Surfing a wave | KiteKahunas Lesson 4

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This course will help you to learn and master this sport fast. Watch your video lessons before your kitesurfing holidays and before you go on the water during your wave camp. An intermediate freeride kitesurfer is as little as 10 days practice away from being a wave kitesurfer.

LESSON 4: Surfing a wave – Backside riding and turns on a wave


  • Riding a wave is best and easiest with the wind direction parallel to the wave
  • Backside wave riding is easiest
  • Make slalom turns on the wave, going up and down the wave while drifting your kite
  • Also slalom to slow down and prevent your lines from going slack



Now start wave riding!

In previous lessons of this wave kitesurfing video course you have learned four different turns with the right timing, the essentials for starting wave riding.The next step is actually riding the wave, which is the most exciting feeling.


KITEKAHUNAS how to Wave kitesurf lesson 4


It is easiest and most fun to ride your first wave with wind coming from a parallel direction to the wave line. So ideally when you face the wave the wind comes from the right or from the left. 

Like for the viewer of the screenshot above the wind is coming from the left, which is perfect.

The easiest way to ride a wave is “backside” with your back towards the wave. You can get onto the wave either from the seaside, riding behind the wave and overtaking it. This is possible because a kitesurfer can go faster than a wave is moving forward. Or you can enter a wave by riding from the beach side towards it, and carving downwind onto the wave.


Backside wave riding

It is possible to ride a wave going downwind or going upwind. Usually you would surf the wave in the downwind direction. Going downwind you can have more fun, as you are now less limited in your manoeuvres and more surfing than kiting.

Try to put more weight to your front leg to accelerate on the wave and go down low on your board to stay stable.


KITEKAHUNAS how to Wave kitesurf lesson 4


Slalom in wave riding

Turns can be functional: when you ride a wave downwind, your riding speed will be increased by both the power of the wave and the kite. Sometimes you can overtake your kite by going even faster than your kite is drifting along downwind. If this happens, your lines will go slack and your kite becomes unstable, and may even fall out of the sky. To prevent this, slow down by making slalom turns. Just like a skier or snowboarder goes downhill in slalom lines, slow down on the wave so enough tension will remain in your kite lines.


Escaping the wave before it closes out

Get off the wave before it breaks. Choose to ride forward out of the wave (ride towards the beach) but only if you can reach more speed than the breaking wave.


KITEKAHUNAS how to Wave kitesurf lesson 4


Alternatively you can go backwards out of the wave, away from the beach, just like a surfer would do. Then simply look out for the next wave and use the power of your kite to catch the next wave.


Escaping the wave before it closes out

Mostly bigger waves are ridden backside. It is easy to learn and great fun. Advanced manoeuvres like front-side top turn, as we teach you in Lesson 5, are rather difficult on big waves.


KITEKAHUNAS how to Wave kitesurf lesson 4


After comfortable riding backside, try also to ride the wave front-side. It is basically the same thing, but now you face the wave.


Find more information on this lesson, a virtual instructor and the other videos of this wave kitesurfing video course at:

Lesson 4 – Backside wave riding

Teaching methodology by KITEKAHUNAS – Kitesurfing School


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