Best of the Rest
INTRO – With so many ways to turn around and head back the other way, Jo Ciastula is here with a few more takes on reversing direction, starting with the basic toe-to-heel-side carve
#01 – TOE-TO-HEEL-SIDE CARVE
RIDER – JO CIASTULA
PHOTOS – FEDERICO CABELLO
- As you approach where you want to turn, make sure you're carrying plenty of speed. You're going to have to pop or slide from heel-side to toe-side, carve around and plane away. To do all that and still have some speed at the end will require you carrying plenty into, and through, the manoeuvre.
- You can either slide or pop the board round into toe-side. To slide the board around, bring your weight inboard a little as you start to bear off a bit downwind. Once steady, step hard onto your front heel as you pivot the back of the board forward 180° by twisting your hips forward. Once in toe-side spread your weight more evenly over both feet, keeping more pressure on your toes to keep the board driving away from the kite to keep tension in the lines.
- If you decide to pop to toe-side, which I recommend as it's possible to catch an edge when you slide the board around, ending in a nice face plant, then look for a nice little bit of chop to use as a ramp. As you go up it, carve slightly into wind away from the kite to give you the pop you need off the top. Once in the air, swivel your back hip forward and focus on your landing. It helps to pull the bar towards your back hip to aid the movement of pivoting your hips (both for the pop and slide techniques). Land with your new back foot first and bend your knees to soak up the landing. The kite should still be in the same place, around 45 degrees, as you don't need any help from the kite for a little pop like that.
- Now you are ready to begin your carve. Timing is key and, when done right, will allow you to power through the transition and speed away. Always work with the kite, not against it. The idea here is to follow it – you'll soon get the feeling for it. You're aiming to move the kite up from 10 / 11 o'clock (1 or 2 o'clock if you're riding on starboard – right hand forward), up and over your head and then to dip it down the other side to pull you into your new direction.
- As you start to move the kite up and across the window, release your edge and start your carve by levelling the board off slowly and beginning to weight the heel on your back foot. Aim to draw a nice, steady, wide carve. Pushing down with your back foot as you go around the turn will drive the board. Try to keep a constant pressure to make a nice and even turn.
- Bend your legs as you go round to stay in control and keep your body nice and centred. This will stop you sinking or losing your edge halfway through.
- Looking over your shoulder into the turn and to where you're trying to end up really helps your turn; remember: where your head goes, you will follow. It's no use looking down at your board or straight in front of you as you'll have no balance and will stop turning.(Jo manages it because he's a pro, and is obsessed with his new board, but he's naughty.) As well as looking where you want to go, open up your shoulder and chest into the turn as this position promotes pressure on your heels, particularly on your back foot.
- In the final stages of the carve you want to pull in on the front of the bar and send the kite down to gain some power, but remember to push nice and hard on your edge to get some tension in the lines and so you don’t slide out or sink.
- The more comfortable you get with this move the faster you can start coming into it, flying the kite harder and harder across the window and flying out of the carve. The key point to this move is holding a solid edge and looking over your shoulder to carve around nicely. Once you have that in the bag, turn up the power!
- If you find you're getting pulled over your edge as soon as you start turning, then it's likely you're moving the kite across the window before you're ready. Make sure you've come off your edge first and have started bearing off towards the kite a little and are ready to start carving.
- If you're sinking halfway round the turn, you're not committing enough. Going in too slowly will make you sink halfway, as will not moving the kite quickly enough. Add some more speed, turn your head to look where you're going, put some pressure on your heels as you go round (bending your knees and sitting into the turn can help) and you'll carry much better speed throughout, making you feel more stable.
- If your carve is a bit wild; a bit stop start, then keep progressive pressure on your back foot. Start steadily coaxing it into the turn and, as you get further through the turn and the board is really biting, then increase the pressure as you go round. This will make your board drive through the transition.
#02 - SLIDING BACK LOOP TRANSITION
RIDER - JO CIASTULA
PHOTOS – FEDERICO CABELLO
This is a super-simple way to turn around, but can still be made to look very stylish with a very lazy feel, when controlled slowly. A good introduction to back rolls, all you do is a very low and slow 360° spin, just inches from the water.
A huge part of this move is about kite placement and keeping an even pressure on the bar to keep the move flowing from beginning to end.
- Approach the spot you would like to begin the manoeuvre with a good amount of speed and begin to edge upwind.
- Start to bring your kite up by pulling down slightly on the bar with your back hand. Remember to keep equal bar pressure throughout the whole move. The kite should just steadily make its way up and over your head to the other side of the window at an even pace.
- Continue edging as far into wind as possible. As you feel the kite pulling you upwards and that you can't carve any further into wind, lift the board up with your front foot and release your edge, pushing gently off with your back foot. As you've edged so far round, you should only have the final 180° or so to complete.
- Tuck your head in under the bar and spot your landing.
- If your timing is spot-on your kite should be around 11 or 1 o'clock in the window (depending on which tack you're on) and starting to gain power so you can land planing, without sinking.
- As you go around this stage of the spin, it's tasteful to add a little tweak to the board of some kind, usually by pushing the nose of the board out and pulling the tail in.
- As you come into land, start pulling down on the bar with your new front hand to get some forward momentum from the kite and to gain some board speed for landing.
- Land with your back foot first and absorb the landing by bending your knees.
- Dip the kite a little more if you need more power and re-engage your rail.
- A top tip for this move is to just really throw yourself into it. Use your whole body and edge and as far as you can. The harder you edge, the more you will have killed your speed, but the more effective pop you'll get, with just a small rotation to complete.
MOVE - INVERTED BACK LOOP TRANSITION
RIDER – JO CIASTULA
PHOTOS – FEDERICO CABELLO
This is one of my favourite transitions. You can really get into a head over heels position and it feels good.
- It's important to approach this trick with speed as you're going to need to be able to make good pop to get the time to get fully inverted.
- As you approach the spot that you want to make the transition, start to send your kite up as you have done for previous transitions. The kite's movements here are no different. The difference is that you should take-off with your kite at 11 or 1 o'clock (ie: before it hits 12 – to give you more time).
- From the moment you go for your pop, throw your whole body into the move. You need to do a lot with your body here, so it's important to be aggressive. As soon as you leave the water you need to throw your body backward into an inverted rotation. Remember: where your head goes, your body follows!
- Keep your hands in the middle of the bar, butted up to the chicken-loop line so you won't make any involuntary input into the bar, moving the kite too quickly. You need the kite to fly nice and slowly across the window, giving you plenty of time and float to get inverted and back round again.
- As you become inverted, grab the nose of your board as you throw your back leg up as high and stretched out as possible. Basically what you need to get into your head is doing half a back spin and then flipping over yourself.
- Keep that front leg straight and throw your head backwards to stay inverted. Tweak that grab as much as you can. Stay focussed on your kite position and try to keep it over your head throughout most of the transition.
- You can start to see where you will land from here and it's time to untwist yourself.
- Once you've spotted your landing, start to let your legs drop under your body again. Release the grab and your legs will fall into place.
- Get your head up and your landing gear down, touching down back foot first. Remember to bend your legs, absorb the landing and point your board towards the pull of the kite until you're ready to edge again.
- My two top tips for this trick are to really throw your head backwards. This will get you super-inverted and flips your body right over. Also, try to hold the grab for as long as possible; this actually helps you keep control when you flip.
If you're struggling to get inverted, don't worry – this is the hardest and most unusual part of the move. Remember to throw your head back into it and aim to look for your landing spot as soon as possible, while upside down as this promotes you looking in the right direction. Kick hard with your leg and use the initial pop to help get your legs above your head. Don't worry about getting back round as your body will naturally want to right itself as you let your legs drop down.
OUTRO – Many more moves and tips at: www.kiteworldmag.com