Advanced Techniques | Getting air (basic jumps)
Advanced Kitesurf Techniques - jump

Getting air and making a seamlessly smooth vertical jump is about precision kite and bar control working in harmony with load and pop from your back leg on the heel side edge of the board in the exact moment before you leave the water.

When you start the move you will want your kite to be sitting at either the 2 O’clock or 10 O’clock position. For this module of GrayKite’s 101 Big Vertical Air, let’s say you have the kite at 2 O’clock in regards to your direction of travel

The movement that will give you real vertical loft is a high arc of the kite from 12:30 to 11:30, back to 12:30 and then to 12 O’clock carried out with precision bar control. Before you start this movement you will want to send your kite from 2 O’clock to 12:30 with reasonable speed. Once you have sent the kite smoothly from 2 to 12.30 you need to make the movement that gives you loft. To repeat, that’s a very rapid and aggressive yet butter smooth 12:30 to 11:30 back to 12:30 arc, then send the kite directly to the 12 O’clock position at the apex of your jump.

To get real lift, don’t forget to pull down with the bar just the millisecond before you leave the water. To keep control, always remember that %98.5 of the torque of the kite is in your harness not your arms.

Likewise, remember to make the sequence a single movement. It’s an all in one motion with the Kite from 2 to 12:30, then 12:30 to 11:30, back to 12:30 and ultimately fixing the kite for a millisecond at the 12 O’clock position at the Apex of your jump.

The 12:30 to 11:30 arc is where you will get your upwards pull from, and therefore needs to be a much faster and more aggressive motion with the bar/kite than the 2:00 to 12:30 motion.

Equally so the rapid motion back from 11:30 to 12:30 is vital for smooth vertical air, as ultimately fixing the kite at the 12:00 O’clock position for a brief millisecond at the Apex of your jump is where you will be getting your lofty, floaty, lovely hang time air from.

At the highest point of your jump, you need your kite to pause for that millisecond at the 12:00 O’clock position to sustain a lofty vertical float.

Now you’re hanging in the air, take a second to look around and marvel at the height you have reached and watch the other riders zipping along below you.

Like any module in kite surfing progression, over thinking while trying to complete the trick doesn’t allow for a natural flow in the second, so analyze and over think before on the beach and try just to flow with this precision information while executing the jump, it should already be ingrained in your psyche. That’s why we keep repeating everything!

As you begin your descent from the heavens just before landing you need to send your kite back past the 12:30 position to 2 O’clock relative to the original direction you were traveling, using about 75% of the power you would for a board start.

When landing you will only need 75% of your board start power as you are already out of the water and on the board, thus you do not need that extra 25% power to get you up on the board, however you will need %75 board start power relative to the wind, your weight and kite size to maintain your power and speed upon landing.

So when you are 80% down from the apex of your jump your kite should already be past 12:30 and as you land it should be at the 2 O’clock position with power in the kite to pull you smoothly along in the direction you were originally traveling.

Before you hit the water to try a jump you need to have everything clear in your head so that the second you leave the water you already know the height you will aim for. The amount of Load and Pop you have on your back leg heel edge of the board the millisecond before you leave the water, combined with the speed that you send the kite from 12:30 to 11:30 and back to 12:30 then 12, dictates the height you will reach. Basically, amount of Load and pop times kite speed equals the height of jump.

This 12:30 to 11:30 upwards torque from the kite, is created from fast precision bar movements. Precision and speed are vital for a nice smooth vertical jump.

The 12:30 to 11:30 high arc acts like a pendulum to pull you vertically up. If you miss this by a little bit and make a 12 to 11 arc that will pull you more horizontally than vertically out of the board forwards and into a mini superman.

Most people, as when learning the board start, want to instinctively use their arm strength to pull themselves up to the kite when coming out of the water with the board. Don’t do this!

p dir=”ltr”>The correct way to do it is simply being soft on the bar and taking the weight of the kite through the harness, your back and ultimately the heel edge of the board.

Most people likewise want to use their arm strength to pull themselves up to the kite while making the pendulum. This is not correct.

Try and focus on the load in your body and heel edge of the board and get your brain away from thinking the load is in your arms.

Most important is to make sure you are having fun and don’t get frustrated. Keep up with the repetitive attempts as ingraining this information into your psyche and in time you’ll become a ‘King of the Air’!

If you want some hands on help putting these ideas into practice then come and see Gray in Tarifa for an advanced kitesurfing lesson.

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Gray Robinson