What separates those kiters that progress, that learn new tricks or techniques, from those that struggle to move on and end up mowing the lawn or doing the same 2-3 tricks every session

Having spend most of the last year travel & riding on various beaches around the world, and myself attempting to learn something new, I think it’s become quite obvious.

Failure…      Mistakes…     Crashes…     Frustration…

To move forward and progressing you have to be prepared to fail at the beginning. You have to realise that to achieve that goal, be it landing a new trick, carving a harder turn or mastering the art of riding upwind, you are going to screw it up to start with but know that from those mistakes you will learn something. Enough mistakes, enough attempts at something out of reach will give you the insight to push through and learn the next building block in your progression as a kitesurfer.

karl-crashThere can be a mindset of timidness, that you see in some kiters, where they want to try something but never actually give it ago or worse still try half heartedly. They know they will fail on that first attempt and they don’t want to crash, they don’t want to make the mistake. Be it fear or vanity, it holds them back but in reality these mistakes are a necessary stage of our development that you have to over come.

Obviously this notion of failure as a path to success is not isolated to kitesurfing, or sports, and applies to many things we do in life but in a sport like kitesurfing your failures are generally quite public. None of us want to look like kooks, we want to have style and grace on the water but again style is not always inherent, sometimes it must be learn the hard way.

So how to over come the fear of failure?

Its easy to say “Just Go For It” but that’s not enough. Preparation is the key – understand what your goal is, visualise the end result, literally close your eyes and picture yourself doing  the move. Watch videos of kiters doing it right, force your brain to realise it is possible, if someone else can do, then it is possible.
Ultimately you have to try, start by just giving it a go but commit to it, don’t go in half heartedly – you’ll never really know how it feels, or how close you can make it, if you don’t really try.

  • Trying to waterstart – be aggressive with the kite, feel the power and see how it effects you
  • Trying to back roll – throw those shoulder back, look over your front shoulder like you’re trying to dislocate your own neck
  • Trying to kiteloop – pull hard with that back hand, commit fully and don’t stop pulling
  • Trying to handle pass – Pull that bar into your hip, bend those legs, keep that bar pulled into your back
  • Trying to bottom turn – Turn that kite hard & fast, through the power zone, dig in that rail, bend those legs and drive through the turn.

Crash, Splash, Bang, Arhhhhh. All of these are perfectly acceptable results! Well done!

Wave crash sequence

At the moment, I’m trying to learn to ride a wave backside (with a kite) and had a “great” session a couple of days ago. The wind was a little gusty but the waves were head high and powerful. In the hour I was in the water I went for a dozen waves, I lost the rail on several bottom turns,  I must have dropped my kite 10 times, with it and me washed up the beach 3 times and body dragged around searching for my board endlessly but I caught 2 great waves, got a couple of backside turns that felt right, along with several that were dreadful. I learnt a lot and most importantly I loved it, I came in smiling feeling like I had really pushed myself in difficult conditions and learnt something, even though only a very small percentage of the time was actually a win.

So it’s time to step out of your comfort zone, push yourself and the failures will make the successes that much more sweet!

Progression Player IconIf you want some help then remember that The Progression Method, used in our instructional videos, aims to help your subconscious remember the correct way of performing a trick or technique along with continued positive reinforcement to give you the confidence to get out there and make the most of your next session. Check out our the Progression Player for iOS & Android, or our series of DVDs, to get a head start.