Forums > Kitesurfing Foiling

Height Control ??

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Created by Lambie Two weeks ago, 4 May 2018
Lambie
VIC, 689 posts
4 May 2018 6:21PM
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Im hitting the water tomorrow and Im thinking I must at around 8 hrs now? (and wow - Ive actually progressed when I think back to just trying to deal with the board and foil in the water!!).

Im able to get good runs in both directions but my height varies from brief touch downs to the heights of breaching . As Ive read and learnt - looking at the water in front of the board is like trying to drive on a road full of potholes and dodge them whilst looking immediately over the bonet - you'll hit every one.

Looking to the horizon kind of helps but then with gusts of wind and resultant speed (Im trying to control that cuz it just kind of gets a bit scary!!) the amount of lift from the foil changes and then everything changes again !!

Are there any hot tips I should take with me tomorrow to get better height control ??

Edit - Im running a full length mast and no Im not about to buy another!!

warwickl
NSW, 925 posts
4 May 2018 7:53PM
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You will receive many different bits of advice and all should be valuable.
I am a slow learner and found a couple of things worked for me.
1. Ensuring the trim of the wings and a small adjustment of the rear wing made a huge difference.
2. Above made it easier to find equal foot balance and control
There's more but these 2 points were key

airsail
QLD, 264 posts
4 May 2018 8:14PM
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I find it easier if the foil is trimmed for more front foot pressure. It is much quicker to increase or decrease pressure on the front foot to control height. If the foil is neutrally trimmed you need to weight transfer between the front and rear foot, takes more time so a bigger chance of breaching or touching.

warwickl
NSW, 925 posts
4 May 2018 8:28PM
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Good point Airsail.
Could be why I found trim adjustment a benefit.
So to add a bit more maybe establish which foot position is the best for control as could be different for each of us.

DukeSilver
WA, 199 posts
4 May 2018 7:14PM
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I found looking at the water 20-30 feet in front of me helped a lot. Also, standing tall but with slightly bent and relaxed knees. Once you're up and feeling pretty good about things, DON'T MOVE TOO MUCH. Any changes you need to make should be small and subtle - unless you hear the gurgle. You want to aim for half mast height if you can. Over time you will know what the correct cruising height feels like. Until then, err on the side of lower rather than higher and keep challenging yourself to doing longer and longer runs until you are rarely ventilating or touching down. After a while, you'll just be doing it automatically.

toppleover
QLD, 1324 posts
4 May 2018 9:21PM
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Great post Lambie, I'll be having my first go on a long mast tomorrow (wind permitting). Expecting to get my arse kicked from breaching many times

emmafoils
36 posts
4 May 2018 8:01PM
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In the long run, a neutrally balanced foil is the best. Don't "unbalance" your foil to front weight bias just to get past this part of the learning curve.
As above, slightly bent knees and small weight shifts. But the truth is just water time. You WILL get to the point where riding a foil in a straight line is as comfortable as a twintip. One day, pitch control will just click and you will wonder why it seemed so hard.

weebitbreezy
329 posts
4 May 2018 8:10PM
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I have only ridden a neutral balanced foil so can't compare with methods of needing more front foot pressure.

However, I did notice that flying overpowered made it more difficult. If you fly overpowered, you instinctively fly the kite high to stop it generating too much power. When the kite was high like this, I noticed it was more difficult to shift my weight in small changes as I felt I was trying to overcome inertia in the kite. Being properly powered so I could fly the kite lower made it easier as I wasn't fighting the kite.

Any chance you were just more powered than you should be? Note overpowered for foiling does not feel the same as overpowered for a twin tip / surfboard so be careful not to use the same scale of pull in the harness

snalberski
WA, 549 posts
4 May 2018 8:30PM
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Shifting your COG is all good but the importance of rapid responsive kite control and simply sheeting in to gain height and sheeting out to reduce height cant be underestimated.

Plummet
4186 posts
5 May 2018 4:56AM
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Good fast, try not to increase height by shifting your weight. Do it with speed. Ie more speed = more lift = up you go. Then gradually lean on the front foot to reduce height.

Try to relax. I found myself trying to muscle the foil being all tensed up and stiff. You cant muscle the foil in the early stages. Think relaxation and flow. That's how you will conquer the foil. Sorta like when you are wave riding a leisurely wave and you are just flowing carving with the wave. Foiling is sorta like that. Flowing in a 3d space.

RAL INN
VIC, 2395 posts
5 May 2018 8:03AM
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Relative to your level, Lambie, the suggestions from Emmafoil and Snaberski are the ones to focus on.

muscle memory and kite control are key to flying that little underwater plane.

Lambie
VIC, 689 posts
5 May 2018 9:28AM
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Thanks for all of the replies - a few things stood out to me:
Dont muscle the foil around - I have found that doesnt work well!!
Toppleover - good luck if you get out but my advice in the early bit is to try to stop the foil flying - ie front foot pressure and let the foil lift you rather than transferring weight to the back foot, touch downs from too much pressure dont hurt !
And the other bit which is where Im thniking my problem is coming from is kite control - I typically fly my kite quite low and its damn hard to dump power when it is low. Today Ill work on flying the kite higher in the window !!

Plummet
4186 posts
5 May 2018 8:59AM
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Kite too high and too powered will lift you and the foil out of the water. Go for less power and or medium height. Say 10.30

I'm a kite low person too. It's easy when you are under powered.

DukeSilver
WA, 199 posts
5 May 2018 10:51AM
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Kite control (trim) will have a huge impact on foiling success. Many people are under the impression that sheeting in equals more power and sheeting out equals less power. In simple terms that may be true but there's much more to it than that. Yes, jamming the bar down as far as it will travel will feel like there's more power in the kite. That's because it's pulling the kite back into the power zone of the wind window. Having the kite sitting that deep in the window rarely translates into efficiency on the foil. In fact, quite the opposite. The kite is wanting to pull you and the foil sideways. Because the foil is so efficient, you'll still travel forward, but you may struggle to actually get onto the foil even when fully powered. By sheeting out and allowing the kite to fly ahead of you and closer to the edge of the window, you'll suddenly feel as though a switch has been flicked and you're flying with ease and your upwind angles have improved dramatically. 90% of the time when I'm kiting, my control bar is a 1/3 to half way along it's travel parameters. I'll certainly sometimes jam the bar down when sining the kite side to side when water starting, but once I'm up on the board and ready to start forward travel, the bar will be pushed out to the point just before the kite starts to luff.

I know that this will be obvious stuff to most of you, but I'm constantly amazed by the amount of riders who are bogging along like windsurfers in a 15kt breeze with their bars jammed down as low as they can go.

Lambie
VIC, 689 posts
5 May 2018 1:04PM
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Yes Plummet - I found Im a kite size down on what Id nomally use for the SB !!

toppleover
QLD, 1324 posts
5 May 2018 7:05PM
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Bit overpower today (gusty 15-25 on a 8m Drifter). First time on a long mast, hated the first hour - even just positioning the board in the water was so much harder than with the half mast. Thank God with some perseverance something clicked & I had my best session & longest runs on the foil to date.

Lambie
VIC, 689 posts
5 May 2018 8:01PM
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Toppleover - this leaning bit is HARD !!
I was the same wind wise - I pumped up a Bandit 8m and could get going with my SB and boost - then the wind dropped off so grabbed the foil - Im still having height control issues!!
In both directions I can get decent runs on the foil but Im still up and down ?? My speed does change but I cant see that Im moving weight or feet in anyway ?? And I get gusts but no direct relationship between gust and height !! And sometimes the foil just moves up and down - again I dont think I change anything ??
Big Sigh - Im expecting the feedback will just be 'time on the water'!!

toppleover
QLD, 1324 posts
5 May 2018 8:12PM
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Select to expand quote
Lambie said..
Toppleover - this leaning bit is HARD !!
I was the same wind wise - I pumped up a Bandit 8m and could get going with my SB and boost - then the wind dropped off so grabbed the foil - Im still having height control issues!!
In both directions I can get decent runs on the foil but Im still up and down ?? My speed does change but I cant see that Im moving weight or feet in anyway ?? And I get gusts but no direct relationship between gust and height !! And sometimes the foil just moves up and down - again I dont think I change anything ??
Big Sigh - Im expecting the feedback will just be 'time on the water'!!


After a 3 hour sesh, I'm absolutely knackered - I really do think getting the height control is just time on the water mate. Don't think being overpowered helps much either.

Kamikuza
QLD, 3105 posts
5 May 2018 8:36PM
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Shift your weight by side lunges.
Keep your knees pliable but firm.
Aim to just skim the water with the board, cos that's easier to "feel" than trying to ride half the mast height etc. More mast out of the water, less feel from the foil...

Basically, don't try to ride with the board and your stance "locked in", intentionally keep moving your weight forward and aft and keeping your knees moving in tiny amounts.

It really is just time on the water, eh.

warwickl
NSW, 925 posts
5 May 2018 9:26PM
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Agree with all suggestions as above and suffered similar experiences with balance.
But as I have posted several times a slight adjustment of the rear wing can make a significant difference.
I am a happy foiler these days.
Note: a few brands now provide rear wing adjustment options.

Plummet
4186 posts
6 May 2018 2:16AM
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15-25 is too powered for an 8m. You should have been on a 6m. next time do a size down.

Don't shift your weight by side lunges. That is essentially trying to "muscle" the foil. It will go terribly wrong for you.
Concentrale on relaxing and small incremental movement for now.

If the foil goes up and down by its self theres 2 possibilities.
1) you are shifting your weight and you dont realise it. You have to try and train out years of sloppy weight shifting riding surface boards. On the foil you have to have perfect weight distribution.
2) There is a change of current in the water. Typically driven by the swell.

simonp
155 posts
6 May 2018 4:32AM
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I'm just learning as well and struggling with this as I am only running a 60cm mast because the places I kite are quite shallow. I had good success in my last session by hanging off the harness more with less weight on my legs. I've never heard anyone recommending this but it is a technique that only works if your power is coming from a kite or sail. Slightly bent and relaxed knees are important too.
Ultimately it is just practise and experimentation until you find out what works for you. There seem to be multiple different riding styles. Some really good guys have a very wide stance while others are quite narrow.

bigtone667
NSW, 888 posts
6 May 2018 7:38AM
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Lambie said..

Big Sigh - Im expecting the feedback will just be 'time on the water'!!


You got it.....

You will always vary your height up and down, but with time, the frequency and height of the movements will reduce (and the subsequent crashes).

TomW059
174 posts
6 May 2018 5:43AM
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Hours on the water is what's needed. Keep flying .
Don't fix your stance, stay fluid, relaxed.
Don't fix your eyes, look 5m ahead, 20-40 m and to horizon, look to the sides, keep your eyes moving.
Water turbulence will move your foil, you can't fight it, but go with with it and tame it.
I'm 80-100 hours in , lost count around 70 hrs...

RAL INN
VIC, 2395 posts
6 May 2018 7:45AM
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Lambie, it will always be TOW.
and it is that time on water that will get you the muscle memory that will take over from the inefficiency of trying to think your way through every twitch and wobble.
And also gets you past the nervous energy stage where every movement is done in a tense body state which is both energy sapping and jerky.

toppleover
QLD, 1324 posts
6 May 2018 9:04AM
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RAL INN said..
Lambie, it will always be TOW.
and it is that time on water that will get you the muscle memory that will take over from the inefficiency of trying to think your way through every twitch and wobble.
And also gets you past the nervous energy stage where every movement is done in a tense body state which is both energy sapping and jerky.



Totally agree with Ral, yesterday once I was too tired to fight the foil (about 1hr) - I had more fun & was foiling much better. But still a total foil kook

RAL INN
VIC, 2395 posts
6 May 2018 9:47AM
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I read many posts that talk of this much or that much hours of practice.
but much of those estimates are based on Session times that will vary with what we as individuals describe as a session.
for foiling beginners you need to only count the time from diving the kite and up on board till next crash or stop then add these together to get the hours you have actually spent trying to foil.
if we do this then you will see that for actual time trying your progress is probably quite fine, and the stages and hurdles not so much to panic about.
then factor in if you can get those magical 3 day in row of foiling times where real progress happens versus the relearning after breaks time.

So back to time on water on board
TOWOB

Kamikuza
QLD, 3105 posts
6 May 2018 3:30PM
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Plummet said..
15-25 is too powered for an 8m. You should have been on a 6m. next time do a size down.

Don't shift your weight by side lunges. That is essentially trying to "muscle" the foil. It will go terribly wrong for you.
Concentrale on relaxing and small incremental movement for now.

If the foil goes up and down by its self theres 2 possibilities.
1) you are shifting your weight and you dont realise it. You have to try and train out years of sloppy weight shifting riding surface boards. On the foil you have to have perfect weight distribution.
2) There is a change of current in the water. Typically driven by the swell.


Do stop saying one kite size for this much wind is correct for anyone except yourself. Depending on the foil I was on and water conditions, a 6m kite could be anything from horrendously overpowered to annoyingly underpowered.

The point with side lunges is to keep your torso upright and centered over your board, and use your relaxed but controlled bent knees to fine tune the balance and absorb the shifts in the board's trim. It's a cue, not the end goal.

If you're bending at the waist or thinking you're pushing on your front foot, you're going to be easily knocked off balance and unable to adapt to non-trivial changes in trim.

Proper balance means you don't have to futz with crutches like moving straps, standing in weird places, or fiddling with rear wing setup.

Proper balance needs no muscling.



warwickl
NSW, 925 posts
6 May 2018 4:16PM
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Select to expand quote
Kamikuza said..

Plummet said..
15-25 is too powered for an 8m. You should have been on a 6m. next time do a size down.

Don't shift your weight by side lunges. That is essentially trying to "muscle" the foil. It will go terribly wrong for you.
Concentrale on relaxing and small incremental movement for now.

If the foil goes up and down by its self theres 2 possibilities.
1) you are shifting your weight and you dont realise it. You have to try and train out years of sloppy weight shifting riding surface boards. On the foil you have to have perfect weight distribution.
2) There is a change of current in the water. Typically driven by the swell.



Do stop saying one kite size for this much wind is correct for anyone except yourself. Depending on the foil I was on and water conditions, a 6m kite could be anything from horrendously overpowered to annoyingly underpowered.

The point with side lunges is to keep your torso upright and centered over your board, and use your relaxed but controlled bent knees to fine tune the balance and absorb the shifts in the board's trim. It's a cue, not the end goal.

If you're bending at the waist or thinking you're pushing on your front foot, you're going to be easily knocked off balance and unable to adapt to non-trivial changes in trim.

Proper balance means you don't have to futz with crutches like moving straps, standing in weird places, or fiddling with rear wing setup.

Proper balance needs no muscling.





Based on my 1 season experience I agree about the kite selection as too many variables but suggestion of a kite size may help some for a starting point.
Comment on fiddling with rear wing doing so helped me significantly with balance and wing ventilation.
Race kiters tune wings to a finite degree.
In the end with continued experience we all figure out what works.

toppleover
QLD, 1324 posts
6 May 2018 5:48PM
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Select to expand quote
Plummet said..
15-25 is too powered for an 8m. You should have been on a 6m. next time do a size down.

Don't shift your weight by side lunges. That is essentially trying to "muscle" the foil. It will go terribly wrong for you.
Concentrale on relaxing and small incremental movement for now.

If the foil goes up and down by its self theres 2 possibilities.
1) you are shifting your weight and you dont realise it. You have to try and train out years of sloppy weight shifting riding surface boards. On the foil you have to have perfect weight distribution.
2) There is a change of current in the water. Typically driven by the swell.



I knew I was going to be overpowered but the 8m Drifter is the only kite I have atm mate.
I'm looking for a 5 or 6m, if anyone wants to sell

Kamikuza
QLD, 3105 posts
6 May 2018 9:19PM
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Select to expand quote
warwickl said..
Comment on fiddling with rear wing doing so helped me significantly with balance and wing ventilation.


Did it really or did you just get better and put it down to the fiddling? (That is of course assuming you're not using a home-built kit or ex-race gear that was set up "wrong" to begin with...)

Once you're up on the foil consistently, it comes in leaps and bounds. The breaching wingtip that used to knock you off on your gibes? You won't even notice you're doing it after a while.

Assuming you're balanced properly. I've yet to ride a manufacturer board/foil combo that wasn't just fine to ride with my feet in the middle of the strap holes.

Whichever of your kites you can (just) body drag upwind with is about the right size for the conditions -- in the beginning.



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"Height Control ??" started by Lambie