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12 October 2015

Getting Barrelled on a Kite

Posted in Kitesurfing How To

Getting Barrelled on a Kite

I’ve had some of my best barrels on the East and West Coasts of Australia where there are lots of rocky headlands and slabby reef breaks. Of course Indo has some really good spots as well.

The most important thing to remember for riding barrels is kite position. When you’re pulling into barrel you need to avoid your lines dipping into the lip and causing drag so keeping the kite low and in sight helps – it needs to drift at about 45 degrees or lower. Surfboards are important because when you’re in the barrel you have to switch from using the power of the kite to the power of the wave. You want that extra buoyancy. Normally when the waves are barrelling I prefer to surf anyway, unless I need the kite to tow in or I want to get out to reef breaks.  

I think the best barrel conditions are short, slab barrels. When the wave is too long it can be hard to get the kite to sit properly so short. Side-offshore winds are also best for cleaner waves - when it’s side onshore or side-shore the waves can be too crumbly. A reef or low rocky headland is good to help protect the wave from becoming too choppy.

Some more tips on getting barrelled on your backhand 

12 October 2015

Should You Wear a Legrope Kiting?

Posted in Kitesurfing How To

What I tell my coaching students

Should You Wear a Legrope Kiting?

Leg ropes: to wear or not to wear, that is the question.

 

I use a leg rope 100% of the time as I hate taking time out of my session if I lose my board. That's 5 minutes I have to spend swimming after my board that I could have spent kiting! If you're not used to wearing one and find you get caught up changing stance etc, rest assured, you will get used to it - it's all about time on the water.

 

 

12 October 2015

Big Wave Kitesurfing

Posted in Interviews, Kitesurfing How To

What I've learned about big waves

Big Wave Kitesurfing

I love to kite big waves because of the rush, the adrenaline, the thrill and sense of risk. I think the kite is the ultimate vehicle for whipping into big waves and I truly believe this is the way of the future. Rather than towing in on a jetski, the kite allows you to drop in under your own power. I also love how three-dimensional it is; you’re harnessing the power of the wind and water at the same time to create speed and control. It’s seriously exciting!

 

Conditions

Choosing the right conditions is essential. First of all, onshore wind and big waves does not work. There’s a point where the wave is more powerful than the wind and you’ll be pushed back towards your kite. In general, big waves and light wind doesn’t work either as you’ve got two different forces travelling at different speeds. Ideally you are looking for side-offshore conditions because you can really park and ride, actually enjoying the wave. The waves will also tend to be cleaner and smoother to ride. 

12 October 2015

Unhooked Kitesurfing

Posted in Kitesurfing How To

My tips on choosing when and why to unhook

Unhooked Kitesurfing

I love unhooking because it opens up my whole body so I’m not pivoting off one point – it feels freer and more like surfing. It’s great when wave riding for performing turns on a wave.

The way I determine whether I’m going to unhook is based on the conditions. Typically more side-onshore to side-shore conditions are better so the kite can drift down the line with me. It’s hard to unhook in side off conditions as the wind pulls you in the opposite direction to the wave.

If you want to start unhooking, I recommend practicing when the wind is light so you can get comfortable with the concept. It’s really about mind over matter – people think the kite is going to rip their arms off but in reality, if you position the kite correctly, it’s going to drift along the wave with you. My advice is to ease into it and pick your conditions. 

11 October 2015

The State of Wave Riding

Posted in Interviews

Interview with Stance Magazine

The State of Wave Riding

This interview appeared in Stance Mag a while back but I thought I'd share it here as well. 

How long have you been riding waves?

I’ve surfed since I was a grom and have been kiting in waves for the last 9 or so years

Why did you choose waveriding instead of freestyle and wakestyle? How did you get into it?

I grew up surfing so it has always felt natural to me. 

Is there a big difference between waveriding in competition and just freeride?

Yeah, I think competition requires a lot more discipline while free riding allows more experimentation and creativity. It’s not a completely different mindset but a different approach. 

If you need to choose, for a session, do you pick surfing or kiting?

Surfing to me is absolutely the best thing when the waves are perfect and you’re out there with a couple of mates getting barreled. Those moments happen so rarely you could almost count them on one hand so for everyday consistency, I’d choose kiting because I can have fun in a wider range of conditions. 

Is the wave riding spirit different than in other disciplines like freestyle? Is it closer to surfing?

To be honest I wouldn’t be in a position to comment because I don’t really get involved in freestyle anymore. But I think kitesurfing is now more like surfing was in the 70’s. Surfing these days can be really overcrowded with a negative energy whereas you’ve still got more space to yourself with kitesurfing. 

What do you like the most about wave riding, and riding strapless?

11 October 2015

Quads vs Thrusters

Posted in Kitesurfing How To

Quads vs Thrusters

During my coaching sessions I’m often asked, “what’s the difference between a quad (4 fins) and thruster (3 fins) fin setup?” Here’s a general overview of what I discuss.

The bottom line is both work in all conditions and it comes down to personal preference. Both have advantages and disadvantages and both feel different and draw different lines on a wave. A general summary to differentiate the two is:

Quads go faster

Thrusters turn better.

Some more points to consider…

09 October 2015

World's Largest Wave Ever Kitesurfed

Written by Ben Wilson, Posted in Interviews

Cloudbreak, Fiji 2011

World's Largest Wave Ever Kitesurfed

Cloudbreak is such an iconic wave but nobody had attempted to kite it at that kind of size before. I’d been looking at it for five years, getting to know the wave and local weather patterns and understanding what it takes to make sure I was there at the right time. 

I studied the conditions constantly and it seemed like maybe twice a year something would pop up and look good, then it would come to nothing. To be honest the whole process is super draining. Even on the day I was completely drained! For a week it was a rollercoaster of, “it’s going to happen,” or, “maybe there’s not enough wind”. But during those times there were a lot of good moments when it wasn’t that big, just a good warm up session. On the day, I knew it was looking right so I brought the whole team in: helicopters, videographers, photographers. A lot of logistical preparation went into that wave.

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