Toeside riding: a basic skill that will open advanced techniques | Photo: Shutterstock

Sooner or later, a kiteboarder will be forced to switch stance. In other words, you need to learn how to slide or pop from heelside to toeside. It's a basic skill that will open advanced techniques.

Just because you have a natural stance, it doesn't mean you won't be able to switch stance. Keep cool and don't worry - it won't be as hard as it is when you try to switch stance on a skateboard, or on a surfboard.

But how do you know you're riding heelside or toeside? You are riding heelside when your heels are pointing upwind, and you're pushing with your heels on the upwind rail of the board.

Riding toeside is when your toes are pointing upwind, and 180 degrees opposite of heelside. In other words, when you get from heelside to toeside, your front foot becomes your back foot, and vice-versa.

In theory, all you need to do is twist your lower body 180 degrees, without changing or turning your upper body posture. Sliding or popping to toeside will allow you to jibe and perform a broad array of tricks.

Let's start sliding from heelside to toeside:

1. Start riding your kite at medium speed;
2. Keep your kite at 11 o'clock;
3. Apply body weight over the board;
4. Pull the kite bar towards the hip;
5. Start gliding the board on the water without pressing your toes;
6. Maintain the kite's power;
7. Put weight on the toes of your new back foot;
8. Find a stable balance, sail away, and slide back to heelside;

Once you've mastered the sliding technique, it's time to learn how to pop from heelside to toeside, especially when the water is bumpy and choppy:

1. Start riding your kite at medium speed;
2. Keep your kite relatively high;
3. Stay centered on the board;
4. Release the edge and use the full bottom of the board to ride;
5. Do an ollie: bend your knees, press your back foot against the board and lift the front leg;
6. Pull the kite bar, and rotate your back hip and leg;
7. As you land the board on the water, apply weight on back leg and toes;
8. Find a stable balance, sail away, and slide back to heelside;

When you're riding toeside, remember to keep your head, chest, hip, knee and front foot pointing in the riding direction. Try riding one-handed in order to find the optimal balance between your body and the board.

For more kite techniques and maneuvers, get the "Kiteboarding Tricktionary."

Whether you think of a kite as a wing or a sail, you want it to be lightweight, resistant, waterproof, but also stiff and flexible at the same time, so that they could respond to all flight requests.

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