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Spaghetti Salad: How to untangle your lines? SABO SMACK

Inevitably, you are going to have a “kitemare”.  I hate to say it, but it’s most likely going to happen.  Over 14 years of kiteboarding have lead me to about an equal amount of mishaps on the water (OK, it’s probably significantly more).  While my risk tolerance might be a bit higher than most, I know that even the safest and most tentative of kiteboarders will inevitably run into an issue on the water.  While we can do everything right, sometimes things just happen.  It’s almost like a right of passage for a kiteboarder.    Not necessarily to have an experience on the water that is life threatening, but certainly to have an experience that will get some extra blood pumping through your vein.

That said, almost every accident I had was avoidable.  Some things like a line snapping, or kite deflating, or a crazy kook smashing their kite into me – these scenarios I had less control over.  However, here is a quick list of things that were certainly avoidable.   Let me share some mishaps with you:

  • Wearing a Dry Suit in the Ocean (yea, don’t do that, I was an idiot)
  • Launching kites in wind shadows, causing my kites to get wrapped around trees.  (just launch in a safe spot, it’s worth it)
  • Wearing boots that had hockey laces (make sure you can get in and out of them)
  • Releasing my kite when I got tangled with another kiter (don’t panic, I’ll cover this)
  • Swimming after my kite (guess what, you’ll never catch it)
  • Having a safety leash that used a snap shackle release attached the harness (if your kite starts death looping, you will never be able to release this)
  • Permanently knotting up my bar because I didn’t follow the rules of how to untangle lines

To get out of most of these scenarios, you simply just do a self rescue.  Flag out your kite, wrap up your bar properly and get home safe!

If you are sitting around and wondering “How do I self rescue?”  or “What is the flagging line?” – you should 100% go out to the beach and practice these safety techniques as they can help you avoid an accident and will build your confidence on the water!

The biggest mistake I have seen in self rescuing is line management.   Have you ever gone to the beach and seen someone with a bar that’s all tangled up?  It looks a lot like a spaghetti salad.  A cruel puzzle of lines that looks like it could never be undone.

A lot of times when we self rescue, or use our safety system, it is because we are panicked and don’t know what to do.  This is extremely normal as things can get scary out on the water.  Whenever you are using a safety system, you can follow these quick steps to ensure that you manage yourself and your lines in the most efficient way.

  1.  Don’t Panic.  I think this is a line from Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy.  When you panic, you make some quick and rash decisions.  It is important to remember to stay calm and that most problems you face on the water don’t require and absolute immediate action.
  2. After you’ve hit your Quick Release, take a second to analyze the scenario.  If everything looks fine, make sure you are conscious of where your lines are at.  Don’t simply ignore your lines as this is what can lead to that Spaghetti Salad scenario.
    1. Wrap up the flagging line on the BACK SIDE of the bar.   You should wrap up X amount of meters of lines before wrapping up ALL the lines..  X = the size of your kite.  Does this make sense?  The idea of a flagging line is that all other lines have no tension on them.  If you wrap up your flagging BEFORE wrapping up your other lines, your kite will never be able to gain tension and power up!
    2. After you’ve wrapped up X amount of the flagging line on the BACK SIDE of the bar, continue to wrap up the rest of the lines, figuring 8 style, around the TOP of the bar.  By the time you get to your kite, you should have a nicely wrapped up bar. With two figure 8 patterns.
    3. At the beach, try to reverse what you just did.  Unwrapping all 4 lines, then unwrapping the flagging line.  This will ensure that you have the least amount of effort to get your bar back in order.
  3.  If you get tangled with another kiter, wait before releasing your safety system.  If one of the kites starts looping and pulling you in a scary way, then of course hit that release ASAP!  One of the biggest mistakes people make in a tangle is hitting the release too quickly.  A lot of times you can undo the tangle by simply analyzing the problem and working backwards.  When you undo the tangle by either swimming through the lines you just came through or juggling the bar, you can feel like a hero and continue the epic times on the water.

That’s the summary of some basic line management!  I find that our friends at REAL Watersports have covered this is a really easy to follow video and you can check it out right here:

Be sure to let us know if you’ve found this helpful at all!

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How to keep your kite skills through the winter – Sensi Says

How to keep your kite skills through the winter – Sensi Says

 

If there’s one thing that keeps us coming back to kiteboarding, it’s the feeling that we get on the water. The feeling of freedom. The feeling of the wind on our faces.

When we can’t kiteboard, we dream of it. We plan our next trip. We obsess over forums and watch countless videos. It’s the kite bug and we’ve got it. But unless you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, kiteboarding right now might be inaccessible to you. I’m currently in Hood River, OR where the temperature is hovering around 5 celsius. Kiteboarding right now is unappealing and in fact dangerous. But the fact that I can’t actually go out and kiteboard doesn’t mean that I can’t do any number of things to improve my skills during the off-season.

There are three main methods that I rely on to keep myself “kiteboarding” through the winter. Those are visualization, working out and maintaining my gear.

The first practice of visualization we should now be very familiar with. The act of visualization is a practice that develops momentum when learning new things or staying on top of your current skill set. Athletes from Tiger Woods to Michael Jordan to Muhammed Ali all practice visualization and have relied on it to achieve their stratospheric success. Visualization is helpful for maintaining the skills that you can already do and it’s crucial when you’re learning a new trick or skill. Use the often time in the winter to strengthen your self-belief muscle. Before your body has developed the muscle memory it needs to land your tricks consistently, you have to work extra hard to get there.   By visualizing how the trick looks and how your body is going to look and feel as you do it you start firing the necessary nerve pathways in your brain. You lay down the basis for making the trick happen. If your mind believes, your body will follow suit. Alternatively, if your mind doesn’t believe, chances are you won’t ever get there.

A good visualization practice will keep your already developed skills sharp through the winter. Despite not being able to physically practice your maneuvers, visualizing yourself stomping your tricks or completely your tacks will keep the physical movements fresh in your mind when you’re next able to go kite. Utilize this practice for learning new grabs, learning to jump or learning KGB’s. I guarantee that it will keep you that much sharper for your next session.

The second tool for maintaining your kiteboarding level through the winter is to physically work out. Maintaining your kiteboarding muscles will go a long way in keeping your stamina up for those long downwinders come Springtime. A good physical practice is rooted in three things: endurance, strength and range of motion.

Endurance and cardiovascular training is essential to maintain. Not only for a healthy heart and waistline but because you don’t want to be short of breath next time you’re out for a session. Weak lungs and water don’t mix. Maintain your cardio by jump-roping, running or playing tennis.  It doesn’t really matter what you do here, just move!

The second component for a strong kiteboarding practice through the winter is to maintain your strength. Kiteboarding is a great total body workout. But don’t wait until your next session to work those muscles. We want to feel good when we’re riding, not so sore that we can’t go out. Incorporating strength training into your regimen will enable you to ride with that much more speed, power and fun!

Finally, don’t forget about range of motion. As kiteboarders, we’re constantly hunching our shoulders forward and using our strong ham strings to edge upwind. Over time, our chest and legs become tight. Keep your body in top shape by stretching, incorporating fluidity exercises and working to increase your range of motion, especially in the areas that are strained by kiteboarding.

The final component in keeping your mind and body primed for kiteboarding is to maintain your gear. The off season is a prime opportunity to ensure everything is up to par.

You can always read more from Sensi at here Sensi Bikinni’s Blog.

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How do I check out a Kite Spot? B-Blog Advice

How do I check out a Kite Spot?  B-Blog Advice

The more you know the better chance you have at a great session! Whenever I am considering checking out a new spot I like to do a little investigatory research. You can search the forums, look through the databases of old kite mags for information, or just Google the spot. There are reviews and guides to almost every spot out there and you should read up on what makes it special. Do all the photos and videos make you amped for your next adventure. Let’s check out the spot!

Here we are. How does it look? Are there lots of people on the water? Does it look like your dream is about to become a reality? Time to find a friendly kiter and ask them all the questions. My hit list of questions looks something like this:

  • How was your session?
  • How is it out there?
  • I’ve never kited here, is there anything I need to be aware of?
  • Is there a safety service?
  • I ride (twintip, surfboard, foil) where is the best place to ride?
  • Is there a rotation and how does it work?

If the person you run your questions isn’t excited to help you out don’t be afraid to ask another person.

Post session it is great to check back in with the person you were talking to and let them know how your session was! People love to chat about kiteboarding and hear what you think of their spot. Time to celebrate with your new friends. Now you have to ask them where the best place to eat or grab a beverage!

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How do I choose the right kiteboard? B-Blog Advice

How do I choose the right kiteboard?  B-Blog Advice

How did you end up here? You are interested in finding the perfect board to progress your shredding to the next level. Well I am here to help guide you through your progression and get you checking off your latest goal.

The first question we will look into is what type of board should I get? This question seems fairly straight forward, but it might not be as much as you think. I’ve broken down boards into a few different categories as what I see are their main benefits.

Twin Tip – Great all around board that can really do it all. Are you interested in getting big air? Are you keen on stomping some powered wakestyle moves? Do you want to learn how to make your way up wind? If any of these are your goals the twin tip might be the right ride for you!

Surf Board – Did you get into kiteboarding because you dream of smacking the lip, but don’t want to paddle out to the line up? Are you looking for a smooth ride that slices and dices up the chop on your local lake? Are you fired up on catching air and using the wind to glue your board to your feet? You are a surf shredder!

Hippy Stick – What did you just call me? The Hippy stick is a cross-over board that has many of the benefits of surfboards and twintips. If you want one board that you can surf and freeride, the hippy stick might be your answer.

Foil – Have you mastered the art of twin tip riding and surfing? Are you looking for something new and exciting? Are you looking for a super smooth ride similar to slashing an endless line of waist deep powder? The foil is calling you!

Twin Tip Size and Board Selection

There are a few factors to consider when making a purchase on a new twin tip; your weight, the wind conditions you will be riding in, and your preferred riding style.

The first distinction is if you are riding in really light, usually less than 15 knots wind you will need a large board like the Libre or Over Drive no matter weight. You need such a large board to get planning at low speeds and to help keep your speed up during wind lulls. If you are riding in more wind you can dive into a smaller board because you do not need the large volume.

Now that we are shredding stronger wind let’s look at the different styles of twin tips out there. If you are just getting started with kiteboarding you will want a flatter rocker line and softer edges to help you get upwind easier. These flatter boards are more efficient and will help you get over the hurdle of going upwind. In the Liquid Force lineup the Drive, Over Drive and Edge are all great boards with a flatter rocker line. If you are looking for a twin tip with incredible pop you will want to look for a board with a more square tip and a stiffer flex pattern. Both of these features will give you maximum pop. This style of board will be a little more bumpy while riding in chop and will not be as fun to slash turns and transitions. In the LF board range the Radnium is the dedicated load and pop machine. The all around, pop and jump, and slash carves boards will have a medium flex, medium rocker, and not as squared off tip and tail. These boards will eat up chop, give you good pop, and turn nicely. The Echo and Benchmark are Liquid Force’s all around weapons of choice. Finally, if you are looking for a twin tip to ride on rails and obstacles you will need a board with a grind base so that your board will last a long time. Look no farther than the Boom for a dedicated park board.

Ok, so you have chosen a board that fits your style of riding, now how do you select what size to ride. We are hyped on riding slightly larger boards these days as they are a bit smoother riding, make landings easier, and can get you through any lulls. Our general rule of thumb is if you are over 80 kilos you should be on a board larger than 141 cm. If you are over 70 kilos you should be on a board larger than a 138. Finally if you are over 60 kilos you should ride larger than a 133. The one time you can throw this rule out is if you are a dedicated big air rider doing old school maneuvers in strong wind. If you are a big air warrior you will want to ride a small board, around 130 cm so that you can have more power in your kite.

Surf Board

There are infinite surf shapes out there right now and how can one decide what is right for them. There is not a hard rule about what should work for you. We recommend to try as many as you can to see what feels best for you. You will want a lighter board if you are interested in doing strapless airs. If you are looking for a super smooth ride you will want a heavier board as it will slide right through all the chop. 4 fins, also called quad will give your board a looser, skatey feeling while riding it. A 3 fin setup, called thruster will give you more tracking while riding. Try, try, try and find the board that best suits your riding.

Hippy Stick

The crossover board from the future. These boards are exclusive to Liquid Force and are inspired by the retro shapes from snowboards. They deliver the fun feeling of riding a surfboard with the ability to ride both directions like a twin tip. These boards excel and riding upwind and feel like an aggressive surfboard made to destroy waves and chop. If you want one board to do it all on then this should be your ride of choice.

Foil

Foiling is blowing up right now. It can make marginal conditions really fun and exciting. Before getting into foiling you should be a proficient twin tip rider and it is best if you are already decent on the surfboard. If you are just getting into foiling you want a larger board, around 5’0” to get going. A great starter board from the Liquid line up is the Rocket or the Galaxy. This will make the learning phase much easier and less painful. Once you have mastered going on a larger board you can size down, way down. Many foilers are riding boards smaller than 4’0”s now. This creates a minimalistic feel and you don’t have any extra board to slow you down. Liquid Force just dropped the Orb and Plank that are great examples of tiny foil boards.

Enough reading already! Get out there and shred with your new knowledge and new ride!