I am an inland rider mostly but travel to the ocean a couple times a year. My question is that when I have caught waves I really liked the feel of not moving the kite and letting it back stall making smaller turns or just traversing the face. I also have ridden the other way of moving kite up and down getting out front and coming back for a smack. Can the first style I mentioned only be done on smaller waves or is it just bad style?
Parking and riding with the kite fully depowered (drifting) is common. Guys that seek the surf feeling without the pull of the kite seek this type of riding. Its considered more "purist" to do this.
Can you do it on bigger waves? yes and a lot easier than smaller waves.
However wind angle as a lot to do with it. The more onshore it is the more you need to work the kite to stop it falling out of the sky. Cross shore is a lot easier for drifting and a slight cross off makes it real easy to drift the kite and ride.
I've done a few sessions lately in cross off head to double head conditions. I enjoy feeling the pull of the kite aswell . So i'd rip down the line lit up and powered both by wave and kite. Then when I got to the super clean section i'd chuck in a few carves to slow down, let go of the bar completely. and cruise down the line with my hands behind my head. just chillin on the wave face..... Awesome.
That's the cool thing about kiting in the waves. You can choose how you want to ride. depower and rider more like a surfer, power up and kitesurf waves, then boost on the way out aswell. Many levels of fun to be had!
Recently Kitekahunas released a nice video series on this topic, how to learn wave riding.
In particular Lesson 4& 5 show you different wave riding styles. Lesson 4 shows the wave riding style of drifting and parking the kite (which is possible with backside wave riding). This will result in a smooth wave riding style.
Lesson 5 shows the style with moving the kite actively to get enough power and speed from the kite to make radical turns with your board. So a more spectacular wave riding style.
There is 2 styles of drifting and kites that can do them. That video only shows one style the first. The first is with kites that aggressively try to stay back in the window and maintain some line tension, steering and sheeting is still effective like this. It's most notable in that video that most kites will only maintain a sideways position with some line tension. The second is with kites that can stay in the air with no line tension. Steering or sheeting is not possible in this situation. The second allows more advantages to body freedom than unhooking. Things like true cut backs become possible and a sense of being totally disconnected from your kite and just riding a board are possible. It is best described as surfkiting. Few videos can be found with examples of this, as only some mainstream gear is recently capable and as such a few riders just seem to be exploring it within the last few years. Videos of riders trying it or getting into situations where it would be quite useful, all on gear that is not capable, are quite common. Have to chuckle a little. Each to their own and enjoy what you want. Most guys seem to be happy just getting dragged around near waves :-/
I discovered your Kitekahunas video series. It's an excellent instructional program! I'm into my third season of kiteboarding, I learned to ride a directional as soon as I could go upwind on a twin tip...Wish I had this video to watch all along. It's helped me refine my technique.
Where I kite the waves are mostly onshore anywhere from two to five feet and usually don't have much punch to them. Side off is a different story, nice! That's when I enjoy letting my kite go-drift and just surf the waves.
I'm wondering, if your intention is to primarily surf the waves and using less kite power or minimal, would it be better to ride something akin to a "real" surfboard that's more appropriate for the available surf conditions?
In my conditions, this could mean something much bigger than a kite specific surfboard. I know this may not be ideal to kite-freeride with having a bigger board, surfboard rocker, etc.
Not sure who you are addressing to, but I will answer. Yes to get surf feel it is better to ride a larger full size board. Newer short wide shapes are much more fun in small waves than older style narrow long boards. The bigger the board the smaller the kite. Smaller kites will have better depower and be better riding upwind on the face. You can always use a larger kite to ride downwind, even overpowered, but upwind on the face may become impossible in that situation. Flatter rocker has large benefits to riding upwind and using a smaller kite, but has some negatives to riding waves and doing jumps. Mainly harder to do turns, prevent board nose diving and general control. They will be faster though.
Riding with straps is not well suited to surfkiting, riding surfboard shapes and especially riding large surfboards. This is because to ride the board fully ,requires changing foot position especially more forward to extract the full low end out of a board. All foot straps are generally installed in the most aggressive wave riding position which subtracts from the boards lowend, requiring a bigger kite with more power. If you want to ride straps youre better off with a mutant or a twintip.
So. Every now and then I do this move. Well it can't really be called a move because I usually do it by accident.
I generally prefer a being powered by the wave and kite at the same time. So I smash the kite across the wind window in relation to the turns I'm doing on the wave. Every now an then when ii'm tacking upwind heel side(cross shore) on the swell then as it pitches I turn down the line and down do a bottom turn. I sometimes smash the kite straight through the powerzone just as I'm doing the bottom turn. The end result is the kite pulls me out of the water for a low level jump while bottom turning and then I land back on the wave. I still follow the arc of the bottom turn. So its like I'm bottom turning in mid air.
"Riding with straps is not well suited to surfkiting, riding surfboard shapes and especially riding large surfboards. This is because to ride the board fully ,requires changing foot position especially more forward to extract the full low end out of a board. All foot straps are generally installed in the most aggressive wave riding position which subtracts from the boards lowend, requiring a bigger kite with more power. If you want to ride straps youre better off with a mutant or a twintip."
I agree. When I'm riding my Naish Global 5'7 (2010 narrow width quad) straps can be fun, but mostly for bump & jump. I find it hard to "surf" a wave with straps, and they're never in the right place. ... Although, watch a video of Robby Naish sometime. He prefers to ride his surfboard strapped, mentioning this in an interview. It's a matter of style and preference.
I don't know who your addressing that at toby. But you use never mind what looks cool and then state you like looking at a particular style. From what I have seen surfkiting doesn't attract that much interest in comps or on the beach. I wouldn't exactly say it's the cool thing, airstyles the one that gets all the ooos and arrrrs . For me personally from a surf background it feels nice, is more challenging. Slashing around powered jumping up and down on the waves with straps was all the stuff I got into when I started. Twintip/mutants are definitely more suited to it. But you are right make your own style enjoy what you want. Be friendly and respectful to others on the water no matter what or how they ride.
Windtzu what about using flat thin straps you could stand on top of. You could then ride strapped or strapless as you please.