Kitesurfing and how to start jumping
In this blog post we are going to see in detail how to start jumping is going. You have to read everything well, until you understand the technique of how to jump
One of the peculiarities of kitesurfing, apart from many other considerations, is the ability that the kite provides us to lift us up through the air thanks to the “boost”, or upward propulsion, that the kite can offer if we are able to handle it properly and combine a couple things
Said like this, it sounds easy, of course, putting it into practice is “a little more laborious”, in fact, for some people it takes up to half a year or more, until the moment they meet the necessary conditions to be able to jump
So how much wind does it take to jump? Personally, I have never been able to jump decently in less than 10 knots of wind … until I bought the first large Flysurfer kites, since then, one thing became clear, jumping with little wind is possible, and even more fun than what I previously had thought
But, it takes money to buy that “monster of technology”. Yes, to what extent is bad news? Actually, the matter starts a little earlier. You have to ask yourself in what wind conditions you can navigate on your kite spot
How much wind do we need for jumping?
Some people live near a place where 20 knots of wind are frequent, others live in places where winds are light, say 6 to 10 or 12 knots. No problem. Today, with foil type kites measuring between 15 and 21 meters, we will be able to jump from just 6 knots of wind.
Then, with stronger winds, things change. A series of acceptable jumps can be achieved between 10 and 14 knots, and when I say acceptable, I mean airborne up between 3 and 5 or even more meters, depending on your level of navigation, the material with which you navigate and your weight, as well as the type and size of kiteboard you use
However, it is already from 15 knots on, and especially between 15 and 22 knots, when the big jumps arrive, and from there upwards, because even bigger jumps can be achieved, logically
The photo below these lines, jumping with a 12-meter foil-type Flysurfer kite in 15 knots of wind
What does it take to jump?
Obviously, it takes wind, the more wind, the greater the chances of getting propelled upwards, but we must know that not because there is less wind we will not be able to jump.
The kite wind / size ratio is one of the key pieces of that equation, the other piece, obviously, is: technique, and of course, adding it commitment and courage, although obviously all starts from a good knowledge of the necessary technique
The photo below these lines, jumping with 10 meters of kite and in 22 knots of wind
To stronger wind corresponds smaller kite size and to lighter wind, bigger kite, then, on those variables, there is an easily understandable scale
A certain wind corresponds to a certain size of kite, depending on our weight, and also on our experience, but if we ignore that rule, and we put more meters of kite, logically, the jumps will be bigger
Hence it is understood that a person with a weight of 70 kgs, with an average level of technique, in wind conditions of, say, 16 knots, kitesurfing with a kite of 12 meters, and depending on the state of the water surface, will be able to jump probably, 5 or more meters upwards
In these data and results, the ability to find the “momentum” will also influence the outcome of our jump, which is almost the same as saying: all depends on the synchronization technique of everything which happens
In the double photo below these lines we see, firstly, a jump with an 18-meter kite in just 10 knots of wind, while in the second photo the wind is 25 knots and the kite is only of 8 meters size
If, in 15 knots of wind, a 70-kilogram person decides to kitesurf with a 14 or 16 meter kite, for example, he will get more lift than if he chose to jump with a 10-meters kite
¿More meters of fabric and the speed factor of the kite when changing position in the wind window, will also count, since the 10-meter kite moves faster and more directly at our command when passing over our head than it will, by instance, the 14 or 16 meter kite
And there we have a decision to make before starting our kitesurfing session, do we want more speed when sending the order or do we prefer more fabric and less speed when passing the kite from one side of the wind window to the other?
That must be decided by each one, and this is something that only our experience will help us discover, considering that caution should always prevail when making our decision, or in other words, do not choose a kite larger than your kitesurfing level advices or the wind forde recommends
What should we do
to get a good jump?
1.– Recognize the place, meters ahead of us, where we want to jump
2.– Bring the kite in the proper position to start the jump maneuver
3.– Exercise the maneuver accurately and cleanly
4.– Bring the kite back to the position where we want it for landing
5.– Amerize properly and keep riding forward
POINT NUMBER 1
The recognition of the place where we are going to take off is something that we must master, with time, practice and experience.
In each jump, whether it was good or bad, we will take with us a few moments of interior illumination, in which a voice will tell us what we have done well and badly.
We must listen to that voice, which, with each new jump, will provide us with information that, our physical memory and our mental memory, must process, in a micro instant, the one that precedes us when we are getting upwards
Therefore, when jumping, we can choose a space ahead of us in the water that is as flat as possible, depending on whether we are sailing in the sea or on a lake, or a wave ramp since this ramp will help us in the jump
That moment of the election has to be more intuitive than anything else and the best thing would be to calculate it about 10 to 20 meters ahead of us, although the normal thing, at least. What I do, is to carry in mind what I want to find in front of me when say: let’s go!
I mean, take a mental picture of what the water should look like in front of me to send that order automatically and immediately
I, particularly, prefer to find a ramp, in fact, what is going to cause a ramp to form, I mean, the reading of the surface of the water ahead of me and how is that ramp going to take place
That process is being helped by what our eyes are contemplating ahead of us all the time, and from there comes the decision of which is the best time to start the maneuver
POINTS NUMBER 2 and 3
Let’s say we are navigating towards the left, everyone has a side that works better than the other side, as in the case of surfing, if you are Normal or Goofy
In the case of kitesurfing, if you prefer to jump with the wind received by your left or your right, again, in my case, I prefer left wind, why? Well, surely because of all my life it is where I have received it most often, therefore I am more accustomed and feel more comfortable
Well, I receive the wind from the left, I go with the “pilot on”, looking for a ramp, or a “I want to be a ramp”, when suddenly I find it, she approaches and I approach, and, at about 4 or 5 meters from it, I start the maneuver
By then, my kite is at about half past 10 or 11
I make the following movement: I pull the bar towards me with both hands.
How many centimeters? That will depend on whether I have enough wind on the kite or not so much, if I have not much wind, it will be 10 or up to 15 cm, even more, that is, being careful not to lower the bar to the end, because, if pulling it all the way to the end I might overload the kite and it may get the backstall effect, losing the necessary synchronization of the maneuver
In any case, as I just mentioned we should lower the bar not to the end but stop about 5 centimeters before reaching the end. If this were not the case, we would run the risk of “overloading” the air pressure inside the kite, so even gaining kite reaction for the next movement, which would be to send the kite backwards, in this case towards the right side of the wind window
Maybe we would get an unwanted “backstall” effect or the kite falling backwards, which would break the delicate and efficient process of sending the kite from one side to the other of the wind window.
The next movement is, once I have tensioned the lines, pull even a bit further more with the right hand, that is, the back hand. There, the kite gets thrown past in a clockwise direction, that is, behind me
Then, when the kite arrives at 12 as it passes through the wind window zenith, it is time to raise the bar gently with both hands. This should not be abrupt, but rather on the speed with which an “elevator” goes upwards, that is, gently
I wait a moment (or two) with the bar up and, I lower the bar back towards myself
Again, you have to lower the bar decisively but you do not have to lower the bar abruptly because it will destroy the synchronization and this will make the jump a bad one or at most, it will be a much longer jump than upwards
At that time, if we have done it right, the “boost” will come to us and we will be shot upwards
As I just said, if we have done it wrong and we have not waited long enough at that “moment” when the bar was upwards at 12, that 1, 2, now!, we are going to get thrown forward, due to the abrupt movement of the bar pulling movement the bar without waiting this little bit when the bar was at the zenith
POINTS NUMBER 4 and 5
Once I’m flying, I move up and forward, depending on how I did it. There will be a certain ratio between the length of the jump and how high I have risen. Attention! This has a lot to do with that long moment when I left the bar up when I was at the zenith before pulling down
The higher the jump and less long or longer jump but less high. Everything is possible, as you will notice over and over again on each of our jumps. The higher the lift, the longer and more floating feeling the kite will offer us and the softer the impact against the water when falling
With this we must consider that we must keep the bar down while we are flying and if we raised it, we would lose the air pressure that fills the kite and we would fall almost as a stone
Why? … because we would have eliminated the support offered by the air pressure exerted by the accumulated air inside the kite when, otherwise, when raising the bar halfway, we had let out that accumulated air pressure
To all this, we must add that we must have the kite over our head when we start to descend, since that is what will make us fall “like a feather” instead of “like a concrete block”
In other words, sending the kite back and then lowering the bar -with both hands at the same time and gently- is conditioning by the moment of raising it -also gently- and waiting for that magical moment, that 1, 2 now! … Before pulling the bar down
Important note: If the kite is left behind during the maneuver, which happens to beginners on their first jump attempts, suffer, you fall like a stone, apart from the kite falling behind you, and then the kite fall on your lying and dumbfounded body floating on water
And, if the case is that, when sending the kite forward again, because of missing the magic moment of raising the bar and waiting an instant and a half before lowering the bar again, you just send the kite forward, the kite will fiercely overfly you, which will make you fall hard, but also the kite will not be right over you but a few meters ahead of where you should have fallen if you had done well, with the consequent impact of landing and the consequent dragging forward
A couple more things: flex your legs when falling, it will always cushion the fall, although the fall, if you do things right, it will be surprisingly smooth
And … second observation. Sometimes it can happen that once we are up for whatever reason, you get a foot out of the footstrap. In that case you have to get rid of the board in the air, at once! … Because falling with one foot inside the footstrap and the other outside can cause a broken or sprained ankle
So, in case that happens, something not so rare, by the way. You should kicks forward and remove the board from your foot and then, it only remains to fall without a board and probably in the “bicycle” style to gain control in the air, with the greatest possible dignity
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