Learning To Go Big
photo by Jason Barabas
With King of The Air underway, the world of kiting is turning their heads towards the sky wondering ‘how do they get that much air?’ We asked some of our top ambassadors what they do to boost big and get on those woo leaderboards.
What are you doing before, during and after you jump?
Get in the right mindset before the jump, this includes warming up with a few tacks and getting a feel for the conditions.
Jean Luc Robitaille
To go bigger, speed is essential to be able to edge hard against your kite, and send it up to 12 o’clock hard. This is what will create tension in your lines and generate power. Before jumping try to catch as much speed (riding cross wind) as you can, then gradually start edging against the kite and send the kite up, popping off the water just as the kite is reaching 12. Keep your core engaged bring your knees up slightly while in the air. This helps you keep balance in the air. Keep your kite powered up as your coming back down (keep the bar in and if necessary, move the kite from side to side to keep it powered up and slightly downwind).
I send my kite to 1.00 o’clock just behind me. Before landing I dive the kite through the power window to slow my descent which will result in a soft landing; finally, make sure when your board touches the water that it is pointing downwind to ensure a clean ride away.
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Define: Load, Pop, Boost
“Load” is when you try to load as much tension in your lines before your pop. The more tension you have in your lines, the more power your kite will generate.
“Pop” is the point of lift off using the board — when potential energy is converted into kinetic energy (lift)
“Boost” is when you go up. That’s the fun part!
Let’s Talk Gear!
You can go really big with many different types of kites. I prefer C Hybrid kites like the Razor. These kites move fast and generate a lot of power. These kites won’t be as floaty, meaning that you will come down faster, so you need to really hone in kite maneuvering to get a soft landing. Kites like the Prodigy or Flite are much more beginner friendly and don’t worry, you’ll still be able to do really big jumps!
For boards, I would recommend twin-tips with straps to start with. You want to have a medium sized board. A board too small will go really fast, but will make landings harder, and a board too long will be slower and just harder to maneuver in the air.
I am 5’8″ 160lbs and my favorite setup is a 136cm board on the 8m Razor in about 30-35 knots.
I prefer a stiffer more wakestyle board with a bigger rocker this allows me to edge really hard and create some insane pop but what’s nice about a stiffer board means the landing is way better when coming in for the landing.
Have a Woo?
I do have a Woo. I like to be able to compare my sessions with other people but also with my own previous sessions. If I have a great session on my Woo, I can try to note what the conditions were like and what gear I was using. That being said, a Woo is in no way necessary to your progression and can sometimes make you focus too much on pure height instead of trying new tricks and just having fun.
The WOO helped me progress really fast and well, seeing my progression every session helped motivate me to go bigger and higher every time. In Cape Town there is a large community of Big Air riders and most of us post our jumps on WOO so you can see how you are doing compared to everyone else — the rivalry is competitive but friendly.
A woo can help you determine the height of your jumps, which you can then set your goals accordingly.