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Don't get us wrong, Go Joe is, I think, a fantastic tool.
Way safer than a board leash for sure. But eventually, with time, it will be a good thing to take it off and learn how to body drag back to your board efficiently.
It's not impossible to body drag back to your board even on an ebb at third.
If you loose track of your board that means you didn't count.
I'll explain: when body dragging, count the time you spend for each tack.
If you spend the same time body dragging port and starboard, then you can't be far away from your board.
Why not practice with a friend?
Both of you go out in the water. One of you leave his board behind on purpose and try to body drag back to it while the other one keep an eye on the board.
Remember, most beginners loose ground (aka go downwind) not when they body drag but when they tack to the other direction: most of the time they send the kite back to 12 too quickly while sheeting in and as a result loose all the ground they made upwind while body dragging.
Just keep that kite low when body dragging (helps edging against the water with your body, if your kite is too high you get too much lift which makes the body dragging inefficient, then keep body dragging and slowly send your kite back to 12 while slowly sheeting out (remember to still keep your body dragging position).
When your kite is at 12 you should be sheeted all the way out.
Couple kicks with your feet to hold your position while switching hands on the bar and then slowly lower the kite to the other side and start body dragging the other way. And voila!
I used to count 20 seconds on each tack to minimize the number of time i would have to switch tacks (aka loose ground).
More and I would feel like I was going too far away from my board, less I would feel like I was unecessery tack back and forth.
As I said, go joe is a great tool for beginners, but you're not gonna put that on a surfboard are you?
For now it's good so you can focus on your riding.
But if you're at the stage where you are trying to boost jump and do back rolls, then you shouldn't need it anymore.
Just my 2 cents.
Kites: 2015 F-One Bandit VIII: 8m, 11m & 14m.
Board: 2014 F-One Spicy.
Harness: Manera Exoharness.
Wetsuit: Underwave Sultan shortleg 4/3.
If your kite is low, then you are also punching your face through the waves. It's not fun, so I really appreciate keeping the body dragging to a minimum. Which is what the Go Joe is really good for. It's amazing how hard it is to see a board out there, especially when it's upside down. Several times I went looking for other people's boards and I had to get within a shockingly close distance (20 feet?) before I could see it - and that's standing up. How far away do you think you can see your board if it's upside down and you're floating in the water? Maybe you long timers have a sixth sense that knows where that board is, or maybe you rarely get separated from your board anymore...
But yeah, it's a crutch. Yesterday I saw a girl drifting away from her board right after she launched. It had a Go Joe on it but it looked like she didn't know how to body drag. That's not cool. I think her boyfriend ended up getting her board for her.
Speaking of your kite at 12 o'clock ......sometimes I just park it there and swim upwind using a back stroke if it not to windy and the board isn't to far away
I think if your helping someone you should get a free pass.
The debate continues.........go joe or no.......
I think they are useful but not really necessary. I see a lot of folks that are starting out get stuck with the idea that if they fall they need to put their kites in neutral, ie sending the kite to 12 to park it so they can look for their board.
Often this results in them being dragged even further away from their board. One of the reasons you don't see more experienced folks getting dragged too far from their boards when they fall is that they don't move their kites at all.....if they're at 10 when they fall, the added resistance from their bodies makes the kite move up to the edge of the wind window, and they stop almost immediately, even if they're super powered.
Body dragging can actually be fun (and with my shredded hamstring maybe is the only kiting Ill get in for the rest of the season). You'll need to use bodydragging in the surf and in all kinds of other predicaments you'll get into in the future. It is a necessary skill to be honed.
I don't think one needs to be fatalistic about losing the board too much, since if you're around other folks it generally is a form of entertainment for other kiters to help out by at least pointing out to you where it is.
I won't say anything about how they look. I won't. They DO look better than board leashes, I'll say that.
To each his own........and Ino, that's what you get for being a nice guy........
i don't know anything about gojos but i read an interesting article on this recently, took away three points that really helped my bodydragging. guessing long-timers will find this remedial, but i wish i had known earlier so for anyone still learning:
1. when you fall, instantly start dragging. don't move the kite, don't look for the board, just stick your hand out and go upwind. work out your board's position from memory or sight while moving or changing tack. this really reduces the distance from board problem.
2. you don't have to lay flat on top of the water like a swimmer. swimmers worry about the _vertical_ pull of gravity and reducing drag. because this is how one swims it's instinctive to try a similar posture bodydragging but neither of these factors are important with a kite tied to your waist. what matters is the _horizontal_ pull of the kite, maximize resistance against that and drag is not a factor because the kite provides more than enough power for lift and forward motion. your front hand can be a foot deep and still be effective as long as it's providing resistance in the correct direction. same for your shoulder and legs. figuring this out allowed me to take a more upright position which made it way easier to spot the board and keep water off my face. let those legs sink a bit and raise your head so you can focus on squaring your shoulders toward the kite and using your whole body as a rudder instead of just your hand.
3. if you loose your board, just give yourself a lift when changing direction to get a view. failing that, keep moving and you'll eventually end up upwind of it and you'll have enough room to 'boost' to find it if you have to.
@le noun: counting is a great idea, never thought of that. thanks.
Last edited by behindThePeak on Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I heard if you fill the go joe with helium you can boost 4% higher. True story.
All bs aside, i personally think that learning to get up and ride on a board before becoming proficient at body dragging is kind of a safety issue and should be rethought. Definately a critical skill that may save your ass one day. It can save a long exhausting swim if the wind dies off, or even worse-an injury to an ankle or knee during a session doesnt necesarily leave you flailing around in need of a rescue. Maybe a good tool when u first start out, but to become dependant on it is like kiting before learning how to swim. I mean u probably could as long as you wear arm floaties, but is that smart?
But if u must its definately better than a board leash. Close call earlier this year when i was riding without a leash scared me strait, made me think twice about whats more important, having a rearranged face maybe a scalping and still having my board while im chumming the water with blood while im trying to stay concious, or ditch the leash and keep my melon from ending up in worse shape than it already is with that possibility that i may lose a board but will come home in one piece and have a good excuse to dump more money on this hobby.With this said, the best boddy dragger on a hard ebb at my local spot can still have a helluva time getting a board back if you punch out in the channel and become seperated by 30 yards. Put your number on your board. Happened to a local here. Lost his board and he got a phone call a year later. True story
Afterall, unless u are the only kiter on the water, you are typically gonna get some help from someone after they see u struggling for a couple minutes. That only costs a thank you and a six pack. If you cant body drag very good you probably shouldnt go solo anyway
The key is hold your breath, get your body as submerged as you can and keep that lead hand as rigid as u can as u stretch it as far upwind as physically possible.
+1 for good training and lessons and learning the fundamentals before going out
Nice tips, behindThePeak. I already use the counting one, and I've toyed with the idea of launching myself if I have to, to get a better view, but usually I find the board after 3-4 drags even on the worst crashes. Mostly, I just puss out and try not to crash hard, and if I am crashing, I eyeball where the board went just before I impact. Usually it is just upwind of where you crash, but if you timed your jump wrong or dropped the board way early, it also may be as much as 50ft off the windline from you, in which case your 20-second drags may not ever center you on it... but you should still find it if you keep your eyes open.
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