How to do kitesurfing sliding turns
OK, you're up & riding along... chances are you're going to want to turn around sooner or later? I'll try and give you a couple of key points to bear in mind as you try out your first transitions.
Your kite board is most likely a twin tip, which as the name implies, is the same each end. The advantage of this is that it goes equally well in both directions. Which means you can leave both feet firmly in the straps and stay facing the kite the whole way through your first turns.
We call the most basic transition from one direction of travel to another a slide turn, because that's essentially what you're going to do. Stop moving forwards, slide slightly down wind towards the kite & then go the other way.
Watch this short section from the Progression Beginner DVD to see a sliding turn being done.
The elements involved in nailing sliding turns are:
1/ Kite positioning is key to getting through the turn without sinking. The kite will be moving all the way through the turn. Start by raising it up to slow down your speed. It should pass high through the top part of the window & then be brought back down through the power on the other side of the window.
2/ Board control and body weight are also important to making your turns smooth & consistent. As you slow down, with the kite rising, begin to move your weight from your back foot to a more centered stance over the heel edge of your board. This shift in weight will make the tail of the board feel looser. As the kite passes overhead, use your back foot to push the tail of the board down wind, so it's in the right direction to start your new tack. As the kite comes down in front of you, commit you weight more to your new back foot (which was the front foot on the old tack) & lean back in your harness as you start travelling in the new direction.
3/ Wind strength changes will make this move feel different each time. When its windier you'll have to move the kite more gently and sheet out so you don't get pulled down wind too much or even lifted off the water! In lighter conditions you have to be much more positive with the kite to avoid sinking back & sitting in the water.
Good luck & we'll see you out there! Taking kitesurf lessons & watching instructional DVDs is a great idea before you take to the water. For more help & advice just give our friendly team a call in the 24-7 Boardsports shop.