How to ride upwind in kiteboarding
Upwind kiteboarding is what separates beginners from intermediate and advanced riders. Riding into the wind is opening up all possible moving directions.
Kiteboarders can ride their kites anywhere up to an angle of 45 degrees to the wind. This means that you're nearly sailing directly against the wind or, in other words, zigzagging across the wind.
After mastering the art of riding downwind, it's time to unlock total kiteboarding freedom and leave the "walk of shame" for the upcoming beginners on the beach. If you can go upwind, you can turn and ride downwind, and vice-versa. Pretty useful, isn't it?
The stronger the wind is, the easier is to ride upwind. Light winds will force you to explore the wind window in search of power and speed. As a result, instead of drawing a straight line, you need to make subtle curves to keep sailing away.
Simultaneously, you need to keep your board cutting water at a 45-degre angle. Feeling speed under your feet means you're doing good. Now it's all up to you and your kite:
Body: adopt an "L" or "V" stance in relation to the surface of the water. Keep your front leg straight, and slightly bend your back leg. Your arms and knees should also be slightly bent to absorb wind gusts and choppy waters. Use your heels to lean backwards (edging) and resist the pull from the kite.
Kite: find a stable position and keep it powered up. Get your kite low (45 degrees) so that you can push forward in the wind window. If the kite is high, you'll start going downwind.
Looking upwind helps to ride your kite upwind. If you edge too hard, you will ride out of the wind window. The good thing is that, after a few tacks, your brain will find the optimal balance between speed and direction.