For the last year I’ve been trying to land strapless airs on my foil. The pop version I can do reasonably consistently but sending the kite, jumping higher, grabbing the board and trying to get the board and foil back underneath me to land, that has proved more tricky. I actually landed one in the spring (landing off the foil) proving it was possible with a late loop of the kite but I’ve been chasing them ever since. I’ve tried 100’s maybe a 1000 and got close but never really understand what I was doing wrong.
Then last week Danny (my coaching partner at Progression Live) told me he landing two, off the foil. Damn it! He’s beaten me once again. So I did what I do best I got researching! And you know what? It all came together. In one session I landed 9, some riding off in the same direction others saved by coming out as a transition. I must have tried about 50 so 1 in 5 ain’t bad and better yet, right at the end of my session I got my 10th and that one, I landed on the foil! I couldn’t believe it, but now I know it’s really possible and I know what works and I can spot my mistakes. The next day I proved to myself it wasn’t a fluke and got another 8 and this one below on the GoPro landed and foiled out of it – I’ve still got a long way to go to add more style and height but we all have to start somewhere!
And before anyone asks, no I have no plans to make an instructional video on Strapless Airs on a kitefoil!! The foiling gybes and tacking videos still have to be edited and filmed respectively first! But here are a few insights I’ve had that have helped me increase consistency:
- First up watch these two videos, Back to Brazil and Twist and Turns both helped to show me it was possible and allowed me to work out some of the techniques I’m gonna list below. (Also just use these videos for inspiration for loads of other cool strapless tricks)
- Start with smaller jumpers, if you boost too high it’s hard to keep the kite in the correct position ready for landing, which leads on too…
- Kite position – when you send the kite be sure you don’t let it go any further back than 12 which is important when it comes to landing…
- Landing – as you get close to landing, sheet in and pull hard with your back hand to loop the kite. You need it ideally at 12 so it loops in the middle of the powerzone so you can keep weight over the tail of the board. If the kite has drifted behind you, then when you loop it you’ll get a bigger loop which pulls you backwards and it will be hard to keep weight over the board. And be patient with that loop, leave it as late as possible.
- Board grab – this was key for me – it’s easy to grab up near the nose of the board but if you can grab the rail around where your front foot is, you’ll find it easier to control the board in the air and it will make the landing easier…
- Hold the rail and keep holding as you land, get all your weight back over your back leg but push down with your front hand on the rail to keep the board flat. Prolonging this grab made such a huge difference and allowed me to land with speed and was the main reason I could keep foiling out of the jump without touching down.
Now all of this is my first thoughts after three days of practising and trying to improve my consistency – I’m sure my technique will change as I better understand what is happening and particularly as I jump higher but for these smaller, first jumps it seems to be working for me.
What I think is really worth considering for everyone – some tricks/techniques just take time, for me a year of on and off practice, but you won’t ever get it if you don’t try the first one, fail and then start your progression and 1000’s of attempts may just be necessary.