You love kitesurfing and you're now riding a foil... You have stopped bunny hopping through the water... it's time to hone those skills and sort out your kitesurfing foil technique.
Remember, the faster you ride, the more stable the foil becomes. Also consider that top speed does depend on your foil, but overall speed is your friend especially in maneuvers.
Now you are up and riding your foil you are probably thinking about a light wind kite.
You have two options depending on your style of riding and type of foil:
- Zero or 1 Strut Inflatable
If you just want to cruise up and down the beach and have a lower aspect freeride foil then a kite like the North Mono is good. It works amazing on the foil, with a 9m kite giving a wind range of 8-20 knts and the 12m 7-15knts.
Advantages – This is a great power for size, really maneuverable, easy relaunch, it stays in the air well, it is lightweight, and also an awesome wave kite and will help improve you kitesurfing foil technique.
Disadvantages – Difficult to foil out of maneuvers, it has a low top speed and is not amazing upwind.
- Foil Kite
If you are riding a higher aspect race type foil then you will need a foil kite to match.
The Peter Lynn Aero is a perfect kite which is extremely responsive in foil kite terms. The 14m works from 7-20knts giving great speed and angles.
Advantages – Much better for maneuvers, higher speed, great angles upwind and downwind, nice as a light wind boosting machine on the TT from 12knts.
Disadvantages – difficult relaunch, swimming in, price.
We recommend using a 22m lines on inflatables and 18m on foil kites (which, when you consider the bridle, works out at about 22m), as this will provide a better precision control and allow you to position the kite right where you want it in the window.
As with kiting upwind, the key to riding fast and in control downwind is to get in the groove.
- The Bear Away
The hardest part is moving from upwind to downwind without gaining too much lift. Start by bringing the kite towards 1 or 11 while you are riding upwind and lowering the ride height of the foil.
Dive the kite hard pulling in on the bar while pushing on the front foot to bear away.
Commitment is absolutely needed!
- Kite Low and in front
Due to the amount of apparent wind, you will generate, riding downwind is very similar to going upwind. Make sure that you keep the kite low, sheeted in and front of you. Bear away in the gusts and keep your head up in the lulls to control your speed.
Keep pushing hard on your front foot with your hips back slightly to stay in the zone. If the kite comes up too high you will crash!
- Heading Up
You’ve made it downwind, now it’s time to ride upwind.
Gently bring the kite up, sheeting out whilst transitioning your weight forward to keep the foil down. Slowly bring the kite down towards the edge of the window. Keep sheeting out while pointing up and leaning over into your upwind stance.
Going downwind is all about getting the apparent wind up so that you can go as deep and fast as possible. Commit to it and don’t hold back.
- Your foil keeps breaking the surface
Your kite is too high, get the kite low and turn the speed on.
- You can’t bear away
Become more aggressive bringing the kite down and really push on your front foot.
- You can’t head back up
Sheet out more and turn quicker while bringing kite down.
Reaching Across the Wind
Foiling across the wind is actually the hardest point of sail to ride as its hard to control the speed and develop your kitesurfing foil technique. The reason is you cannot bear away to lose power or send the kite to the edge of the window by pushing harder. Both actions will simply increase your speed and if you bring the kite up the foil will come out and bang. There are specific reaching foils that are pretty small and crazy fast.
- Kite Low
Keep the kite quite low, between 20 and 40 degrees from the water. This enables you to drive the kite forward and direct the power from the kite into the foil.
If the kite is too high the lift from the kite will bring the foil too high causing it to break the surface.
- Driving the Foil
With the kite low in the window, you can lean over and push off the foil. Keep the foil right below the surface, with your hips forward and push with your front or back foot to control how far the kite flies forward in the window. The more you are able to push the greater lift you will generate off the foil and the quicker you will go.
- Lock in your stance
Look where you are going, keep your hips and shoulders locked in pointing upwind. Keep the bar and kite steady, as long as you don’t make any wobbles through the foil you will stay in the zone and be ripping upwind!
The more power you can hold the faster you will rip upwind.
- The foil keeps breaking the surface
Your kite is too high, move it lower so you can lean against the kite and push more power through your legs.
- Kite wants to pull you upright
Sheet out on the bar.
- Kite loses power
You have pushed the kite too far forward in the window. Sheet in on the bar and ease off on your back leg so you bear away slightly and keep the speed on.
If you want a perfect place to learn or improve your kitesurf foiling technique then Greece is a perfect spot due to the flat water.
If you want to visualize these techniques then take a look at a video over at https://www.progression.me/kitefoiling/