10 January 2017

Ultimate Unhooking Conditions

Written by Ben Wilson, Posted in Kitesurfing How To

What conditions and locations to look for when you want to kite unhooked

Ultimate Unhooking Conditions

Unhooking can be done in most conditions, however some are definitely better than others. It’s especially important if you’re practising to choose user-friendly conditions so here’s my list of what to look for:

- Clean, steady wind i.e. not gusty or dirty

- Wind speed of between 10-25knts. Over 25 is usually more unpredictable and unsuitable for unhooking. Plus, the windier it becomes the smaller kite you’ll be riding which typically means it will turn and respond faster leaving less room for error. Larger kites have a slower response time and give you a little leeway, which is helpful when you’re starting out unhooked.

- Wind direction: unhooking is easiest in side-onshore all the way around to side-shore conditions. Side-off or offshore is still possible although much harder.

- Downwinders are great for starting out with unhooking as there’s no pressure to stay upwind or frustration when you mess up a wave. 


Namotu is the best place to unhook as the wind is usually 10-25knts and straight side-shore.

Sunshine Coast conditions are also excellent as the wind is usually between 10-20knts and side-onshore with plenty of open beaches for long downwinders.

Basically most locations with side to side-on wind direction. I never usually unhook in side-off to offshore conditions these days because the depower range of the kites are so good that I feel unhooking actually restricts me. For example I never unhook at SoloSports in Mexico because the conditions are side-offshore.



I much prefer unhooking on my backside as it really opens up my range of motion, preventing me from pivoting off the harness and feeling constricted. I definitely recommend giving unhooking a go on your backhand as you’ll tend to feel more open and less restricted by your harness. I find it gives me a really free feeling that’s very similar to surfing without the kite.  



Just because you’re riding unhooked doesn’t mean you can’t depower. Try grabbing your chicken loop with your spare hand to depower in between turns and regain control when needed. 

About the Author

Ben Wilson

Ben Wilson

Ben Wilson, a big-wave kitesurfer and co-founder of BWSurf. A pioneer of the sport, Ben was one of the first to use a surfboard in harmony with a kite and he continues to drive the sport in new directions.

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