Riding downwind: learn how to accelerate and keep the kite up | Photo: Shutterstock

Riding downwind in kiteboarding is not as easy as it looks. But it is fun, and it allows you to explore your local coastline.

There are three ways of riding a kite through the wind window - upwind, across the wind, and downwind. After learning how to body drag, beginner riders start their first proper sailing lesson with the downwind.

When you're sailing downwind, you're riding away from the direction where the wind is blowing. Four variables get into play while gliding across the surface of the water: weight distribution, stance, board edging, and kite bar control.

Downwind sailing appears less complex that it actually is. The idea that you should just let the kite pull you on a straight line is too idyllic. You've got to do more than that to keep it flying high and off of the water.

Going downwind requires extra work from the rider. You need to generate more pull and keep the speed up by working the kite and edging the board. Remember that the more you turn downwind, the more you'll need to figure-eight the kite.

If you plan to do a long downwinder, make sure you always check the wind forecast and invite a few friends to ride along.

1. Launch the kite and get your kite downwind;
2. Distribute your body weight evenly on top of the board;
3. Apply a bit more pressure on the heel of your back foot;
4. Slightly bend your knee and maintain an upright posture;
5. If you need to accelerate, power up the kite bar or sine the kite;
6. Perform heelside to toeside carving turns, and vice versa;
7. Adjust and manage the power of the kite with the back foot pressure;

The good news is that, when riding downwind, it is relatively easy to accelerate or slow down.

And keep in mind that a straight, downwind riding direction is almost never a reality due to the combination of the wind, kite, and board forces involved in the equation.