Strapless kitesurfing: Where to place your feet on the surfboard

Strapless kitesurfing: know where to position your front and back feet | Photo: GKA/Van der Heide

Are you getting into strapless kiteboarding? Are you unsure where to place your feet on the board? Find the ideal foot positions for a successful ride.

Strapless kitesurfing is one of the most exciting dimensions of kiteboarding.

Riding a surfboard without any attachments allows you to enjoy the experience with total freedom.

Nevertheless, the advantages of riding strapless come with a few downsides, obstacles, and challenges that you should be able to overcome and master.

The trick is to stay glued to the board while carving, launching into the air, and performing sharp and radical turns and maneuvers on the waves while controlling the kite's power.

Foot straps inhibit your feet from moving around.

Without them, we have to relearn how to balance our bodies so that our actions in the water don't result in unwanted consequences.

Front Foot Position

Getting your front foot into the correct position is key.

Foot Position: Front to Back

When riding waves strapless, you may need a slightly wider stance to ensure you can keep your weight forward over the wider mid-section of the board.

If your board has foot straps inserts, then you can start with your foot positioned around where the front foot strap will be placed.

Every board is different. As you get more experienced, you can play around with shifting your weight a little further forward or backward and see the effect.

A single centimeter, either way, will make a noticeable difference.

Strapless surfboards: free to ride and to adapt to the circumstances | Photo: GKA/Van der Heide

Foot Position: Side to Side 

With no foot strap and a board that is far wider than the length of your foot, there are several ways you can place and angle your foot.

Where this is, depends on what you're doing.

It may be closer to the rail and more angled, giving us far better ability to edge, but harder to move from rail to rail, or dead center and square, allowing good edge-to-edge control without the extreme edging ability.

Overall, once you've found the position lengthways that works for your body and board, you'll not move around a great deal in this direction.

Whereas you'll want to be tweaking your side-to-side foot position more often during a session.

Back Foot Position

Due to the nature of riding a surfboard with your weight over your front foot, it's relatively easy to shift your back foot around quickly, to change the control and maneuverability of your board.

You're mainly moving your back foot forward and backward.

Far forward for lighter winds and maximum efficiency when riding upwind or as far back as possible for maximum control of the board's maneuverability and power.

Generally, somewhere in between will be the most comfortable spot for getting going and cruising upwind, normally at the front of the tail pad.

When you position the back foot at the back of the pad, properly powered carving turns will be easier to learn.