The waterstart in kitesurfing is a technique that allows you to navigate easier with a board and a kite. Once you master it you will see how easy it is to practice kitesurf in Tarifa. Of course, to learn the technique it is essential to ask for help from a trusted expert who will give you the confidence and security you need to perform the waterstart well.
What is the waterstart?
Although the waterstart in kitesurfing is not as difficult as other techniques, it does require several practice sessions to master it well. Thanks to this technique, the synchronization of the movements is achieved, as well as a good balance of the body that allows the navigation to be more fluid.
To do this maneuver, you must first learn to have control of the kite on land, as well as to know how to bodydrag. To achieve it, it depends only on you, by enrolling in a kitesurfing course in a specialized center of confidence in Tarifa. In the meantime, here are some useful tips to get you started.
Before starting the waterstart in kitesurfing
Every kitesurfing waterstart professional knows that, in order to learn this maneuver, you first have to do some pre-exercises on the shore, so that when you enter the water, you can put into practice all the expert’s advice, and do a real and complete waterstart.
You have to know that you have to keep your kite in the zenith, as well as float upside down with your legs pointing downwind. To do it well, it is important that you know these exercises that are performed as follows:
- Kite in the zenith: you must release the bar several times, looking at the kite. With the help of your arms and legs, keep your body from twisting or turning.
- How to turn in the kite? For that, you have to bend your legs as much as you can. Then, rotate around the line in the center of the bar, using your legs and arms.
If you want to do these exercises with a board, you have to do it in the following way:
- Move the board around your body, taking care of the position of the sail and always keeping it at the zenith.
- Kite at the zenith with the board floating and set. For this, you must position the kite at 12 o’clock, letting the wind pull it in your favor. In the meantime, stabilize your position with the help of your arms.
Waterstart starting position
If you want to do the waterstart well, you must first float on your back. Now, bend your legs with your feet placed inside the straps. The board should be facing downwind and, of course, the kite in the zenith. This is the initial position to complete your movement and get on the board to sail. But, in addition, you must know which are the first kitesurfing steps in order not to lose your balance.
Board in position
The board must always be positioned in the direction of the wind. To do this, you must concentrate well, sitting on the board. Take your feet to the straps and place them in the direction of the wind.
If the board has a handle, take advantage of it to make it easier to achieve the initial position of the waterstart in kitesurfing. Meanwhile, with your free hand place the kite at 12 o’clock. Every time you want to change hands you must be aware of the kite, and that the board does not float away from you.
Feet in the straps
As always keep your feet inside the straps. Some beginners make the mistake of holding the bar tightly, however, this will only cause an imbalance, as the sail will move more than it should.
To do this correctly you must hold the board by the handle or one of the straps. Now, place your feet on the traps, making sure that the kite is in the zenith. In order to control the movements well you must keep the bar still. Place your first foot opposite to the side of where you are holding the board, and then place the other foot when you achieve stability.
Check your surroundings
Once you have your feet in the straps you should keep the kite in the zenith with the help of both hands. Make sure you have enough space to do the maneuver. Breathe, concentrate and perform the movements safely and firmly. This way, you will be able to get on your board and do the waterstart without complications.
How to waterstart
To learn how to waterstart it is important that you have the help of a professional kitesurfer. This will give you the waterstart step by step in a practical way, because here we teach you all the theory so you can do it the first time.
Enter the water
You must enter and go several meters into the beach. With your dominant hand, grab the board and with the other your kite. Just as you would do in your first kitesurfing session on land. If you want more information on how to get into the water in kitesurfing, ask the instructor of our kitesurfing courses.
It is important that the water covers you sufficiently, because if you make a mistake and fall off the board, you will not hit the ground. In addition, you must make sure that there is no one around you so as not to cause harm to others.
Keep the kite in the neutral zone.
This position prevents the kite from blowing away in the wind. Therefore, you should keep it in the 12 o’clock or zenith position. This waterstart position is one of the first positions they teach you in the kitesurfing course.
We put on the board
Getting on the board seems to be not so difficult, but if you don’t know the technique you can get frustrated for not getting it fast. You must sit in the water, positioning your feet on the board, so that you control the kite with your dominant hand placed on the bar, while the other hand holds the board.
Thanks to the lifebuoy, beginners have a floating aid that will keep them above the water, in the correct position.
Keep your back to the wind
If you do so, you will not lose the correct waterstart kitesurfing position. In addition, this position helps you regain your balance, and you can bend your legs and extend them to regain your starting position.
Bend your knees
This position helps you keep the board close to your body, so that both form a block. However, you must keep in mind that the flexion should not be excessive, otherwise, it will be difficult to extend your legs during the waterstart in kitesurfing.
Moving the kite
The first movement of the kitesurfing waterstart is with the kite. For that, you have to move it in the first instance from 11 o’clock to 3 o’clock, with respect to the wind window. Thanks to this, you will achieve more power, even when the wind intensity is high.
We get up on the board
Once you have ridden a bit with your kite and gained power, it is time to extend the front leg, while the back leg remains semi-flexed.
Keep the board upwind
You should always keep your board upwind when waterstarting in kitesurfing. As you increase your level in this sport, you can adopt other positions, either from downwind to crosswind, or from crosswind to upwind.
I’m Sergio Turégano and I’ve been practicing kite for 10 years. Since I was little I was passionate about the sea and I started to jump into the water with boards since I can remember, I’ve tried body, surf and windsurf but kitesurfing is my passion. I was champion of the Kitesurf TT:R Open World Championship in 2017 and I have been runner-up of Spain in the Junior category. Now I dedicate my life to enjoy kitesurfing as much as I can and teach others how to practice this amazing sport in Tarifa. I love to write about it and share all my tricks, tips and secrets about the kite world.