Strapless kitesurfing: the freedom to race, jump, and ride waves whenever you want | Photo: Shutterstock

Strapless kitesurfing is becoming a very popular discipline within the kiteboarding world. Learn how to start riding a strapless surfboard.

Riding waves with a kite and without straps involves a surfboard. It can be a classic surfboard used in surfing, but today kite brands have designed their own kitesurfing models with subtle changes in their core and main features.

Traditionally, a strapless kitesurfer is someone who wants to blend speed, airs, and wave riding. He or she seeks the freedom to accelerate in flat water and then transition into a big air or surf break scenario.

Because you're not strapped in, when you jump you have to grab the board and position it so that it doesn't get blown off your feet. However, for many riders, that's what brings fun to the session.

There's an additional switch stance challenge for those coming from twin tips. You will need to switch your feet before or after you turn the board across the wind. It's an important technique for riding efficiently, and comfortably in both directions.

If you want to become an accomplished strapless kitesurfer, you must learn how to turn, and jump, and use the wind in your favor. Because wax and traction pads will be all the grip you'll get.

Let's begin with a simple strapless water start:

1. Position the board in front of you;
2. Slightly pull the kite bar, and get it downwind;
3. Position your feet flat on the board;
4. Lean back, and let the heel rail of the board submerge a bit;

Now, let's learn how to switch stance and jibe. Remember that you need to decide whether you're going to switch your feet before or after turning the board across the wind.

1. Ride your kite at a constant speed;
2. Bring your back foot towards your front foot;
3. Move your original front foot to the back of the board;
4. While riding toeside, carve on your heel and send your kite in the opposite direction;


If you're turning and transitioning from your strong side to your weak side, do this:

1. Carve to toeside;
2. Send the kite to the opposite direction;
3. Bring your back foot towards your front foot;
4. Move your original front foot to the back of the board;

Now that you're comfortable with the jibes, let's learn how to jump on a strapless board:

1. Ride upwind;
2. Push the tail of the board with your back foot;
3. Stretch out the foreleg;
4. Get to the air;
5. Reach down with the front hand to catch the board;
6. Redirect the kite and sheet in slightly to sustain the hover;
7. Turn the board around and bring your knees into the chest;
8. Throw the board into the water;
9. Extend your legs to land on it;
10. Sheet in and ride away;

Acid drops can be dangerous, especially if you jump into shallow waters. But if you learn how to do it properly, they can be fun and look good in a video.

+ Surfing News