Body Surfing Print

Body Surfing or Body Dragging 

!Warning, this can be very fun!

Once you have mastered the safety and steering of the kite, you can move on to body dragging.  Body dragging is simply doing Power strokes with the kite, but allowing the kite to pull you, instead of fighting the power of the kite.  Body dragging should be done on your belly, like a penguin, not on your fee and not on your butt.  If you confine your powerstrokes to one side of the wind window you will be practicing the same movements used to get up and ride the kiteboard and you will have a downwind path consistently in that direction.  This is what you want.  To start out it might be easier to practice a bit flying figure eights out in front of you as you are less likely to drop the kite in the water.  After you have mastered figure eights in front of you now it is time to move on to the real goal. 

Pick a side of the wind window and keep the kite on that same side.  Simply put, fly the kite between 12 o’clock and 3 o’clock, or fly it between 12 o’clock and 9 o’clock, but not both at the same time.  You want to keep the kite moving up and down on only one side of the wind window.  Practice on both sides equally.  You can regulate how far from shore you are by switching sides; twenty or so strokes with the kite pulling you out to deeper water then the same number of stokes with the kite pulling you back to shore.  It is best to stay close to shore in case you drop the kite and can't relaunch it.    While you are practicing, concentrate on keep the kite moving through it’s turns, so it doesn’t stall.  You can do this by making wider sweeping turns as the kite will keep more momentum through the turn.  Conversely if you yank hard on the bar and the last second and kite kite makes more of a pivot turn it will loss most if if not all of its speed.  This is extra problematic after the kite has dove down and you are turning it back up, on the way up the kite is working against gravity so if you turn to very quickly it will be very likely to stall and will be slow to climb up toward the top of the window and not generate as much power. 

On the downstroke, pull the bar all the way down to maximum power, and on the up stroke push the bar away slightly to prevent it from stalling on the upstroke.  Also concentrate on the timing of the power that comes from the kite.  While the kite is moving, the amount of power that comes from the kite is changing.  Get used to the timing and amount of power, because the power and timing changes in a consistent way that you will need to anticipate while you are kiteboarding.
    Body dragging can be a lot of fun, but it will take you downwind very quickly.  Make sure you have plenty of downwind space in case something goes wrong and you need to activate one or more of your safety systems.  Also be sure that you have a safe place to come back in to shore down wind.  Kiteboarding Schools which offer boat or waverunner support give you the opportunity to enough this step to the fullest and then quickly shuttle you back upwind, otherwise you get to walk.  Good practice for all the walks of shame yet to come though.