Learn the front to blind with Alby Rondina!
This trick featured in KW #97’s ‘Motordrive’ in January 2019
Alby Rondina is like a multi-tool in human form. He’s a pro rider with many years in the game who now also runs his own school in Lo Stagnone and, frankly, he can do just about anything on any type of board. The front-to-blind is one of his favourites though and, in this feature, he explains why that is AND reveals some key tips to cracking its code!
Back in the pure hooked-in days (I’m talking 2000-2001) there was a time in competition when lots of tricks were either landed in blind or the take-off was from blind. I remember being inspired by one of the top Spanish riders and good friend, Alvaro Onieva. If you search online you’ll find some old footage of him doing sick front rolls, taking off blind and landing blind, as well as other cool tricks like that.
Landing blind while hooked-in is of course the first step to becoming ready to do it unhooked. From there you’ll move on to spinning out of your unhooked blind landing with a surface pass, but before any of that you’ve got to have your blind riding locked in.
Once you can confidently ride blind you can start to add it onto the end of many tricks, like simple jumps, raleys or rotations, such as this front to blind.
I still really like this trick and do it as a warm-up during most of my sessions. It just feels good!
Here’s what it looks like
And here’s how to do it in ten steps!
1: Take-off like you would for a regular front roll. Send the kite up to 12 o’clock, but try to avoid sending past 12 so that you keep some forward movement, which will help your blind landing.
2: Bend your front leg and turn your head to look over your back shoulder to initiate the rotation. Then let go with your back hand (which you don’t need on the bar for this trick) and use it to grab the tail of the board.
3: Stretching your front leg out when you’ve got the grab will tweak it to look much more stylish.
4: Keep looking over your shoulder to maintain spin momentum.
5: About halfway round start to put a little pressure on the bar through your front hand, bringing the kite slowly down and into the power.
6: Once you spot your landing you’ll learn to know how much time you’ve got to make the extra 180º rotation to blind.
7: Approaching the water, let go of the grab and use your arm movement to keep the rotation going, which also helps make that extra 180º rotation.
8: Focus on putting weight on your toes, especially the back foot, helping the fins engage properly. This helps ensure you’ll have a solid grip for riding blind.
9: While in blind keep looking down at the water as this helps your balance and is also a good position to be able to keep controlling the kite with your front hand on the bar.
10: One of the main things to work on are perfecting the timing and speed of your front roll, depending on how high you jump. The kite has to get back down in the power zone just as you land. When it all comes together, believe me, it feels great!
The biggest mistake is to go for the extra blind rotation a bit too late, known as the ‘shy approach’, which means you can’t finish the 180º rotation and you’ll catch a back edge. This isn’t so bad when you’re riding in foot straps, but it’s more brutal if you’re in boots!
Spinning too fast is another common error, which will leave you off balance when you try to land blind.
If you find that you’re not landing with any riding momentum, it’s likely that your kite position is still too high. If you keep the kite up at 12 o’clock for too long, you may land softly, but you’ll be very stationary and unable to ride away. Not very stylish!
If, on the other hand, you’re landing with too much speed and power, then you’re probably bringing the kite down into the power too aggressively. Work on smoothly and steadily bringing the kite into power just before you land.
Keeping the front hand in the centre of the bar will help you move the kite slowly, make less accidental steering errors and be able to focus more on the movement of the trick itself.
Landing blind is easy if you land pointing the board downwind. Your lines will have less tension, so you can keep riding blind or get back to heel-side with less power in the kite.
The flatter the water you can find the better, as this really helps learning to land blind.
Needing some flat water to practise on?
Alby’s centre in Sicily is right on the edge of Europe’s top flat water kiting location find out more at www.prokitealbyrondina.com