The Water Start - You Can't Kiteboard Without Knowing This One!
Can you water start? It is the move that gets you out of the water, and being able to do it quickly and fluidly is important. There can be many situations in kiteboarding where you need get up and
get out there – and this is the move that will do it.
Proper Body Position
Before attempting a water start, make sure you have the proper body position:
Tuck chest to your knee.
Extend front leg and point the board 45 degrees downwind.
Keep your back heel* tucked as close to your butt as possible. Keep the front tip of the board out of the water .
*The front leg will be the one in the front while riding; the back leg will be at the back!
Performing the Water Start
To water start you need to power stroke the kite in the pattern shown below.
– 1 Fly your kite from 12 o’clock to 1 o’clock (or 11) on the edge of the wind window
– this positions the kite for the power stroke.
As you do this, you will rotate slightly in the water, but don’t worry – the closer your board is to
pointing 45 degrees downwind, the easier the water start will be.
– 2 Power stroke
– fly your kite through the wind window to the other side.
If you are unsure of how much power you need,
start with a small power stroke and increase the power if needed.
– 4 Once out of the water, straighten your legs (both your legs should be mostly straight a lot of the time), and put weight on your front foot to accelerate. Ride downwind to build up some speed, and then you’re on your way!
When riding, you should have your legs straight. If you have to lean back to balance the kite, don’t bend your knees and sit on your board. Instead, keep your legs and body straight, and lean back.
Troubleshooting Some Common Problems
- 1. I just plow through the water and don't get up on the board.
The problem here can be that your legs are too straight. Bend your knees, bring your rear heel close to your butt, and extend your front foot in the direction you want to go.
If you are doing this already, try a higher-power power stroke. If that doesn’t work, your kite may be too small for the conditions.
- 2. I fall over backwards.
In this case you might be:
• Standing up too soon – wait until you feel the board coming out of the water .
• Leaning too far back – you might not be balancing the kite properly and leaning too far back. Stand more upright on your board.
• Flying your kite back to the top of the wind window after water starting. This will dump
all the power in the kite and you will either sink or fall backwards – dive the kite back into the wind window!
- 3. I fall over forwards
Here, you might have:
• Too much power in the kite. Try again with a lower power stroke.
• Stood up too late. Stand up sooner, keep your body straight, press down with your heels, and lean back to counterbalance the kite.
- 4. I get up, ride, slow down, and then sink!
This is common problem for many beginners. You are either:
• Turning too much upwind. This will bleed off your speed and you will sink. Instead, build up speed by riding downwind and then turn into the wind. Pay close attention to your speed and if you start to slow sine your kite fly it up and down to create more power.
• Flying the kite back to the top of the wind window; a kite in this position has little power. Once you are up and riding, fly your kite in the power zone. If you need more power, fly the kite deeper into the power zone, if you still need more, sine the kite fly it up and down to create more power.
That briefly sums up the water start. Next we cover some basic board riding techniques, and how to milk the last ounce of power from your kite…