Living on this beautiful white sand island with turquoise blue waters as kitesurfers it would be a shame not to make the most of your water time. From the occasional session in the summer season to regular session through windy season we want to boost our performance when we get the chance to hit the water and shred !
From the office bound monthly rider, the weekend warrior or the serial shredder, or . . . The laid back cruiser, the wave slasher or big air junky, below I will list some tips and tricks with the aim to boost and maximise your performance on the water regardless of what you are doing or how you are riding.
Stance fundamentals, speaking as an instructor and coach I receive countless riders looking to improve a certain aspect of their riding or pick up a certain trick. However their basic riding stance is incorrect, out of line and inefficient which will prevent basic progression and can easily lead to long term injury and pain. I encourage you as riders to observe others stances and try get some footage of your own riding as this is one of the best ways of identifying faults which is the first step to progression.
Incorrect stance 1 – ( captain restroom ) aka the toilet rider aka pooh stance
This is very common, to compensate from the intense pull produced by the kite many riders will try and sit against the power which creating a lower back focal point that can very quickly lead to lower back pain and long term damage. To prevent or fix this I encourage riders to open them self up, stay square with the kite, keep your shoulders wide, hips and legs open, bend your knees and rotate in the direction that your kite is pulling you in.
A good exercise to help correcting this, take a wide stance if you can lay your twin tip on the floor ( mind the fins ) bend your knees, keep your upper body straight and hold an object in front of you around chest level, then rotate to the left then right. Visualise this motion and apply it to your riding. You will see and probably feel noticeable results.
Incorrect stance 2 – The plow
A similar situation where the rider tries to resist the power of the kite, this time instead of sitting backward the rider applies to much back foot pressure thus pushing the back of the board down into the water ( creating an anchor )
Look at example B in the above picture, visualise your board slicing through the water, our board will work most efficiently if they are ridden relatively flat through the water, increasing surface area results in easier plaining. As you are riding keep both legs nice and open and apply equal pressure to correct this.
Tip 1 – differentiate back foot pressure and heel side rail engagement to grasp a better idea of how your board is plaining through the water.
Tip 2 – Ride with your kite slightly higher in the window, this will slow your riding speed down, provide a little more vertical lift and give you more time to concentrate on your stance.
No matter if you are cruising, hitting waves, throwing down some free style or just sending it we are constantly rotating around our mid section, the stronger our core is the easier it will be to maintain power and recover. This is not saying 100 sit ups per day will be beneficial however you will find huge benefits by frequently engaging your core and stabilisers through motions such as plank holds, front squats, deadlifts and leg raises to name a few.
If you are pushing your unhooked riding it is advisable to throw in some basic compound upper body movement in such as pull ups, dips and push ups.
Flexibility is vital for performing on the water and recovering after your sessions it will also prevent some muscle based injuries from riding. stretching pre and post session is advisable.
Visualisation is a very powerfull tool, from your first water starts to fully powered kite loops it is worth taking time and mentally going through the steps required to execute whatever you are currently working on. Any time of day and before your session work best for me, I encourage my students to make mental checklists of skills and kite/body motions required to get to their objective and then slow things down until the muscle memory starts to kick in. Reflection post session also will help an individual understand what, how and why when it comes to executing new motions/tricks.
Hope this serves as an interesting read and aids performance.