Wave Riding Tips - Backhand, by Ben Wilson
So far kitesurfing is being interpreted employing two very different angles of attack - switch and backhand. Neither one being more "correct" than the other and both executed correctly, look awesome. They are merely two different interpretations or approaches to riding the wave. Kitesurfing on your backhand though you can approach the wave at a completely different angle allowing you to draw lines that you would never experience riding switch. It gives the whole attack a point of difference, an added flare to the way you can kite waves.
Here are some tips to get you ripping:
UNHOOKING - I pretty much always unhook when possible, so that I'm not restricted by just pivoting off one point, so my body is totally opened up for any turn that I want to do
BOTTOM TURN - The bottom turn is the most important part of kitesurfing backside or frontside for that matter, it lays your foundations for what comes next. I always like to take the drop on a wave like I would surfing so I know where I am on the wave and actually feel the power of the wave opposed to the power of the kite right from the beginning. Obviously when doing a bottom turn on your backhand opposed to your forehand you going to be on your heel side edge so to really be able to dig your rail in and get that off the bottom drive you need to come back up the wave, when executing it lower your center of gravity by really bending your knees to disperse your weight over your surfboard.
KITE POSITION - My biggest tip is keep the kite as low as possible and aiming down the line to where you are heading holding a happy medium of where you can just let the kite fly with no pull and having to do only subtle adjustments so you can just concentrate on your turns. It's very important to start your ride with the kite in its optimal position, this will vary in all wind angles and wave sizes; it just takes practice to get it.
. TIMING is one of the key fundamentals, with it you get flow and obviously it comes from being able to read the wave, I'm always looking over my shoulder down the line visualizing what the wave will do to determine my next move.
. SPEED is everything, you can do anything with speed, having said that the hardest thing is controlling it, in the beginning stay hooked in until you feel like you have your speed under control, then un-hook or hook back in if you need to re-gain that control.
. BODY POSITION - Staying centered over your board when hitting a section or doing a turn is another major factor, it requires more commitment but will ensure to maintain your speed and stomp the move.
. FLOW is the hardest part, yet the most rewarding and functional way to ride the wave, but the way you control and fly your kite will make it possible and is the key to your success of riding backside. Having flow and being in sync with the wave is the true foundation of making it all come together, practice this or you will be skipping a major part of your growth in riding the waves.
. BOARDS - Of course boards are another huge factor, you need a kiteboard that has refined rails, good concaves and is suited to your style, fins are essential, twin tips don't work backside, you need direction and rails, you're local conditions will determine what size board you need, generally the same as what you would surf, if you don't surf then find out what sort of surfboard would work best for you if you did surf.
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