Articles tagged with: kiteboarding

19 May 2018

SoloSports Kite Weeks: wave clinics in Baja, Mexico

Written by Ben Wilson, Posted in Interviews

The place to go for serious progression

SoloSports Kite Weeks: wave clinics in Baja, Mexico

There’s a reason why people travel to such a remote part of the world; SoloSports is a wind and wave machine.

I kited every day for two weeks during the two consecutive Kite Weeks. The degree of progression made by guests here is second to none and that effect really comes down to the consistency of the wind and gentle waves that give everyone the opportunity to practise turns again and again till they’re comfortable. 

When you’re not kiting there’s mountain biking, surfing, SUPing and siestas. Photographer Stu Gibson who joins each year to capture everyone's progress and act as unofficial mountain bike guide. 

We’ll be back again same time next year so if you’re interested in improving your existing wave skills or moving on to a directional board then this is the trip for you. The group size is small so you have plenty of personal attention and you really won't find a better kite haven than SoloSports. 

Next available trip is 4-11 May 2019. Click here for details. 

08 March 2017

Strapless Front-side Air

Written by Ben Wilson, Posted in Kitesurfing How To

Learn to land your first front side kitesurfing air

Strapless Front-side Air

Frontside airs are a lot of fun and are great to practice on small waves or wind chop. The best conditions are cross-onshore to onshore winds with smaller steep waves.

As always, kite position is critical and will vary depending on what kind of air you want to do; you might aim for a long, flat air or a high, vertical air. The conditions will really affect where your kite should be; on light days, if your kite is low it won’t provide much lift and will instead drag you sideways rather than providing height so you’ll need to keep your kite a little higher to get that lift. 

11 January 2017

Unstrapped Back-Roll

Written by Ben Wilson, Posted in Kitesurfing How To

A step-by-step guide to landing your first strapless back-roll

Unstrapped Back-Roll

The unstrapped back-roll is a great starting point if you’re new to aerials as they’ll help you practice control through the air and develop your ability to land moves.

CONDITIONS: back-rolls are easiest in side-shore or side-onshore wind as you can head directly at the chop or wave and get a really good launching pad. But you don’t need a wave to practice on, just a decent bit of wind chop. 

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. 

10 January 2017

Unstrapped, Unhooked Backhand Top Turn

Written by Ben Wilson, Posted in Kitesurfing How To

A step-by-step guide to flowing from your bottom turn through top turn

Unstrapped, Unhooked Backhand Top Turn

For me, the best feeling in kitesurfing is riding backside unhooked. I can really open up my whole body and make it feel like surfing. One of the key moves is a basic backside top turn. As we’ve discussed in previous articles, the bottom turn is the foundation that sets up pretty much everything. So we’ll start by setting up an unhooked bottom turn and flowing through to the top turn. 

Unhooking during this move is optional but it does allow you to open up your body far more than doing it hooked-in. Side-shore to side-onshore conditions are ideal as your kite will readily drift down the line and not pull you off the wave. 

10 January 2017

Understanding Wind Direction

Written by Ben Wilson, Posted in Kitesurfing How To

DID YOU KNOW that just because the wind is side-shore to the beach doesn’t mean that it is side shore to the wave?

Understanding Wind Direction

Even advanced riders can come unstuck by not understanding this basic principal. 

It’s easy to assess the wind direction when you’re standing on the beach and think, “ok it’s side-shore, I’ll be able to practise unhooking today.” In reality the waves might be at a different angle to the beach, making the wind direction relative to the wave side-offshore. It might not seem like a big deal but confusion here can lead to a really frustrating session. 

03 January 2017

Kitesurfing how to: Strapless Drop Wallet

Written by Ben Wilson, Posted in Kitesurfing How To

Nail your first strapless drop wallet

Kitesurfing how to: Strapless Drop Wallet

At home on the Sunshine Coast where the wind is predominantly side-onshore, the old-school Drop Wallet is ideal. I also think it’s one of the most timeless moves you can do, especially if it’s done right.

This move really utilises the kite. I often talk a lot about using the power of the kite or the power of the wave and then combining the two. In this particular move, I’m using the full power of the kite.

16 December 2016

FREEDOM Kite Mag Goes to the Mexico Kite Week

Written by Ben Wilson, Posted in Kitesurfing How To

A first-hand account

FREEDOM Kite Mag Goes to the Mexico Kite Week

It’s not everyday you get an email inviting you to the other side of the world, to camp out in the middle of the desert and do nothing but the important things in life. Yes, of course, like kite, surf and chill.

It was time to pack for the next adventure.

 

What’s unique about this particular camp is unlike most kite trips, you don’t need to take kite or surfing gear! Apart from your own harness and your cold-water rubber, everything you need for this adventure is ready waiting for you.

 

It’s refreshing rocking up to the airport with only one bag instead of the normal rigmarole of getting hassled by the check-in agents for having too much gear, then having to trawl through airports and taxis with your arms full and three trolleys all fighting each other. One bag feels so good!

 

14 December 2016

Backhand Bottom Turn

Written by Ben Wilson, Posted in Kitesurfing How To

Perfect your bottom turn to set up the perfect wave

Backhand Bottom Turn

The bottom turn is the foundation that provides power for your next turn, setting up the rest of your wave. Without a good bottom turn, you won’t have the speed and flow in place for whatever you want to do next. If you’re trying to make a steep, vertical turn and rail change you need the speed to do so; the bottom turn is the deciding factor. 

 

25 September 2016

Kite Fiji's Coral Coast

Written by Ben Wilson, Posted in Kitesurfing How To

Downwinders, wave kiting & more at Matanivusi

Kite Fiji's Coral Coast
Earlier this month (September 2016) I took a small group of guests straight from the Namotu Kite Weeks down the Coral Coast to Matanivusi. The resort is set amongst the rainforest beside the ocean on Viti Levu's windward side. Miles of pristine water, reef breaks and just 8 of us kiting.
 
I’ve been coming to this area to fish, kite and surf for about 15 years but a couple of years ago I decided to find somewhere to host kite weeks and Matanivusi was the obvious choice in the area. With some of Fiji's best surf breaks and kiteboarding spots at its doorstep plus world-class fishing, whitewater rafting and onsite yoga studio it is hard to beat. The Trade Wind blows really consistently on this side of Viti Levu so from July to November surfing can be blown out but the kiting is incredible. Matanivusi is close to Frigates, Fiji Pipe and a huge selection of downwind kiting destinations as well as offering an exclusive experience similar to Namotu. 
 
Thanks to Pete, Stu, Laurel, Tony, Richard, James & Lance for joining me on the first test trip. After an incredible week of kiting, exploring the area and relaxing we’ll be doing it again in 2017. 
 
Stu put together an edit (bottom of page) to give you an idea of the area and what we did during our stay. Find out more about this kitesurfing trip and see more photos here

08 August 2016

2016/17 Kite Trips in Australia, Mexico & the Philippines

Posted in Kitesurfing How To

Find the trip that's right for you

2016/17 Kite Trips in Australia, Mexico & the Philippines

For Australians August means winter is almost over and it's time to start thinking about the kite season ahead - trips, new gear, warmer water and wind.

We have a couple of kite trips right here in Aus over the next few months; one with BWSURF's Pete O'Keefe for beginners, and one with me for intermediate/advanced kiters who want to work on their wave skills. Learn some new skills at the start of the season so you can make the most of it!

For Americans I know August means something totally different, but if you're already planning for next season, check out the SoloSports Kite Weeks in April/May and September next year. The place is absolutely incredible and a buck-list destination for kiters, windsurfers and surfers alike.  

28 May 2016

SoloSports Kite Week, Mexico

Posted in Kitesurfing How To

The perfect trip to improve you wave riding

SoloSports Kite Week, Mexico

I was lucky enough to spend two weeks earlier this year running Kite Weeks at SoloSports in Punta San Carlos, Baja Mexico. The setup is incredible and we couldn't have asked for better conditions. The place is incredible for kiting but also provides excellent surfing, windsurfing, mountain biking and SUPing - it's adventure sports paradise. Massive thank you to Kevin Trejo and the crew for having me this year, I'm already looking forward to next year's trips! 

I'll be running three trips to SoloSports next year and have just released dates and details. Check out the video for more info. 

 

21 April 2016

Backhand Barrels

Posted in Kitesurfing How To

Grab rail and tuck in on your backhand

Backhand Barrels

I love grabbing rail and pulling into tubes on my backhand. I think there’s a massive advantage with grabbing your rail - you can get yourself in a really tight little ball and push through and fit in the tiniest of sections and also lock into your board and maintain control and composure throughout tight parts of the wave.

Probably the biggest difference between getting barrelled surfing opposed to kiting is that surfing barrels you’re not restricted by the kite at all, so you can stay in the barrels longer and have more control. Whereas kite-assisted barrels tend to be shorter and basically ‘get in and get out’ before you’ve really stuck the kite. 

 I like to ride in the barrel hooked-in pretty much all the time. I have played with getting barreled unhooked, but I really find riding hooked-in gives you an added advantage of being able to sheet in and out the kite while you’re in the barrel. When you’re riding unhooked you’re really limited to just the one speed and just doing self-adjustments. I’ve definitely had some fun barrels over the years unhooked, but the best ones I’ve had and the longest ones I’ve had have definitely been hooked in.

Here are some tips to help make the most of backhand barrels.  

14 April 2016

How to Set-Up and Catch Waves

Posted in Kitesurfing How To

A few tips to make the transition from surfing to kiting simpler

How to Set-Up and Catch Waves

In contrast to surfing, when you are kiting you need to catch the wave further out, well before it breaks. Once you’re in position and have chosen a wave, adjust the angle of your kite and prepare yourself to catch it. Parking the kite in the right position and allowing it to drift down the line allows you to ride the wave and pick it up again when needed.

When it comes to speed, you don’t need to be going flat-out, just fast enough to stay on the plane. Having said that, it’s better to keep moving though as speed can be quickly washed off but takes longer to build up.  

06 April 2016

Learn to Kite Unhooked

Posted in Kitesurfing How To

A simple technique to practise unhooking

Learn to Kite Unhooked

One of the most common things I hear in kitesurfing is, “I want to unhook but I can’t get my head around it. I feel like I’m going to get my arms ripped off and I just don’t think in reality it’s a possible thing for me to do.” Well I’m here to set you guys straight; unhooking’s not about strength and it’s not about getting your arms ripped off. It’s all about technique once you nail that technique, it can really open up your body and help you tear into turns with much more freedom. 

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Ben Wilson Coaching 2017

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