The golden ticket to being an independent kiteboarder is being able to kiteboard upwind. What this means is that you can start from the beach, ride out and come back to the point where you started. The alternative is having the wind blow you downwind. Once you learn how to kiteboard upwind, you can then learn how to transition and jump. The better you are at riding upwind, the lighter the winds you can ride in and the higher you can jump.
There are a number of different factors that play into being able to kiteboard upwind. This post breaks it down into the two most important tips.
Tip 1: Control Your Speed
To go upwind better, you need to control your speed. If you go too fast, you’ll lose control of your board’s edge and will skip downwind. If you go t0o slow, you’ll sink and stop. Control your speed by controlling your board angle and bar tension. As soon as you make a waterstart, begin pointing the front of the board slightly into the wind. As you point the front of the board into the wind, push out slightly on the bar or balance tension in the bar. Think of yourself as an elastic band between you and the kite. As you point the front of the board away from the kite, you create more tension between you and the kite. Balance tension by controlling the in and the out of the bar. To create more speed, point your board crosswind, “work the kite” and begin slightly edging into the wind.
Tip 2: It’s All In Your Hips
There are so many different ways to breakdown riding posture. The most important thing is to point your belly button in the direction you want to go. If you want to go upwind better, you’ll need to point your belly button upwind. Think of your belly button like a headlight and point it where you want to go. A common bit of advice some instructors will say is to take your bottom hand off the bar. This allows you to open up your hips more to point in the direction you want to go.
Practice, practice, practice. Try different techniques to find one that works for you. The most important things are to balance tension in the bar and use your hips to point and get upwind better. The more efficient you are at going upwind, the higher you will jump and the lighter winds you’ll be able to go out in.
Want to kiteboard upwind better? Sometimes you need an hour or two of private lessons to make the necessary tweaks that are specific to you. Fill out the form below: