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Anabatic Kiteboarding - Rider Progression Theory
Written by Lee McClelland
Pictured rider is Clinton Bolton
The following is written to help compliment the practical based training you will be receiving from your instructor.
I have not written about rigging your kite or about the launching, landing of safety aspects of your equipment for good reason.
This article is about clearly showing a rider mindset and a simple analogy so you can learn faster from your instructor.
I have a 12 year background in advanced gliding skills plus teaching gliding (Parapente) and also as the training manager for the Hangliding and Paragliding association of NZ. Not to mention owning and operating NZ's only specialist Kiteboarding shop and training centre.
My philosophy for safe tuition is based on teaching in safe environmental conditions. Teaching students instinctive reactions for critical situations. Inspiring confidence and consideration for other riders. Along with solid theory for the riders.
When you learn to fly an aircraft, you learn to fly the plane with practical skills before you learn all the theory and attempt takeoff and landings etc.
Building instinctive reactions and good muscle memory will serve you well in critical situations and remove the possibility of pilot error or panic should a critical situation be encountered.
Our training method of teaching Kiteboarding in New Zealand conditions are proven as the most efficient and safest available today.
My first few tips for new riders will help you crossover from flying the Trainer kite on the beach to flying a full size kite in the water... the real thing. Think over your first day with your instructor and you will see all this was covered. but now you have more time for the experience to sink in.
There are a few simple and important things to remember from your lesson in the water with a big kite.
Correct Bar position
If in any trouble push the bar out. (It releases the power from the sail). This is true for the kites we sell at Anabatic.
Think of it like this, bar out is 1st gear bar all the way in is 4th Gear.
If the kite is not flying well or the power is spiking, quickly look at your hands.
It is usual on the first 2-3 days for learners to be pulling on the bar for power. This is like pulling a stationary car into 4th gear and expecting to drive away. Your kite will choke and stall just like the car. So keep the bar out and let the kite fly, 1/2 way is perfect.
Concentrate on steering the kite.
Once sailing along on a board, just like driving a car down the highway you can put it in high gear, or with a kite pull the bar in a long way.
Stationary Kiter: Standing or floating.
When you are not moving across the water i.e. a stationary kite flier, keep the bar out (think first gear posn). Just far enough out that you can feel the power is not moving you and you still have steering control. That way you will not choke the kite and spin it into the water.
Moving rider: (on board or body dragging)
Things are different in kite flying is you are moving. You can pull the bar in for more speed without fear of a kite stall. But be prepared for the acceleration.
The reason why a kite will stall if you are not moving compared to if you are moving is to do with the speed of the air moving over the kite. if the speed is slowed by you pulling the bar in too hard or the wind is to light, then the kite will stall and fall in the water.
If you are riding along on a board even if the wind is light, you have the speed you are moving and the speed of the wind added together as wind speed over the kite. It's like having more wind.
Moving the kite up and down is also like having more wind over the kite.
So if you're keeping up with the theory this means...
If you can get the kite moving on even a very light day it starts delivering more power than you would expect it to.
It also means you might be able to use this power to get moving and gain more power again.
But if you are choking the kite all day by pulling the bar in and not thinking about letting it fly fast first, then you will miss out on the power available to you.
Actually you will spend the day digging the kite out of the water instead of riding along like me!
Never put the kite at 12 O'clock - 'The Lifting position'.
According to an imaginary clock dial with the observer at the center and 12 o'clock considered as straight up in vertical position.
Lots of old DVD's call this the neutral position, but that is like calling the pedal on the right the brake!
We call it the Lifting Position because that is the result of using it.
All kite flying is done between 9 & 11 or between 1 & 3 on the opposite side.
So for all walking, body dragging kite handling and general riding (excluding airborn activities) we avoid the Lifting Position because that is the result of using it. And trust me, what comes up comes down. Usually in a fast and painful manner.
The only time a kite is placed at or near to the 12 position is to lift the rider. There are only two scenarios where this might be useful.
1. Send the kite to 12 to lift a stationary rider up on to the board.
2. Send the kite to 12 to lift a moving rider high into the air by converting all forward air speed into vertical lift.
So to get up on board.
then riding is
9-11-9 9-11-9 ....etc etc
Only ever put the kite back at 12 'the lifting position' if you want lift or lots of lift.
How to slow down
If ever riding too fast on the board or body dragging.
1'st Stop turning the kite, just freeze. As moving the kite developes power and thus speed. The revere is true if you just stop moving the kite.
2nd If you want to stop even faster, push the bar away from you.
If you have invested in good kite technology like the SLE kite the Waroo from BEST, the technology works instantly for you and spills the air (power) from the kite, you slow down in a second. This leaves you confident and in control even in your first days. if you are riding the board it allows you to continue riding.
Just pull the bar back into a position where you are happy with the speed. Don't for get to smile!
If you want to know more...
Please join our training program.
Anabatic Kiteboarding will ensure you ride with the right equipment from day one.
Our rigs are with out a doubt the highest quality and best performance equipment money can buy.
The price is also the best you will ever find.
(*we do not sell learners rigs, our riders progress too fast for that.)