Purpose of Body Drag Upwind
Being able to body drag upwind will allow you to recover your board if you fall in deep water. Although a lot of the places we kiteboard have shallow water, some areas are too deep to touch bottom. This exercise is necessary to being able to be a self-sufficient, independent kiteboarder.
We’ll break this exercise down into two key points, kite control and body position.
You want to position the kite 45 degrees above the water. If you’re going to the right, the kite should be around 2 o’clock. If you’re going to the left, the kite should be around 10 o’clock. One key point is to keep the kite parked in the same position. To do this, put your hand in the middle of the bar with your index finger and thumb on the opposite side of the depower main line. With your hand in the middle of the bar and the kite parked, control the in and out of the bar for more or less speed.
Extend your body sideways in the water. Keep your feet straight behind you and your other hand straight out ahead of you. If going to the right, your left hand will be on the bar and right hand extended straight out. Look over your top shoulder to avoid swallowing salt water. Essentially you want to form a straight line from your feet to your extended hand. Your body should be sideways in the water to create surface area needed to get you upwind. Where you point matters! Another key point is to not point your body too far upwind. Look at the tiny ripples in the water (they run perpendicular to the wind) and point slightly into the ripples. This will help you develop some speed needed to go upwind.
Make sure to develop some speed. You need some momentum to go upwind. In real-life scenarios aim 10-15 feet above the board. A lot of people aim for the board and end up just downwind of it. If you aim upwind of the board then you are more likely to end up at your board.
Once you know how to body drag upwind then it is time to practice waterstarts with the board.