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The bloody water start!

Created by SeatrekIII > 9 months ago, 11 Dec 2018
QLD, 81 posts
11 Dec 2018 9:43PM
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I can fly my kite so well, body dragging I have complete control. Soon as I bring the board into the equation and try water starting everything goes to ****, I completely lose control of the kite! It's so frustrating, I'm an old bloke it reasonably fit after over 50 years of surfing. How long does it take? When will it come?

1110 posts
11 Dec 2018 10:27PM
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Hey mate
any chance you use a go pro and would post a quick vid of your water starts?
There's a few people on here who could use that to point out a nugget or two of technique gold that might get you sorted.

otherwise, describe how it seems to be going wrong - is it while sitting in water (pre kite dip) - or when you actually try to dip kite that things go astray?

64 posts
11 Dec 2018 11:13PM
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I started learning in october and I was just as frustrated as you! I had the ok kite control and was body dragging (upwind/with board) around but once I tried to waterstart I flew off the board, barely got out of the water or managed to drive a little bit but then directed the kite back over my head towards the other direction and went crashing again. Especially keeping control of the kite while doing the start was a problem for me, probably just the multitasking, who knows haha.

So what ended up doing it for me was this exercise with an instructor, I'll write it out:
- hands fairly close together
- kite at 12
- sit down with the wind blasting straight in your back
- lay down on back
- pull in the bar until you feel good feedback from the kite, most often around halfway
- put kite past twelve, not a lot, and then do little dips until you can stand up with the kite. But don't let the kite do all the work, when the kite starts pulling put some weight on your feet. Ideally you want more weight on your back foot I suppose.

The kite movement is supposed to be fairly quick. Meaning don't move the kite over, wait and then dip. From here on increase the dips until you stand up. When you master this the next thing is to:
- dip the kite, stand up and keep the kite at a riding position. Not 45?, a bit higher

Now after I could do that it was time for the board. The only difference to the exercise is that you do 2 dips for driving. Idea is that you are not doing big powerdives but the initial small dip that gets you up and then another little dip that gets you driving. The kite is meant to be kept higher for this, so that it keeps you on the board.

Hope that helps and I didn't want to do it to you but you will struggle until you FEEL it - haha. Everyone telling me you need to feel it, bloody got my blood boiling a little every time. But it is true... Overall I think it took me around 6 hours practice with friends and then 2 hours with an instructor. That is only time on the water, took me a week in total since the conditions were not beginner friendly. Also don't get frustrated as there will always be something that keeps you busy or confused. After you waterstart you will bodydrag for and with the board a lot, try to ride upwind and then work on transitions. Embrace the struggle and just enjoy it. I am addicted!! Cheers mate!

WA, 665 posts
12 Dec 2018 5:51AM
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There are a heap of instructional videos on the net. Watch them over and over again, then book some coaching lessons. Well worth the investment. I just turned 50 and took lessons. Hate to say this but i also windsurf so i had to learn to control the power, quite opposite to windsurfing in a way. I'm on my own now and still learning but the coaching should iron out any bad habits you might be developing and get you up in not time with confidence. Morel of the story, take some lessons.

QLD, 1266 posts
12 Dec 2018 7:57AM
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This is something any decent instructor can get you through. Did you get lessons?

WA, 7898 posts
12 Dec 2018 6:09AM
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set yourself ready for waterstart
dive Kite and stand up
Kite back to 12 and sit down again
do this 3/4 times outward
and the same in your opposite direction
its better to underfly the Kite 1st
as you'll find what's reqd to get you up
if your going over the handle bars your flying a bit too agressive
when you've mastered this you can start adding a few mtrs to your runs

QLD, 81 posts
12 Dec 2018 8:23AM
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Thanks everyone, I've had lessons but being retired the income is limited. I think my problem is coming from pulling the bar down to help me up, this comes from many years of windsurfing. That's where the kite goes crazy. So if I get what people are saying let the kite pull me up and try and stand up with little or no pressure on the bar? I've worn out YouTube watching instructional videos, they make it look so easy ????

NSW, 478 posts
12 Dec 2018 10:12AM
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Select to expand quote
SeatrekIII said..
Thanks everyone, I've had lessons but being retired the income is limited. I think my problem is coming from pulling the bar down to help me up, this comes from many years of windsurfing. That's where the kite goes crazy. So if I get what people are saying let the kite pull me up and try and stand up with little or no pressure on the bar? I've worn out YouTube watching instructional videos, they make it look so easy ????

Just pulling the bar right in to help standup, chokes the kite and it wont fly or change direction as freely as you need in the standing up process. This one error is changing the flight characteristics of the kite from that you well recognize standing or body dragging, like swinging a golf club with grip too tight the mechanics of whole body is changed.

I think get tucked, wind over back and board positioned to create resistance, but not directly up wind at any point, in fact err towards going slightly downwind.
dive kite progressively to get feel of the power needed to pull you out of the water (I don't know what wind strength you might be in) like a clutch in a car that cross over becomes very obvious but a little hard to find in first learnings. Roll up chest first weight in harness, slowly but confidently stand.

But above all in kite surfing, primary objective is always fly the kite power and release to keep it flying freely, above is background stuff yr brain tells yr body.

once you have done it once or twice, you have it. then onto 20m, then 50m etc.

ps don't think you need light wind to start, as a gauge aim for 15-20knts and right kite for that strength don't go underpowered (your bar work will control power), good consistent wind is important

QLD, 81 posts
12 Dec 2018 9:23AM
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Thanks nicely explained.

1110 posts
12 Dec 2018 10:07PM
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"Weight in harness" is the key point in Richoa post above.

try to be conscious not to death grip your bar and thus be pulling in and choking kite as per your old windsurfing habits. Find a firm but light hold that lets you sheet in and out for the sweet spot of power and loft (kite re-filling with air).... even try to steer kite with a real gentle (finger tips even) hold carefully on beach or in shallow water to get the muscle memory in your hands...and the rest of his post is bang on.

keep persisting! It'll click soon for sure - post when it does so we can share the stoke

NSW, 39 posts
15 Dec 2018 10:47AM
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Light hands is the secret and not choking the kite. Like water skiing. Never bend your arms when your getting up. Same as kiting, let the power of the kite pull you up.

SA, 187 posts
15 Dec 2018 7:52PM
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I was having a bit of trouble too til my instructor showed me to dive the kite to 10 oclock, then give the bar a pump in to get up but let it straight back out so the kite can breathe a bit.
this had me straight up.
also if you're confident flying the kite, go out on a nice fresh but steady day.
its so much easier when there is plenty of power available to get you going.

VIC, 115 posts
31 Dec 2018 2:10PM
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head down wind at first, try make it easier for the kite to pull you out of the water, should help stop you thinking you need to pull yourself up

90 posts
3 Jan 2019 7:42AM
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As your laying in the water say your about to tack out to your left, pull your right leg up towards your chest and left leg out straight (left leg will be pointing down wind), slowly start dipping the kite from 12 to 9 in the window. When you sine your kite start of slow and steady gradually increase power pulling the bar and slowly increase turning speed until you get a feel for how much speed and power you need to pull yourself up. Works the same for both ways just opposite with legs left leg to chest, kite from 12-4 ect......

1 posts
13 Jan 2019 6:00AM
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I found the same if it's getting the board on your feet whilst trying to fly the kite. I found the answer was (in shallow water) to push the board to the seabed with your feet then you can step in easily, sit back let the board come up dive the kite and your away.

NSW, 39 posts
2 Feb 2019 10:52AM
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It is a bit like water skiing. If you bend your arms when you water start you will lose all the tightness in your ropes and fall. Now it has been well explained above but just try a few power strokes with the bar out. Then pop with still no pull. It might not feel right but it is effective. a fluttering kite is more powerful than a choked kite. When you get there you will be surprised how easy it is. SOFT HANDS

VIC, 10 posts
28 Feb 2019 1:23PM
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Was a windsurfer for 13 years before I tried kiting and there are a few things to un-learn.

Keeping the bar out and not pulling on it like a windsufing boom is a tough one to get over.
Kite needs to breathe on upswing and progressively draw the bar in a bit on the down sweep.
If you're constantly over sheeting the kite, try using the trim on the de-power side. That way you're not going to over sheet when you pull on the bar. Will soften the power and not make you so over committed when staring off.

The other point is that as a windsurfer you may be expecting to go across the wind from the get go. Let the kite take you down wind with only a light edge, get balance with smaller dips of the kite and then as speed increases you can lean into it and start to go across wind.

Advice above all good. Smaller dips, sit yourself "in" the harness, not on your arms, and to cock the back leg and straighten front leg will help with the above too.

BTW, spent first two or three days learning at Cocos doing Superman torpedoes. Took until day 3 to get it.
7 years kiting and I still over-sheet the bar from time to time.


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"The bloody water start!" started by SeatrekIII