How's your board control?
Are your favorite parts of kitesurfing jumping, transitions or waves?
Do you find that there are often long straight bits whilst you get back upwind, or make your way to the flat area so you can do your next trick?
I know at my local spot, I tend to do a triangle to get back to the waves. I head up wind to get to where the banks start, do a few down the line rides, then head back out to sea, and start again. Threes distinct turning points, creating a triangle.
It was only recent when recovering from a foot injury, that my foot reminded me how bad my open ocean technique had become. I'd become lazy, and whilst successfully making my way back up wind, I was crashing and bashing my way through the chop.
My sore foot became a powerful indicator of how slack my technique had become.
Getting a smooth (and fast) passage through choppy waters starts with concentration.
Perhaps you are treating the "return to the playground" run as a time to mentally relax, and think about other stuff until this "boring" part of the session is over, and you're back in the good bit?
Well, if so, stop it!
The best way to concentrate is focus, and the thing to focus on is the water surface in front of you. I'm here to tell you that if you use your eyes, and your body, you can sculpt the board to the shape of the oncoming swells. Big, small, sharp, smooth, off angles, intersecting chop, throwing chop.. Lots of combinations, and your task is to watch and interpret them all.
As you start to read the sea surface better, you'll find yourself twisting the board to line it up with chop, letting your legs absorb bumps, extending your body in the troughs. You'll be putting weight on the front foot, the back foot, shifting your torso backwards forwards, inwards and out.
Get active. Get reactive. Use your body. Maybe you've been sitting in an office all day, and this is your after work session. Get stuck in, and make the most of it.
Once you get into this, you'll find yourself entering a zen like state where you're fully engrossed in how smooth you can make your ride. No longer bashing and crashing your way through, you're now at one with the ocean, working with the shapes it's sending your way, rather than just hammering through them.
So. .. Next time you're out, try it out, and see how fast and smooth this kind of focus can bring you. It brings a new challenge to the "boring" bit, increases your speed, and upwind ability, saves your ankles, and is fun.
Riding in Perth, WA - What you need to know.
The West Australian Kitesurfing Association have put together some handy fact sheets for kiting around the metro area of Perth
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