by Mr Jo Macdonald
The wind is normally at least a bit gusty/lully and if you're at the low end limit you can stop planing or not manage to go upwind in the lulls and if you sine the kite a lot you just lose water. Keeping your sped up is important but in light wind there's another technique that works great, pumping.
It's easier to do than explain.
If you've never pumped a windsurf board and rig watch how they do it.
With a windsurf you pump the sail while kicking the board so the sail starts to take shape and create apparent wind and with your kicks the board starts to come out of the water so there's less surface creating drag and you start planing. You do this going downwind with a rythmn you have to feel with the mast/board/sail/wind, it's something you have to feel. When you've got it sussed with the right rythmn and some good agressive pumping you can get going when you couldn't even plane before and once you've got going use the apparent wind to go upwind.
With a kite I don't think it's really useful for starting off but I've found it works great to keep you planing when you're at or even below the low limit.
It depends a bit on the type of kite, with some a low sine seems to work ok but I've tried pumping with different kinds and it works great, better if you're on a wide lightwind board.
If you're at your low limit, when you hit a lull you start to slow down and stop planing, losing your apparent wind too, start pumping the kite to keep it further back in the window by pumping the bar 5-10cm, the kite flies better and further back in the window so it has more power. While pumping the bar, start kicking the board to keep it planing. Turn the board slightly upwind with every kick so you keep going upwind even if you're going really slow.
When you get it sussed you can even keep going upwind at walking pace with next to no wind, it's pretty wierd, it feels like you're walking on the water and you wait for the next gust to pick up speed again, you never stop planing and you don't lose ground.
Your rythmn between body/bar/board has a lot to do with it here too and you want to keep tension in the lines always
Give it a go and let me know
Could you explain "kicking the board" more?
it feels like I'm kicking it forwards and the front up/out of the water while curving slightly upwind so I'd say with more pressure from the rear foot. Same sort of movement as when you do a back roll so I'm pretty sure this also gives the lines more tension too.