BODY DRAG UPWIND – KITESURF TUTORIAL
It can be frustrating to loose your board in deep water!
My name is Petar Pavlovic I love sharing my kitesurf experience with you and in this episode I will give you some tips on how to easily recover your board by body dragging up wind.
- The main reason of losing the board.
- The basic body drag up wind.
- Common mistakes and how to avoid them.
- Tips for not drinking too much water.
why you are loosing the board?
Most common reaction of beginners and intermediate riders is holding on the bar after a crash. This reflex will make you lose lots of distance from your board.
It is important to understand that you should never hesitate to let go of the bar. So the most important advice I can give you is that as soon as you see that you are going to crash, let go of the bar.
If you let go of the bar in time in 99% of the situations the board will be next to you. therefore you can easily grab it with one hand. After that if necessary, you can relaunch your kite with the other hand.
The only time you should think twice before letting go of the bar is when there is super light wind or when you are riding on a wavy spot. If a bigger wave crashes on your kite it could end your session.
If you are not sure what to do in this situation make sure to check my episode about safety systems.
Anyway, on a wavy spot it is not necessary to perform a perfect body drag up wind. That’s because, most often the waves are pushing your board down wind of you or on the beach so you can easily reach it.
BODY DRAG UP WIND
Here are the key points for a perfect body drag up wind. With kitesurfing, windsurfing, sailing and other windy sports, we are always going upwind in Zig-Zag.
Most of the time while changing the direction we lose a bit of distance. So if we want to go up wind as much as possible we want to do long runs.
It is important to understand that when body dragging up wind we cannot go super fast. So we want to be focused and patient.
RECOVER THE BOARD WITH BODY DRAG
When you loose your board and you want to go upwind with your kite, you can imagine now that your body is the board.
So if you are going to the right:
- keep your kite around 2 o’clock.
- Stretch your body and try to be on your side with your front hand first point towards the lines then just a bit more up wind.
- Approximately 45 degrees from the lines. As you are moving on the side you should feel a certain water pressure on your chest which means that you are nicely going up wind.
- When you decide to turn your direction of body dragging up wind slowly move your kite over 12 o’clock just with one hand.
- Once the kite is passing 12 o’clock, let go of the bar. Adjust your body position for body dragging on the other side.
- Hold on the bar with one hand to keep the kite stable around 10 o’clock
- your front hand as before just 45 degrees more up wind of your lines.
BODY DRAG – MOST COMMON MISTAKES
WHEN YOU LOSE THE BOARD
When you lose your board if you immediately pass your kite over 12 o’clock! If you keep it in 12 o’clock, you will loose a lot of distance from the board.
You want to immediately start body dragging up wind on the side where your kite is already directed after the crash.
Once you see the board over the shoulder with which you are handling the bar with, you can slowly change direction to recover your board.
WITH STRONGER WIND
On stronger wind you should not keep your kite too high. 11 or on the other side, 1 o’clock.
This will put your body out from the water not allowing you to edge properly and loosing lots of distance.
You will keep the kite higher just if there is super light wind so you can keep your kite more stable in the air.
BODY POSITION WHEN DOING BODY DRAG
Make sure that you are not laying on your belly or on your back. This will not create any pressure on your body so you will be dragged down wind.
Always try to stay on the side of your body as much as possible with your front hand. You should never point too high up wind. Pointing higher upwind with your hand would definitely not take you faster up wind.
If you are opening too much your body there will not be enough pressure of the water on your chest and you would just be dragged down wind.
BAR HANDLING WHEN BODY DRAGGING
If you accidentally steer the kite on the other side, do not grab the bar with the other hand! This will turn your body position and you would loose a lot of distance.
Repair your mistake with the same hand so your body drag up wind position is still stable.
If you are not sure how to control your kite just with one hand make sure to check my previous episode about “confident kite control”.
While turning your direction of body dragging up wind, I highly recommend to not use both hands as it is definitely not necessary. You could even end up pulling on the bar while moving the kite over 12 o’clock which would make you lose a lot of distance.
APPROACHING THE BOARD WHEN BODY DRAGGING
If you see that you are heading downwind from your board, do not start opening your body trying to swim upwind to catch your board. In this case you would probably steer the bar on the other side and again lose a lot of distance from the board.
Just keep on going with a stable body drag upwind. Once you see the board over your shoulder which you are holding the bar with, you can do a slow turn and get your board.
If after grabbing the board on a non wavy spot you steer accidentally the kite on the other side, I recommend to just let go of the bar.
Readjust your body position and while holding on the board with one hand relaunch your kite with the other hand. Or simply repair your mistake with the same hand.
AVOID DRINKING TOO MUCH WATER WHILE DOING BODY DRAG
Most often you will get water splashing all over your face. Especially in choppy water. It is important to get use to it and to understand the way of breathing.
The breathing should always be slow and the best tip I can give you to not get too much water in your face is to watch higher, or even on the other side.
All this still having the perfect body position and kite position for a proper body drag up wind.