First learn how to pop, (check out our how to pop guide) as that will be very important for all of your tricks. You can see my other tutorial on how to jump using or not using the kite. The Pop It’s the base for kitesurfing tricks and it’s super important to pop properly.
Grabs are probably the easiest air tricks you can do kiteboarding, but what is harder is to make them look good. You can start with the simplest of grabs like a nose or tail grab, and then progress to harder ones. The easiest is probably a tail grab, as having your right hand on the bar will help your landing as you will want to bring your kite forward when doing so. The key to make an easy and stylish grab is to bring the board to you by tucking in only your back leg and stretching the front leg to make it look better, not trying to reach by stretching your hand too much. That will make it look like you’re making too much effort and that is contrary to style.
The good thing about learning grabs is that as you learn more tricks, you can make them more stylish and difficult by adding grabs.
With that same principle of stretching one leg and bringing the part of the board you’re grabbing close to you, you can do more complicated grabs as you progress, for example indy grab, nose crail grab, stale fish grab.
Pop to toeside or blind.
This trick is very useful as it should be the first rotation we should learn, so we only have to do a very small pop, that looks more like an ollie. If we do a normal pop, our body will get push forward quite a bit more and we’ll be forced to do a raley.
So we have to find a common ground where we do a little bit of pop, to get some extra height, and also an ollie at the same time to not get pushed forward too much.
Just like when doing a pop, we’ll get a comfortable speed and we’ll start riding upwind to get a little more tension on the lines, and as we get the extra tension, we’ll quickly turn a little bit more upwind just as the same time as doing the ollie, which is similar to a skateboarding ollie, we’ll push with our back foot as we are lifting the board with the front foot. When the board has almost left the water, then we tuck in our feet to keep our board horizontal.
Also, before we pop we should decide which direction we’ll turn so we start turning right away.
First we should go for a pop to toeside so we turn frontside using our whole body 180 degrees.
A more difficult version is the pop to blind, as we have to turn backside and land without looking where we’re going. To help us ride blind we should have our front hand in the middle of the bar, and release the back hand, so as we leave the water, we kick back with our back foot as we turn with our whole body backside. Remember to keep the back foot a bit more tucked in as this one will be the one in front and we don’t want it to hit the water first.
The back roll is one of the most popular tricks in kitesurfing, you can do it with many other variations, so it’s important to get this basic trick dialed before we move into some more advanced stuff. It’s the base of many tricks whether you like to do wakestyle or old school.
When we’re going for a backroll we have to do a good pop, so as always, go upwind a bit harder to get more tension on the lines, then put pressure on the back foot to do the pop. As we’re leaving the water we just have to continue that same pop momentum and let the board guide us in the rotation.
Then look over your shoulder to spot the landing and bend your knees as you get to the water.
The most common mistake on a backroll is to hold on too much to the bar with our back hand and direct the kite accidentally to that side, so the kite will most likely go on the other side of the window and we won’t be able to control the landing. Keep in mind our back hand is always “shorter” so we tend to pull more with that side of the bar, so that’s something we can correct at first by putting our back hand in the middle of the bar and acknowledging this fact.
For the front roll and for all airtricks, the start of the trick is the same, we get tension on our lines to get a good pop, but when we lift off from the water, instead of continuing the same pop rotation, we have to spin the other way.
For that we will push our head down over our front shoulder and kick with our feet towards the sky to bring up our board and get a little bit more inverted while we are doing the front roll.
The challenging part here is to perfectly time the rotation so we stay exactly as long in the air, so as we finish the rotation and the board is back below us, we should be arriving on the water, so the higher we go, the slower we must spin.
A downloop transition is a very easy trick but it’s a great introduction to the kiteloop trick family, something every kiter wants to learn at some point. Starting with a downloop to turn around is not only the safest way to start with the loops, it will bring a new way to turn around without losing any speed and we will create some extra power that will allow us to throw some spray. Downloops are also very useful if we want to perform them while wave riding so we can get some extra speed to catch up on the wave.
It’s very simple. First I recommend turning ourselves to toeside, that way we'll be riding away heelside after the downloop, and we’ll be able to hold better the speed and power that we’ll obtain on the downloop.
Depending on which kite size we have, we will be making a bigger or smaller loop, but it’s important to pull the bar hard to not make it very big. This will make us get a lot of power and will be hard to control.
Once we know this, and we are riding toeside slightly downwind, we'll bring the kite a little bit high to around 11 o'clock so we have enough room to perform the loop. We’ll pull hard with the front hand and we’ll just ride downwind while we feel the most pull from the kite.
As the power is easing off we can finish the turn and we should be riding heelside to the other direction.