Kitesurfing is a watersport that glides between the laws of aerodynamics and hydrodynamics. It combines a parachute kite with a board to create the surfing effect. The watersport relies on coordination skills for maneuvering the kite; its connecting harness is what anchors the movement and allows the surfer to steer freely. Kitesurfing can be performed on flat waters as well as waves.
Wave riding is a kitesurfing style that uses a directional board with ideal flotation and turning power. Unlike flat-water kitesurfing that is powered solely by the wind, wave kitesurfing harnesses the power of waves. You rely on the kite to steer you in the intended wave’s direction and then the wave becomes your propelling force. This creates an adrenaline-fueled learning curve that takes basic kitesurfing to a whole new level.
Benefits of Wave Kitesurfing
Tourists and surfing enthusiasts always benefit from their travel affinities. Some of the best kitesurfing destinations in the world include Mauritius Island, Hawaii, Peru, Morocco, Madagascar, Canary Islands, and Key West. Surfing attractions like turquoise flat-water lagoons, coral reefs, and tropical beaches form the aesthetics of a kitesurfer’s happy place. Travel opportunities for wave kitesurfing also pave the way for other hobbies such as underwater photography and journal keeping. The archipelagos and exotic species simply fulfill your bucket list wishes!
Wave kitesurfing takes you away from your cluttered daily life out into nature’s blue palette. With the tidal highs and lows of this therapeutic watersport, everything else dissolves away when it is just you and the ocean in a free-flowing harmony. You invest all of your attention and energy into staying upright, and this leaves no room for unnecessary thoughts to sneak in.
You take the gym out into the ocean with this dynamic activity that relies on coordination, muscle strength, good posture, and stamina. During wave kitesurfing, in particular, all of your muscles contribute to the combined physical effort to go with the flow. At the end of every kitesurfing session, you will feel rejuvenated and healthier than before. The fitness workout aspect sounds more inviting because the whole kitesurfing experience is an adventure on its own.
Wave Kitesurfing Tips
Moving from flat waters to wave riding can be quite intimidating, which is why it helps to first practice various riding executions on flat waters.
Practice Carving Turns
By practicing your carving turns along flat waters, you get to understand how carving your surfboard really works. It allows you to determine the correct posture and weight distribution to maneuver the kite. This makes your kite-board collaboration very synchronized.
Practice Foot Change
Transitions between toe sides and heel sides help you accomplish gentle as well as powered carving. This facilitates staying upwind and teaches you how to maneuver the board by timing it in sync with the waves. When you head out to an approaching wave, you can carve across it by steering the kite just once. The rest of the movement comes from the waves.
Try Gentle Carves on Initial Waves
On smaller waves, you can start by riding heel side onto the wave, carving gently, and emerging toe side. Alternatively, you can ride the wave toe side first before carving and ending on your heel side. These are two forms of gentle carves that require minimal kite input and help you discover how the wave creates momentum in your turns. Always steer your kite before turning your board as this streamlines the overall surf motion.
Progress to Powered Carves
Armed with the above carving fundamentals, you can meet steeper waves for powered carving. Speed and timing are imperative. Just like in gentle carves, you have the option to initiate the powered carve on the heel side and come out on the toe side. Or you can maneuver the carve comfortably on your toe side, ride the incoming wave, and emerge on your heel side. Greater speed and more powerful carving on a steeper wave enable you to accelerate while turning. The wave exponentially increases your speed and carving power. Consequently, you need to steer the kite more aggressively to stay upwind. The kite always turns before your board. This is the stage where you appreciate the combined workforce of the kite along with the wave, understanding that the wave alone does not create momentum. Your kite should be in the right direction to encourage wave kitesurfing rather than hinder it.
Use the Speedy Foot Change
To catch more waves as you kitesurf, practice the speedy foot change by immediately moving your feet before or after a powered carve. This is made possible by synchronizing the abrupt foot change with your kite’s movement. Practicing this complex maneuver on flat waters allows you to get the feel of hydrodynamics along with perfect timing accuracy.
Create Elaborate Sequences
Once you feel confident treading on unchartered waves, you will be able to control the kite and guide your movements effortlessly. This helps you catch more waves along the ride when you transition to frontside and backside kitesurfing. It is important to focus on a singular turn before connecting a series of turns for more elaborate kitesurfing.
Let Go of the Kite When Trapped Under a Wave
In case you get disoriented and trapped under a wave, do not try to maneuver the kite for balancing yourself. Instead, work towards an easy escape from the wave so that you can recover from the situation faster.
Balance Between the Kite and the Board
Beginner kitesurfers often make the mistake of steering their boards alone, rather than trusting their kite to take the lead. Kitesurfing combines the power of both the wind and waves to enable gliding. This is why the kite should take over whenever you change directions, and you can simply follow the kite’s lead on your board.
Catch Your Waves Early On
Remember, time and tide wait for no one, and there is no better moment than when you are on a wave to appreciate this proverb! Be the early bird and catch your wave at its inception instead of waiting for it to form completely. It is a simple strategy to conquer a wave and execute your kitesurfing tricks. Approaching the wave too late is not very conducive to smooth riding styles. It can be a bit disorienting when you collide with the rising hydrodynamics mid-wave.
Lower Your Center of Gravity
A low center of gravity provides a better balance and stability during wave kitesurfing. This enables quicker recovery and greater control over different stunts. You can bend your knees on the surfboard and adjust your stance to efficiently lower your center of gravity when a wave takes you higher.
Kite Essentials for a Good Starting Point
For this ultimate watersport experience, you need dedicated kites that are purpose-built for kitesurfing. Features to bear in mind include lightweight engineering, quick turning, easy depowering, stability, and responsiveness. Your ideal kite should streamline upwind surfing and be user-friendly during relaunching.
Wave kitesurfing is comprised of alternating wind and wave momentum, successive carving turns, and returning to the wave by staying upwind. In general, there are two types of wave kites. The first type is for fast surfers who prefer responsive kites that accelerate turning. The second type of wave kite appeals more to slow and steady surfers who enjoy the wave power as the kite takes the back seat until needed. Such a park-and-ride orientation works best when the wind direction is almost parallel to the waves.
Drift is another factor to consider. It refers to the kite’s ability to fly ahead of you as you chase it on a wave. Kites with superior drifting support your riding tricks by cutting down traction from your kite. Moreover, kites need to have quality fabric resistance to withstand crashes against the waves.
By purchasing dedicated equipment for wave kitesurfing, you can trust your experience to be safe, recreational, and packed with adrenaline!