Kitesurfing can create danger to surfers, beachgoers, bystanders and others on the water. Many troubles and complications that may be met while learning to kite can be avoided or minimized by taking professional instruction through lesson centers. Kitesurfing schools offer courses and lessons to teach skills including kite launching, flying, landing, usage of the bar, lines and safety devices.
A beginner can turn by sinking or stopping backward into the water, and then turning the kite in the other direction and starting again. A ‘heel turn jibe’ is a faster, and more efficient turn that is accomplished by slowing down, flattening the board, then reversing the board flat on the water by bringing the rear foot around downwind to eventually become the new leading foot. The direction of the kite is then reversed, which swings the surfer’s path in a semi-circle, centered on the kite. As the turn ends, the kite is flown over to be in front of the surfer again.
A poorly executed turn will “fly” the surfer, and is often followed by a tumble if the surfer can’t put the board down at the right angle.
A reckless turn in high winds can easily swing the rider into the air and result in a devastating crash.
Controlled Flying and Jumping
Controlled flying is possible and is one of the biggest attractions of the sport. Before jumping, the surfer builds up tension in the lines by strongly edging the board. Then the kite is flown quickly to an overhead position, sometimes just as the surfer goes over a wave. As the kite begins to lift, the board edge is then ‘released’ and the rider becomes airborne. The kite is then piloted from overhead to the direction of travel. A large variety of maneuvers and tricks can be done while jumping.
Jumping can be very risky, riders must keep a clear buffer zone downwind when attempting to jump.
Board grabs are tricks performed while a rider is jumping or has gained air from popping by grabbing the board in a number of positions with either hand. Each grab has a different name dependent on which part of the board is grabbed and with which hand it is grabbed by. Rear hand grabs are known as Crail, Indy, Nuke, Tindy, Tail, Tailfish, and Stalefish; while front hand grabs are known as Slob, Mute, Seatbelt, Melan, Method, and Nose. Names generally originate from other board sports like skateboarding and snowboarding.
several grabs can also be combined into one trick. A rider may perform a tail grab going to indy by moving the rear hand from the back of the board to the middle of the toe side edge.