulled out of the water after the kite has pointed down, and just as it is turning to point across the wind and in the direction you are planning on riding. As the kite pulls, angle the board to point almost straight down wind, and just a little in the direction you are going to be riding. As you come up and onto the surface of the water, and as the kite crosses in front of you and to the side of you that you will be riding towards, begin to turn the board to point it across the wind and in the direction you want to ride.
Some tips for using a kite-loop waterstart:
- Keep extra weight on your back foot when getting up and on top of the water
- The tighter the radius of the loop, the less power
The kite-loop is a very powerful way to fly a kite, and the rider needs to expect a solid pull from the kite throughout the entire duration of the loop. A kite-loop can be used in light wind situations when a normal powerstroke does not generate enough pull to get up and go, or for experienced riders to change direction fast and without losing speed, or to boost some of the biggest jumps in kiteboarding.