|INTRO: Inject a punch into your direction change by learning to combine a kite loop with your transitions. There's quite a lot of co-ordination involved in this trick, but the good news is you can start getting your head round it sooner than you might give yourself credit for|
The front roll kite loop transition involves a forward rotation with your body, a back rotation with your kite and is a fun way of turning around. The unique aspect of the move and the weightless sensation are the big appeals for me. It throws a bit more style and fun into a regular transition. The name of it could actually be a cork screw as you're rotating one way and your kite is going the other. The back roll kite loop is very popular, but this forward rotation and sending the kite the opposite way gives a very unique sensation. The beauty of doing it hooked-in and slowed down is that you can try it once you're comfortable with basic pop transitions and sending the kite through a loop, be it in the air, or while riding on the water. There's also plenty of scope for styling it out by throwing in little grabs etc.
The reason I like to throw a loop during a transition is that the kite maintains power and pulls you out of your transition with lots of good forward speed. You may have noticed when learning your basic pop transitions that you often end up at one end of the wind window and your kite at the other, leaving you with very little power in the kite and you end up plopping in the water. The loop simply allows you to have more control over the power and to ride away planing more often. It's not as difficult as you think; it's really all about understanding your kite loop timing and committing to pulling on the bar as the kite spins all the way round. You can also do this trick nice and slowly, making it much less intimidating.
Getting to grips with this trick will also put you on the pathway to learning things like Jeremie Tronet's Jesus Walk, but at this transition level, even intermediate riders can start attempting it, purely because of the fact that you slow down so much before actually doing the move.
Remember that it's a good idea to wear an impact vest and helmet when learning this trick.
- A good kite to learn on is a seven or nine metre in 15 ? 18 knots. You want to be just powered-up enough to comfortably stay upwind.
- Look downwind to check for space and also to make sure that the area downwind of you is nice and flat for your landing. Also look behind your to check there are no riders coming towards you as you are about to take up a lot more space than usual on the beach.
- I ride with my hands close up to the chicken-loop line, but I do sometimes move my back hand towards the end of the bar to make the pull easier. There are a couple of reasons for this: firstly it helps me remember which hand to pull on; secondly it helps the kite spin faster, especially when on bigger kite sizes.
- Start to slowly move your kite to 11 o'clock (or 1 o'clock if riding on the other tack) as you prepare for the move. The key is to slowly move the kite and keep it steadily moving it past 12 as you edge hard into the wind. The movement of the kite slowly past 12, to one o'clock (or 11 o'clock the other way) will steadily lift you up. Moving the kite too quickly will give you too much height and you don't want to be getting a lot of air when you try this the first couple of times.
- Edge up into wind as the kite gets to 12 o'clock. To help get a clean take-off lift your front leg up to pop off the water as you feel yourself get lifted and throw your leading shoulder forward and down and look over your back shoulder as the kite starts to pass through one o'clock (or 11 o'clock).
- To keep the kite moving for a kite loop it's the back hand you need to remember to pull on. (In this sequence keep an eye on my left hand which is my back hand ? at the red end of the control bar). Pull just very steadily at first. Later on, once you're in your loop and your back is facing the kite and you're starting to spot your landing it's then a fully committed pull on the bar to finish the loop and give you lots of forward momentum as you come in to land. But at this stage it's important to just keep a gentle emphasis on your back hand and keeping your rotation moving smoothly.
- Tucking your back leg in increases the speed of your body's rotation. Really keep your head looking hard over your back shoulder, searching for your landing.
- Pull hard on the bar once you've spotted your landing. Be prepared for an increased pull from the kite. The pull will be coming slightly from the side of you as the kite will be towards the side of the window by now. Stiffen your core muscles and extend your legs down ready for landing as you go with, and adjust to, the pull of the kite.
- As you come into land the kite should be coming through the bottom of the window in front of you. To help with balance I take my front hand off the bar as it helps square my shoulders for the landing much more easily.
- The forward pull from the kite really only happens once you've landed. There can be quite a drop to the water so be prepared by lifting your front foot slightly and landing back foot first. Remember to really bend your knees as you land with your board pointing in the direction of the pull.
- Remember to keep pulling on that bar as you ride away if the kite still needs to complete its loop and get back into its regular riding position.
- More advanced riders will loop the kite a bit earlier, causing them to get pulled higher from the loop, so the kite will go through the loop in front of them before they've landed, providing more airtime. The danger of this for inexperienced loopers is that you'll end up getting pulled hard onto your back as the pull will put you off completing your rotation.
- Slow down before pulling the kite over your head.
- Throw your front shoulder over as hard as possible and then your legs will follow.
- Really commit when pulling the bar before your landing.
If you're not completing your body rotation or rotating too slowly and landing on your back while the kite is looping, throw your shoulder and head around with more commitment and loop the kite harder and a little bit later.
If you're going too high and over rotating, remember to slow down before taking off and move the kite more slowly through and beyond 12 o'clock.
If the kite is crashing in the water, you've probably let it drift to the edge of the window and haven't pulled it early enough or hard enough through the window.
If you're getting far too much aggressive pull from the kite then learn to loop it later. You must loop the kite after it has passed through 12 o'clock. If you pull it hard through the loop before 12 o'clock, then that's a pretty extreme cork screw, and another move and technique level entirely!
BRAD'S 12 LOOPS
Brad has been teaching for more years than most of us can remember. He was involved in the very first Kiteworld test trip to Cape Town way back in 2002 for issue #04! What he has forgotten about kiting is more than most of us will ever know. He believes there are 12 loops ? we will be covering more soon.
They say we only use a small percentage of our brains. The same can be said for the wind window! All these loops give you the ability to use the full wind window, including the 180 degrees in front of you and some of the space behind you (during a mega loop) when you have to pull a rescue loop with the kite behind you and the kite facing the wrong way, somehow defies all laws of physics and wind.
01 Down loop
02 Down loop transition
03 Down loop board start
04 Back loop kite loop
05 Back loop kite loop transition
06 Forward loop kite loop transition
07 Aerial loop ? boosting and looping (including the mega loop). There are four aerial loop variations: Looping just after leaving the water;
08 Looping just before the apex of your jump;
09 Looping just before you land;
10 Aerial down loop
11 S loop ? ask Ruben, but it's something about boosting super huge, sending the kite into a loop and then, once the kite is making its way around the under loop, you pull on the other side of the bar and steer it down again and back the other way before bringing it back up to the top of the window. Clearly having enough height and balls the size of watermelons are key here!
12 Basic rescue loop ? when being crunched by the wave and you're under the water, if you can feel the kite in the sweet spot you can loop it and it will pluck you out of the water. This has its risks though, for you and those around you in a busy line-up, so be very careful.
OUTRO ? Find Brad at: www.thekitesnest.com