Today is National Ride the Wind Day! Without wind, the sport we love, kiteboarding, wouldn’t exist. We love kiteboarding because it is so unique, with many different styles of riding. No one style is right or wrong, it’s whatever feels right and best for you.
Freestyle to us means unhooked, handle pass tricks. The difference we have found between unhooked freestyle and wakestyle is the position of the kite. In freestyle, the kite is slightly higher, 11 or 1, to get more height for bigger handlepasses. Keeping the kite a little higher allows for different variations of certain tricks like adding grabs or tweaking it out a certain way, whatever feels good. For us there is no better feeling than capturing the full, raw power of the kite, sending yourself in a rotation, stopping that rotation while airborne and rotating your body in the opposite way while passing the bar behind your back. This requires physical and mental skill and forces your board and kite position to be perfect. It’s a very technical side to kiteboarding that truly captures the raw power of the wind.
Freestyle to some people can also mean big hooked in tricks like board-offs or Jesus Walks. These tricks are super cool and fun to watch. It’s an awesome feeling to ride hard, send the kite as fast and as hard as you can to catch 20 foot plus jumps. When you’re hooked in you can control your height and how soft you land. Skilled riders will ultimately make hooked in freestyle look smooth and easy.
Another really awesome feeling is a backmobe with the kite super low to the water. If you’re going to do wakestyle tricks, your kite needs to be powered and low so when you do pop off the water, the pop you get is an explosive pop. The best feeling is at the end of the trick, after you complete the handlepass when the kite slacks and you land clean.
Foilboarding is like floating on a cloud over the water, it’s effortless. There are so many different styles of how to ride a foilboard, too! You can race it, you can explore with it, you can surf it, you can do hooked or unhooked tricks with it, or you can simply freeride. Any way you use it, have fun and enjoy the hovering sensation!
Surfing has a totally new dimension when you throw a kite into the mix. By capturing the power of the wind, you use the kite to tow you into wave after wave. With a kite, you can catch way more waves than if you were to paddle into the wave. Manufacturers, like Cabrinha, have designed kites specific to kitesurfers. The Cabrinha Drifter is built so that, like it’s name suggests, it will literally drift back in the wind window when you catch the wave, so you don’t feel the kites pull when you’re surfing. But as soon as you’re ready to tow back out to catch another wave, you sheet in on the bar, get power and use the kite to ride back out.
It’s a freeing sensation to harness the power of the wind through the kite to freeride wherever you want to go. By simply leaning back, you can go wherever you want and explore new places. Sheeting in or out of the bar allows you to control your speed so you can make kiteboarding as intense as you want or as mellow as you’d like.
Capturing the power of the wind with a kite isn’t limited to water only. During the winter many people use a kite to ride skis or snowboards. There are sand buggys and mountain boards designed specifically for kiteboarding use. Whether you’re on land or water you can use a kite to ride virtually anything – be creative!
Finally, some of our favorite skilled riders take it to another creative level by doing self tow ups or using each other to capture the wind, check out what we mean below.