#01: MOVE: SENT BOOST
RIDER: ALI C
PHOTO: JESSICA SHELL
Before you try this move you should be very confident with your board control and be comfortable steering and re-directing the kite around the sky. You will generally be feeling ready for the next step. You can go for a jump much sooner than you think you can, though.
Try it first on something like a ten metre kite, that way it will respond quickly enough to your input, but won't whizz around the sky like a wasp.
The most important part of being able to do a sent jump well is getting the timing right. It all comes down to edging and releasing your board at the same time as you pull down on the bar when the kite reaches the top of the window. It will take a few goes, but soon you'll be able to just feel the right moments like a true Jedi.
- Find a nice open area of water and make sure there's no one downwind of you for at least 100 metres for your first attempts.
- Ride along at a brisk pace – not too fast or you'll have no control, and not too slow or you won't get any pop off the water. Keep your kite at just above 10 o'clock in the window, or just above 2 o'clock if you're heading the other way, on starboard tack.
- Slowly start to send your kite up through the window towards just beyond 12 o'clock. The basic principle here is that the faster you send the kite up in the window the more of a boost you will get. However, you need to have good kite skills and timing to make sending it quickly work and to not end up in a yanking, tea bagging mess. Building your confidence and skills up slowly is how things work for this, and you'll find that the better your timing gets, the more poppy, floaty airs you'll be able to get from just a little redirection of the kite.
- As the kite rises through the window and reaches 11 o'clock (1 o'clock the other way) start to put more pressure on your heels to edge away from the kite.
- Just as the kite reaches 12, give a final sharp edge on your back foot and then pull down sharply on the bar on both sides to send the kite straight up. As you do this pop off the water by lifting up your front leg and pushing off with your back leg.
- You probably won't be getting too much air at this stage, so stay calm and think about what's happening. You should have the kite directly above your head and for a brief moment be hanging from it. Keep the bar pulled in, pull your legs up to your stomach for control and wait until you can feel yourself get to the apex of your jump. The more air you get, the longer and more drawn out this feeling will be.
- Once you start to feel yourself drop you need to think about your landing. In order to land and not just sink, you need to generate some forward momentum otherwise you'll drop into the water like a tea bag (hence the phrase, 'getting tea bagged'). To do this you need to get the kite moving forward through the window in the direction you're travelling, so start to steer the kite forward by pulling gently on the bar with your front hand as you drop.
- Think about your landing. On all jumps you need to land pointing your board slightly downwind towards your kite, so that you can land in control and soak up some of the kite's power.
- As you reach the water try to assess whether you're moving quickly enough to be able to land and keep moving rather than sinking. If you think you're dropping too quickly without enough forward momentum then pull some more on the front of your bar to get the kite moving faster through the window.
- Soak up the landing by bending your knees.
- As you're heading towards the kite, your lines may go slack, so get back on your edge as soon as you feel comfortable to put tension back in the lines, steer the kite back up in the window and ride away Billy Booster.
- If you find that you're swinging around in the sky like a pendulum, then you're probably sending the kite too aggressively back in the window and taking off with it way behind you. You are then probably trying to correct that but bringing it too far forwards and swinging underneath it again. By this time the kite will have reached the edge of the window, have no power, and you'll be dropping like a stone with no control. Slow things down a bit and really work on getting that timing with your kite correct. Aim to pop off the water as the kite passes just beyond 12 o'clock. When it's windy, you really don't need to send it very far through the window for a good jump.
- If you're swinging underneath your kite and it's dropping out of the sky, remember to re-direct your kite earlier so that it keeps power in it.
#02: MOVE – SENT BOOST OFF A RAMP
RIDER – DANILO NACARATO
PHOTOS – GUILLYS NACARATO
Get strapped in, because we're going for a big one.
Before going for this move, you should be comfortable with your basic sent jumps and be able to control the kite and land planing. Basically, boosting off a ramp when you get your timing right is like injecting your kite with a rocket booster. The upwards thrust can be insane.
The principles are exactly the same here in that it's all about the timing and maintaining control of the kite. The main difference is that you can get away with not having your timing as spot on as before as the ramp will give you an initial pop anyway, but once you're in the air, you just need to do everything slower.
- Again, make sure you have a lot of space downwind of you as you can travel some distance downwind if you get this right.
- Look for a nice steep ramp to take off from.
- By this stage you should be comfortable with sending the kite through the sky, so remember that the more air you want, the faster you need to send it up through the window. Ride along with the kite at just above 10 o'clock or 2 o'clock, but this time be riding a little bit faster than you were before.
- Just before you reach your ramp send the kite sharply up to just beyond 12 o'clock, edge hard as you go up the face of the ramp and bend your legs ready to push off.
- Push off at the apex of the ramp and pull down firmly with both hands on the bar.
- For your first big airs you'll find it easier to maintain control in the air by tucking your body up so that you don't start spinning around in the air. (It also looks a little more stylish and controlled than dangling uncomfortably from your harness). As you get more comfortable in the air, you can try taking your back hand off the bar and dropping a nice nose grab like Danilo does here, but you'll know when you feel ready for that!
- Keep the kite above you at 12 o'clock until after you start to feel yourself drop. Everything just happens more slowly during the big airs, which is why we don't want any really sharp movements on the bar. Just try to relax and enjoy the view. At this point, if you push the bar out, you'll start to drop. So if you're not getting too freaked out by altitude, keep it pulled in!
- You will still need to re-direct your kite to give you forward momentum to be able to plane away from the jump when you land, but redirecting too early can mean that the kite reaches the edge of the window before you've landed and you'll end up crashing. Learn to judge when to pull on the front of the bar for a soft landing. Remember you have much more time on the big boosts, so don't rush things. A lot of it comes down to staying calm and thinking about what's happening.
- Point the board downwind as you come into land as always and keep the kite moving forward in the window. Get back on your edge as soon as you can to regain tension and control in the lines.
- This trick is most fun in strong winds, but remember the stronger the wind, the less you need to move your kite for big airs, so go steady!
- If you're getting ripped off the water and being sent backwards as you come off the ramp, then you're sending the kite too aggressively through the window, so by the time you hit the top of the ramp the kite has gone way beyond 12 o'clock. Remember to time the kite reaching the top of the window with you hitting the top of the ramp.
- If you're dropping to the water really quickly and the kite has no steering then you've sent it forwards to early, it will have reached the edge of the window and have no power left in it. Hang underneath the kite for a bit longer on your way down and redirect more sharply but when you're closer to the water for a soft landing.