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There was a comment in one of the other threads recently about how people don't "surf" the waves so much while kiting. I've been thinking about that.
Being a surfer for many years, when I first started kiting in waves, I hardly used the kite......it was a process of learning how to stall the kite enough so that it wasn't pulling to hard, but not so much that I'd drop it. My inclination was to surf the wave rather than get pulled around on it by the kite.
As time went on, I gave in to the temptation to use the power of the kite to do all kinds of nasty things to the wave......it's hard to resist not using that power, not only for turns but also for the ability to project into sections that would be completely impossible otherwise.
So here's the question I'm pondering........how many if any of you out there that surf can say you're really mostly surfing the wave when you're kiting? Most of the time we're in mucked up conditions that aren't suitable for down the line surfing, which means we're usually just doing a couple of bottom turns and bashing off the lip......but when clean conditions present themselves, I still find myself prone to relying perhaps overly much on the kite for the power in both bottom and top turns.
Probably just a very stupid question since using that power is soooooo much fun, and if it's there it seems silly not to use it....but????????
Any thoughts about that?
One of the symptoms of us being in a down cycle on the wind is thinking about stuff like this......
It's a good question. For me, it depends on the quality and, probably the steepness of the wave section. And of course the wind direction relative to the wave makes a huge difference. On some wind directions you're just fighting the kite when you're riding the wave. If the wave is a beach break (more of a close out), I'm more likely to use the kite; at a point break going down the line on just the power of the wave is more possible and therefore more likely.
How much I'm actually surfing vs. using the highly addictive power of the kite also depends on how many good waves I've ridden that particular session. I find after I get more tired (less amped to just destroy the wave), I'm much more inclined to just let the kite drift down the line and actually try to let the wave propel me, rather than the kite.
Well, since I kinda started that conversation I guess I should chime in.
I too find that I love the power of the kite. It's way to fun to just slash the hell out of the waves, and since the conditions are usually bad, I'm ok with that. I love lining up on a right at the coast and using the kite to rip down the line and slam bottom turns an crush the wave as many times as I can before heading back out for another lap.
However, I think that the ultimate expression of surf kiting is based on actually riding the wave as much as possible. I don't think that means not using the kite at all, but rather using it to extend what can be done on the wave. The kite can allow us to make sections that would have been impossible, get out of a bad situation, catch multiple waves in a set, boost fun airs, etc. I tend to lean toward the Ben Wilson philosophy.
Like all surfers, I'm always on the search for the perfect wave setup, and that now includes wind too. My dream wave would allow a pure surfing feel while still using the kite to go beyond the limits of surfing alone. Punta San Carlos is calling my name. It seems to be a place where that could happen.
Put the kite back in the trunk,grab your short board and paddle out at The Hook sit in the water and ride 4 waves while waiting 1 hour for the perfect wave. Or get the kite back out of the trunk and hit the lip 20 times in 45 minutes have fun, have beer and remember your kitesurfing when you have a kite in your hand and surfing when you don't.
Just have fun!
Another trip around the sun ?
FOG I think you can sometimes score surfable tow-in style on 12m days before it starts picking up and blowing out but it takes a bigger board. The risk in the style is taking on more acceleration than the kite momentum can handle (on a small board can be easy to do having to rely on steep drops up against light wind) I've had a few sketch drop-ins where I was trying to surf the wave where I've almost (or have) lost the kite... which on an outside tropical reef break is not my idea of fun!
I like Ben's idea of steering the kite out while you're going in - and then letting it rush back across the window as you're forming the drop. It makes the kite behave OP (b/c of the apparent) and improve its drift. I saw a guy at Waddell riding a funboard sized surf with a big kite utilizing something similar to this move and he was getting a few turns in with the kite parked... In side-on that's pretty cool!
And that's why I don't surf The Hook any more.
I think it should be all about having fun and maximizing your time on the water. In over ten years of kiting in the SF Bay Area, at basically all the spots, I do not ever recall actually seeing anyone truly just "surf the wave" while kiting. Meaning solely using the kite to position themselves on a wave and then totally dump the power of the kite and only minimally fly it to keep it out of the water while truly surfig the wave in a "surfer" sense. The kite is a tool, and everyone uses it as such. There are a few pros who qualify (Pivec, Wilson, etc.) but the way people use kites in waves is awesome and harnesses power to do things in the surf you can't do without a kite. And it's all about having fun, right?
ben wilson almost solely rides the wave unhooked. I've found unhooking on the wave gives me the closest feeling of the wave actually propelling me rather than the wind.
Unfortunately, the wave has to be a descent size/steepness to really get that feeling, and when you are unhooked you really have to have the perfect amount of power. Also, your direction of travel tends to make you cross paths with others on the wave that are hooked in.
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