The Final Kiteboarding Practice With Your Trainer Kite...
Get ready for some serious challenges with these exercises - let's see if you can take it!
Welcome to the final kiteboarding practice with your trainer kite! The exercises below blur the line between trainer kite exercises and full-on kiteboarding exercises…which is the real purpose of a trainer kite – to learn kiteboarding skills in a safe and controlled environment.
These final skills are the most exciting of them all. You have a good grasp of all the basics, so let’s take them and have some fun! We are going to cover:
- Dragging - Can you catch and use the power of the kite? Test whether or not you have proper form, and learn how to use the power of the kite with this exercise.
- Running – Do you think you can fly your kite, park it, and pay attention to other things? Running with the kite will test these skills, plus, it will show you how the kite behaves when you move.
- Jumping – Yes, you can catch air with a trainer, and it is an absolute blast…but, you have to fine tune your kite timing and power strokes.
Not only fun, these exercises require that you fine tune your already sharp flying skills. Once you perfect these you will have an absolute blast with your kite, and a trainer kite ability to be proud of!
Dragging on the Soles of Your Feet
Proper form and precise control of power strokes are key when trying this kiteboarding practice exercise.
This kiteboarding practice will put to the test both your form, and how well you can harness the wind's power (power stroke). When executed properly, you will slide along the ground on the soles of your feet. You should remain perfectly balanced, neither falling over backwards, nor being pulled over forwards.
In regards to kiteboarding, this exercise will teach you the form you need when edging your board and absorbing a strong gust of wind.
Things to Keep in Mind: A few things you should keep in mind when trying this kiteboarding practice exercise are:
What to Do:
- You will need to lean back as you power stroke your kite. If you start to fall over backwards as you begin to slide forward, bend your knees and sink your butt towards the ground. This reduces the leverage you have over the kite and it will pull you forward and back into balance. Stand up and lean back again, this time not as far.
- You must be able to do this without stepping forward. If you get pulled forward so much that you have to step forward, you fail. When you are kiteboarding your feet are strapped to the board, so you can’t step forward. What happens instead is you are pulled over forwards and face plant into the water (or step off your surfboard if you are kitesurfing). If you step forward when practicing this, you aren’t leaning far enough backwards – make sure your form is correct and lean back.
With the above in mind, the steps you want to do when trying this kiteboarding practice exercise are:
- Find yourself a place to drag. Make sure you have shoes or sandals and that there are no sharp rocks, glass, or anything you can hurt yourself on.
- Power stroke. As you do, make sure you lean back with the proper form. If you feel yourself start to slide forward, good. If not, power stroke again with more power.
- As you start to slide forward focus on proper form. Try to find the position where you slide with the most ease, yet keep your balance. (You may need to stick your butt out a little. This reduces the friction your feet have on the ground and maximizes your ability to slide forward)
- Try to slide as far as you can!
Practice these steps, and if you ever have any problems, contact me directly
and ask. The only way I can make these descriptions better is if I know what isn’t clear.
Your Final Kiteboarding Practice – Kite Exercise #1
Practice sliding with your kite. Remember to focus of proper form (although I think you’ll find that it doesn’t work if you have bad form). Slide until you can do it no matter what.
Run With the Kite
The ability to fly your kite while paying attention to other things will serve you well in this kiteboarding practice exercise.
This kiteboarding practice exercise will teach you what it is like to move while flying your kite. You will need to look where you are going (instead of at the kite), and the way the kite moves changes when you are moving.
Let me explain what happens: When you are stationary and fly the kite across the wind window, the kite crosses from one side to the other. If you start running at the same speed of the kite as it crosses, it appears to stop moving. The kite doesn’t actually stop moving, it just appears that way because you are moving with it.
So, as you run, the kite remains “parked” in the wind window and you can keep running (aren’t you glad you practiced parking the kite so much?) See the diagram below for a visual reference.
What to Do:
Here is what you want to do when trying this kiteboarding practice exercise:
- Choose which way you are going to move. Make sure it is clear of all obstacles.
- Place your kite in the ‘start’ position. If you are going to be running along the 3 o’clock line of the wind window, park your kite between 10 - 11 o’clock. If you are going to run in the 9 o’clock direction, park your kite between 1-2 o’clock.
- Power stroke. Power stroke in the direction that you wish to travel. When the kite is about one-third of the way through the wind window, start running in that direction. Once you are running at the right speed, the kite will ‘park’.
- Run! Pay attention to where you are headed, but make sure you keep the kite parked.
- Once you want to stop. When you are ready to stop, slowly steer the kite up, towards 12 o’clock. As the kite moves higher in the window, it will begin to slow. As it slows, slow and come to a stop, parking the kite above you. Alternatively, you can just stop running and the kite will fly out the edge of the window and stop. Return back to where you started. When you have caught your breath, run back to where you started.
Troubleshooting: There are two main things that most people have trouble with when trying this kiteboarding practice exercise. They are:
- The kite has too much/ too little speed and it passes out of the wind window. Here’s what to do in these cases:
- The kite is too fast. In this case you can either run faster (if you can!), or slow the kite down by ‘wiggling’ the kite up and down. If neither of these works, start over, but this time do a lower-power power stroke.
- The kite is too slow. In this case, run slower; the kite isn’t so slow that you will have to stay stationary, so just slow down. If you want the kite to be faster, do a higher-power powerstroke.
- The kite crashes. The kite only crashes if you crash it. Focus on keeping the kite parked as you run. It helps to start with a low-power power stroke (so that the kite is flying relatively slow) so that you can run slower and pay more attention to the kite.
Your Final Kiteboarding Practice – Kite Exercise #2
You now want to practice running with your kite. Choose yourself a nice location and follow the steps above. Do this exercise until you can pull it off without looking at the kite very much; try to look at the kite less than one-quarter of the time and when you do, just give it a quick glance.
To date, the most fun I have ever had with a trainer kite was when I was jumping it, and this kiteboarding practice exercise will show you how it is done - but please note: Trainer kites are not meant for this, and you can hurt yourself. Always make sure you have adequate protective equipment.
Get ready for some serious fun with this kiteboarding practice exercise. Jumping is one of the things that a lot of people (including myself) find fascinating about kiteboarding, and yes, you can do it with a trainer. To do it, all you need is a good wind (make sure you can handle your kite in high winds) and good timing.
How Is Jumping Possible? Before we get into the “how to”, let me explain a little about how jumping works. The two physical phenomena that allow you to jump are: stretching the kite’s lines and lift. Here’s a brief description of how they work.
Stretching of the kites lines – This is the most important factor in jumping. Because the kite’s lines can be stretched slightly, you can “store” power in them temporarily.Imagine that the kite’s lines were made out of elastics.
If you were to fly the kite from the edge of the wind window into the power zone, they would begin to stretch as soon as the kite caught the wind. At first you wouldn’t feel the pull because the elastic would be stretching; you will start to feel pull as the elastic approaches its maximum stretch. Once the elastic reaches its maximum stretch, you will feel the full pull of the kite, plus the pull of the “elastics” (the kite’s lines). Once at this point, the kite and its lines are going to pull you towards them; if the kite was directly overhead the lines would pull you UP. If they pull hard enough, then you WILL go up (JUMP!).
- Lift – Because the kite is shaped like a wing, it produces lift as it moves through the air. Even if the kite is parked directly overhead, there is wind flowing over its surfaces, so it has lift (no wind and it won’t fly, right?). The faster the wind flows over the kite, the more lift it has.
To produce more lift, you need to increase the speed the wind flows over the kite’s surface; this can be done in two ways: find more wind, or move the kite through the air faster. So, if you increase the kites speed by diving it into the power zone, it will have more lift.
So, jumping is possible by both stretching the kite’s lines, and increasing the kites speed. How do we accomplish this? We dive the kite into the power zone, and before the lines reach their maximum stretch, we quickly fly it directly overhead; this way, when the kite and lines ‘pop’, they pull us into the air!
Here is what you want To Do:
- Start with the kite between 10-11 o’clock (or 1-2 o’clock). [This is where its lines are the most un-stretched.]
- Dive the kite into the power zone. [The lines are starting to stretch].
- Steer your kite straight up, out of the power zone, to 12 o’clock. You want to do this before the lines hit their maximum stretch point (you want the lines to hit their max stretch when the kite is overhead, not downwind). How do you know if you have waited too long? The kite will suddenly pull you downwind. You don’t want that.
- When you feel a strong pull upwards, hop off the ground! At some point when the kite is headed to the top of the wind window, the lines will reach their maximum stretch. When this happens they are going to ‘pop’ and give you a strong pull upwards. If you jump when you feel this ‘pop’, you should lift off the ground and fly!
- Hang on tight – You will touch down gently soon. Just hang on until you come down. You won’t be up for long. The longest I have ever jumped with a trainer was about 3 seconds with a 3.6 square meter kite.
Troubleshooting: The two problems that you will probably run into with this kiteboarding practice exercise are:
- You are pulled downwind before you can jump - If this happens to you, your kite was in the power zone too long. Fly the kite out of the power zone, towards 12 o’clock, sooner.
- There is no ‘pop’ as you fly your kite towards 12 o’clock. – This is a problem of not enough power. Fly your kite deeper into the power zone before steering it up to 12 o’clock. If you have tried this using the whole power zone, there isn’t enough wind. Wait and try on a windier day (or with a bigger kite).
Your Final Kiteboarding Practice – Kite Exercise #3
If you feel ready, try jumping! Make sure you do exactly as the steps above describe, and try to have some fun too.
That's all for these kiteboarding practice exercises! If you have worked through all 15 of the exercises explained in this guide, you will have an excellent grasp on the basics of handling your trainer kite. Wherever you decide to go from here, have fun and be safe!