Kitesurfing Techniques | Transitions
To make a smooth kitesurfing transition you need to understand a few key points about both kite control and weight distribution between your front and back leg/hip. Understanding these points is the key to changing direction and making smooth transitions on the board.
Kite control: Starting position for smooth transition
Depending on the direction you are riding you need to position your kite at either 10 O´clock or 2 O´clock before you start your transition. Remember you will turn your kite in TWO stages. From 10 or 2 O’clock you will turn the kite aggressively to generate moderate power as you send it through the edge of the wind window to the 12 O´clock position. Too much power and you will lose control and go over the board superman/superwoman style, too little power and you will not have enough speed throughout the transition to complete the turn.
Starting the turn: Kite movement and shifting your body weight
For this example we’ll assume you’re travelling upwind with the kite at 10 O´clock. Your weight will be in your back (right) hip/leg in this direction of travel. Turn the kite up hard from 10 O’clock and as it passes 11 while moving at 45 degrees across the wind window, push out with the hip of your back leg so the board travels in a down wind direction for a few more meters. Then, while you are travelling downwind these few metres, flatten out the board and stand more upright as you start to transfer your weight to your front hip and leg, which is about to become your new back leg and hip.
When should you turn?
Throughout the downwind part of your transition the kite will be traveling past 11 to 12 O´clock, and the power and speed that the kite generates at this point determines the distance you will have to travel downwind to make a better, smoother transition.
Turn when the kite strikes 12
As the kite hits 12 you need to change you riding position and shift your weight quickly and smoothly from what was your front leg and is now your new back leg. At the same time you need to twist your new back hip so the board travels back in the opposite upwind direction which will give you a smooth carving sensation on the edge of the board
Completing the transition
To complete the transition you need to get yourself moving in the opposite direction, in this case upwind. As the Kite hits 12 you need to dive the kite relatively aggressively in the opposite direction to your previous direction of travel and lean back on your edge a little more. As you are already up on the board you do not want to make a power stroke as aggressive as a board start, but you will need around 80% of the power of a board start in your first power stroke to maintain momentum, generate power and speed, complete the transition smoothly and carry on riding.
Now that you understand these principles you need to put them into action! If you follow this advice you’ll soon have butter smooth board edging and sharp heel edge moves combined with precision two stage kite control. This will assure your transition is smooth and looks highly professional. Just remember to be relatively flat and upright on the board during the few meters down-wind part of the turn. And don’t go over 7 or 8 out of 10 power while learning!
When you apply these principles you will quickly learn to make smooth and stylish transitions that feel great and will impress your kiter and non-kiter friends alike. And with a little more practice you’ll become eye candy for all the chicos and chicas on the beach 😀
Want to get hands on training from an expert instructor? Book an advanced kitesurfing lesson.