Learning the correct motion and technique for any sort of jump, starts with learning to pop. 2 x British Champion, George Dufty, runs you through the do’s and dont’s from the basics…
‘Pop’ helps a rider jump off the water without using the kite very much for lift – just like a wakeboarder at a cable park.
Before trying to get pop, first make sure you’re comfortable riding upwind, are able to perform basic transitions, can ride toeside and have the ability to direct yourself accurately on your board.
Pop is a key building block to be able to throw down lots more complicated moves and it starts with the simple ollie. So trying that first is good training and slightly less complicated, lower impact and the best building block to a loaded pop.
You should be trying new tricks in conditions that you feel comfortably powered in; conditions that you’re happy to go into learning something new with full commitment.
You’ll find this technique across all sports and the technique is the same from snowboarding to skating and kiting, so it can become a very similar movement.
- Approach the trick with comfortable speed and riding with power
- Position your kite at 45 degrees in the wind window or a little higher to generate enough lift to help you leave the water.
- Ride across the wind with the board flat and both knees slightly bent as if you were going to do a bunny hop on land.
- Shift your weight onto your back leg.
- Quickly lift your front leg and push off from the water with your back foot. Push through the tail of the board and then bring your rear leg up to your front leg, levelling out your board.
- As you take-off sheet the bar in for extra lift and as you leave the water tense your core and bring your legs up.
- To land extend both legs down evenly for a solid landing.
With this dialled, loaded pop is going to become a lot easier as you will get a clean release from the water.
Here are the basics wrapped up into a tighter description:
In simple terms you have to ride with good speed with your kite at around 45 degrees, ease off your edge and ride towards the kite and as you do this the kite will drop back in the wind widow. Then steer the board back upwind hard and you’ll reach the point where you can’t go any further. At that exact moment you should stomp on your back foot and take-off. As you take off bring the bar in for extra lift. This should leave you with a slightly floaty little pop.
THE LOADED POP
While we’re talking about pop, we might as well look at the more aggressive pop for bigger tricks, so you can see how it all links up:
- Come into the trick with comfortable planing speed. Speed is your friend: the faster you go the easer it becomes, but remaining in control is key.
- Bear off slightly towards the wind and then edge hard upwind. You should try to carve an ‘S’ shape in the water.
- Push hard: as you edge into the wind make sure you are using the back quarter of the board under your rear heel and keep you bum nice and low. Really try to edge as far and as hard into wind as you can.
- You can practice edging hard up into wind when you’re just riding along. You should find you will either slow down to a stop or, if done correctly, you’ll get your first pop.
- This will feel different to the ollie because this time the kite will be pulling so it is even more important to keep that core tight and your legs bent to stay as stable as possible.
- In the air you should be spotting your landing and you should aim to land riding across the wind.
- Good speed, good power.
- Bear off the wind.
- Edge hard up into the wind.
- Push through your back foot and as you feel the most power built up – do your ollie.
- Pull the bar in on take-off to maximise pop and this will also keep you in the air longer and give you a more controlled flight.
- Bring your legs in front of you with a tense core
- Spot your landing and bend your knees, pointing the board across the wind for a smooth landing.
- Re-engage your edge and ride away.
The most common mistake is not having enough speed or power.
This is a very easy building block to nail, but if you’re struggling for speed or are underpowered you will find it very difficult to find the right release.
Rotation in the air: go back to your ollie and make sure you have that nailed comfortably and with stability. Make sure when you release you are looking where you are going.
Finally, if you move the kite up as you are in the air you can start to front roll without wanting to, so try to keep the kite below 11 or 1 (depending on which way you’re travelling) as this will help with the control in the air and a more correct pop.
Not getting enough float / air? You can get very nice controlled pops with the correct timing of sheeting the bar in. As you reach the most tensioned moment before take-off, bring that bar in for max power which in turn will give you a stronger edge, more power and a better pop.