Kitesurfing techniques: Down Loop Transitions
If you’re reading this we’re assuming you already know how to do a standard transition – if you don’t you might want to have a look at our previous post explaining how to perfect your transitions first.
How hard is a down loop transition?
As intimidating, nerve racking or out of reach many think the down loop transition is, it is actually relatively easy and safe to learn as long as you are underpowered while learning.
The key is to be underpowered while learning
Important Note: ‘Underpowered’ in this case means ‘DON’T BE POWERED UP AT ANY TIME!¨ so when learning a down loop transition you must choose a smaller kite size than you usually would for the wind conditions. Don’t just use the depower strap while flying the kite you would normally use; you will still have too much power in the kite to learn this trick safely.
How much smaller should my kite be?
You must choose a kite size that will give you maximum 6 out of 10 power in the prevailing wind conditions while learning this stylish transition. Later you can progress to more power but while learning the move your safety is paramount.
Weight transfer during a down loop transition
Similar to normal transitions you will be aiming for butter smooth edging by loading your weight correctly from your back hip and leg to your front hip and leg, which will within a second become your new back hip and leg as you complete the turn. If you haven’t mastered this technique we recommend you perfect your normal transitions before moving on to down loop transitions.
Initial kite movement for down loop transitions
To make a down loop turn you need to position the kite at 1:15 or 10:45 and dive the kite counter intuitively by pulling down sharply on your forward hand relative to your body center. If you are riding right foot forward then pull the bar into a sharp and aggressive twist motion with your right forward hand, the furthest hand away from your center of body, and vice versa, if you are riding left foot forward then pull the bar into a sharp and aggressive twist motion with your left forward hand away from your center.
That feels weird. And scary
The first few times you try this it will feel and look like the Kite will slam down into the water. That’s part of the adrenaline rush and fun of this tricky turn. And, well, if you don’t turn aggressively enough your kite will crash into the water! 😀
Just trust the kite
You must trust that your aggressive sharp turn on the bar will be enough for the kite to make the down loop. You need to twist sharply and aggressively on the bar. That *doesn’t* mean pull down on the bar, as all this will do is power you up. Which is not what you want, unless you’re keen to learn the un-stylish superman.
Change your riding position
As the kite loops down from its high position in the wind window at 1:15 or 10:45, push out your back heel edge of the board and ride downwind for a few metres, shifting your weight so what was your back leg becomes your front leg.
The load in what was your back leg will now have been shifted to your new back leg (which was your front leg before the turn). For these few meters of down wind direction on the board, as above in normal transitions you will be standing relatively more upright on the board, with the flat of your board being more predominant than the edge of your board.
Persuade the kite to change direction
As the kite down loops and drives back through the heart of the power zone in the opposite direction you where originally traveling *you need to push up on the bar* so you don’t generate too much power. Otherwise it’s superman time. This is the key to move, and it’s why you learn this trick with an underpowered kite. Being underpowered gives you a bit of margin, and means if you don’t time your push up on the bar perfectly to reduce power at least you won’t give superman a new cape.
When the kite is in the power zone
As the kite loops down through the power zone and begins its turn back in the opposite direction you where traveling, this will also be the second you aggressively carve the board with a twisting motion from your new back leg and hip to direct the board back in the opposite direction and complete the down loop transition.
You’ll get a lot of satisfaction from completing your first down loop transition. Keep practicing until you can do it without thinking and you’ll get a lot more from all the compliments and admiring glances it brings you!
You can do it. So do it. Practice it. And perfect it 😀