How to progress in Freestyle Kiteboarding

Ewan Jaspen - Freestyle kiteboarding As soon as you can go upwind, and slide into switch and do a train jibe it is time to start learning tricks, so I try to help you all the way through to be a professional freestyler...

Well the thing is doing such a guide is ridiculous, because in my opinion it is a unique style and free imagination and inspiration from other sports that should build your riding otherwise, everyone would look and do the same.

Having said that, there are some basics to build YOUR tricks around..

Try to build options to help you develop your own style. ENJOY!

Must have basics

1. Jibe from switch

Like a backside turn in snowboarding you slide into switch turn the kite first and follow it, while it pulls you automatically onto heelside.

- Ride switch
- Send kite in opposite direction
- Pressure heelside and follow

Why this move??

It makes your turns smooth and your riding looks like continuos rather than doing one way and than the other

2. Chop hop

This is your first jump and may lead in many variations later (maybe skatestyle??)

- Kite at 11
- Pump the board once, that it doesn't stick to the surface
- Jump actively

Combine those first two tricks, it will make a very nice looking transition!

Hop into switch, wait a second and slide into heelside with some spray and ride away in the other direction (bit more aggressive and less smooth)

3. First Jump

This  the third must have basic and what makes kitesurfing so different and hence opens you many doors.

- Steer actively  kite towards 12
- As soon as it reaches 12 pull the bar in
- And jump of actively

For a smooth landing power up again, before you land

Learn it from toeside too, I'm personally not a big fan of toeside, but it is very valuable in competitions for xtra points (competition is the easiest way to a sponsorship)

3.1 Tailgrab

Jumping plainly does feel very nice, but does not necessarily look so, but with a push in a direction you will see how many doors are open to you now .

- Jump and bull bar in
- Grab the back of the board with your backhand (need the front hand to power up again)

Train this a lot, and you will see you do not need your backhand... how many opportunities now to do things???

- Endless!!
- Pull a foot out, while you grap and put it back in before you land!!?!

 So try your own ideas were to put your board and your hand!!

(One of my signatures is to invert, bring the board switch and grab the tail, easy and is nice on photos.. )

A big visual difference is to bone a leg out (tailgrap do frontleg) stretch you frontleg and pull the back leg in.

These are the 3 basics that you need (not 3.1)

Now you're officially intermediate ?

Ok - I would like to teach you two more intermediate basics, and from then onwards it is up to you, I hope you have already played a bit in your jumps (3.1) to get your creativity going.

After the two basics, we will have a short basic look into various pathways (Unhooking, Surf, graps.)

The thing is not to choose a path it is combining different elements in your own way.


1. Backflip or backloop (often wrongly referred as backroll - which is UNHOOKED)

This is THE intermediate goal and is actually very easy, the trick is to start at 12 oclock and just jank your head backwards (an old wakeboard law where the head goes, the body will follow.)

- fly kite at 12 (not 'to') for a start (later 11 or 1)
- pull bar in
- and immediately THROW your head backwards (spot landing helps)

 Watch out that you do not pull your bar at the backhand while you throw your head back! 

2. Frontroll 

Not even a handle pass I found so difficult to learn like a frontroll or to blind...

I think the problem with a frontflip is that you have to jump first, while in a backflip you turned already a third before you leave the water. So do this move with a little of kite steering to get you up and then throw your head.

- steer kite slowly to 12 and pull bar in
- shortly after takeof throw your head arround
- spot your landing as early as somehow possible

 start to combine your rotations with already learned elements, grap with the backhand, take a foot out or do a double backroll. so many oppurtunaties!!!
-do of a wave -feels very nice

Advanced riding

Pathway to surf

The biggest decision now is Surfboard or Twintip..  I thnik it is important to make the decision now and not earlier (later if possible) because you should know were you coming from, many surfstyle riders want to make it look exactly like surfing, but it is just not!!! We can do so many things different and have different opportunities. (don't pump though the whitewater, just get the next one!!) I find Muitu on a surfboard very inspiring (click here for a video).

Pathway Unhooking

I got hooked by unhooking since my second week kitesurfing. The secret here is JUST DO IT! Very many things are actually easier unhooked (like backrolls or s-bends). 

With unhooking it is a lot easier with a kite that flies over the front lines (often C-kites like Hi-Fi, Fuel, Torch) Who just wants to do unhooked as a part of much other stuff, Hybrid shapes like havoc, waroo, switchbladeare the way to go.

Unhooked 'new school' does maybe not look as nice as big boosts and kiteloops to spectators, but it just feels sooo good!

1 Unhooking your kite between 11 and two and hook out ride a few meters and hook back in
2. hook back in with one hand on the chickenloop to depower while doing so

A Raily is the way to take of unhooked

- kite at 45 degrees and nothing else for now!!!
- Edge the board to block sideway movement (build up presure) and  take of (called to 'pop')
- Extend body and let kite pull you

Try to do your back and frotnrolls now unhooked, and  to revert..

2 Blind

To blind looks and feels great.. The problem here is, that is has to be trained in the right conditions, dead flat and constant 15-18 knots, and you need 3 days.. Otherwise it could take years.

Start riding and wiggle the board a bit (get it loose) and slide around your front hand, (got to release back hand)

- kite at 11
- take off and look to where you came from!!!
- all pressure on toes

(Tip I like to finish this of with a surface pass, and love to do s-bends or double  s-bends to blind)

Handle passes 
I strongly advise to do surface and then dangle passes not a blind judge first, hence you need the technique later on

So slide into switch, wind around your backhand and turn your head quickly and grab the bar with the other hand, and then slide the board the remaining 180 Degrees.

Dangle pass 
Although it does not look like it, the dangle pass is one of the easiest passes possible and can be practised beforehand at a bar hanging on a tree.

- Send the kite to exactly 12
- Hip to the bar
- Wind around your back hand and grab with your front hand bar behind your back

Pathway to Kiteloops

Nobody would not like to try a kiteloop after watching a len10 video.. And let me tell you for me that is as good as it get's!!!

So you start doing them on the surface while riding

- Send kite to 11 or 1 (not jumping) - u will slow down
- Pull the backhand and keep it pulled 
- Watch the kite (helps heaps) and absorb pressure on your heels

First Kiteloop

As soon as you're confident with that, stir the kite quick to 12 (don't jump just jet just keep your speed) and loop it the trick is, that you not leave the surface, before you loop, that makes the loop way less powerful!!!

Tip: Do kiteloop-backrolls 'E-16' feels nice

'Deluxe' Kiteloop

Now you simply start looping the kite after you took of as higher you jump, the slower u could loop.

TIP; the key for a good kiteloop is speed, so if u have a river current handy let it run against the wind and you will get quick to jump high, so you can get used to high kiteloops without a kite tearing you apart.

Unhooked Kiteloop

Unhooked kiteloops are easier, as they may appear.
First of all move da freaking stopperball all the way up the kite needs to depower in case you loose it. Broke 3 rips because of that in a photoshot last year!
An unhooked kiteloop is famous for the fishermans grip, which means to grap both hands at the same side of the bar... I find that hell confusing though so I leave my front hand at the center, where I always have it unhooked and grap the other hand at the very outside of ther bar and that enables me to control the speed the kite loops too.. I find that a lot easier but I don't know anyone else who does that like me. so maybe it's just me.'

- Kite slowly to 12 (like the surface loop)
- Pull and Pop and keep pulled
- Watch the kite
So I hope u get the message,  that there is no guide what to learn and when. this is just to give you a base to build your tricks around ... watch other sports and just try!
I' ll put pictures and video instructions on - there are so many kitemovies to get some inspiration from.. Make it your