Unhooked: Aaron Hadlow goes new school | Photo: Red Bull

Unhooked riding is a fundamental skill for freestyle and wave kitesurfing. Learn how to ride a kite unhooked.

Whether you're riding waves or performing new school tricks, you need to master unhooking and hooking as fast as you can.

As with everything in kiteboarding, training is the best way of achieving perfection.

If you're starting with unhooked riding, use the lower wind range to exercise the technique in waist-deep waters and free space around you.

The first thing you need to do is to prepare your gear for unhooking:

Mount your leash with one end on the fixed ring on the side of the harness, so in case you want to disconnect from your kite, you can easily find the release.

There are different ways to connect the other end of the leash.

Beginners and kitesurfers who don't unhook connect the leash directly to the safety line, which is the safest setup.

But in case you unhook and let go of the bar, you'll need some time to reassemble everything.

That's why most people who do unhook moves connect the leash in the so-called suicide mode.

With this setup, you have a fixed connection when you unhook and let go of the bar.

Unhooked: a fundamental skill for freestyle and wave kitesurfing | Photo: Red Bull

Riding Unhooked 101

This helps keep your kite flying in the air while just generating very low power.

Ready to ride unhooked? Here's how it's done:

  1. While standing in the water, depower your kite to make sure it doesn't back stall when the bar is pulled all the way down;
  2. Remove the chicken dig from your harness hook;
  3. Get ready to unhook by flying the kite at 12 o'clock;
  4. Place both hands in the middle of the bar and twist them slightly forward;
  5. Pull your bar down and twist it so your chicken loop comes off from your hook;
  6. Let the kite pull your arms over your head and try to keep it stable at 12 o'clock;
  7. After a few seconds, hold your bar down in one movement to place the chicken loop right under the hook and twist the bar to finally hook in;

Repeat the process until you feel confident about unhooking. This time, let go of the bar.

To hook back in and with the kite at 12 o'clock, pull the leash towards you and grab your chicken loop above your quick release.

Do not grab the bar before you're hooked back in, as this would lead to missteering and an uncontrolled kite loop.

  1. Once unhooked, with both hands in the middle of the bar and your arms stretched out, let go of one of your hands and quickly grab the chicken loop;
  2. As soon as your hand grabs the chicken loop, let go of the bar completely with the other hand and grab your chicken loop firmly with both hands;
  3. Hook back in your chicken loop directly into your harness hook, and regain control of your kite with both hands on the bar;

You should practice these exercises several times without the board before going for the tricks.

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