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Erin Swain: Lessons for Self-Sufficient Riders?

Erin Swain has been writing about her experiences learning to kiteboard. We will continue to bring you updates from Erin about her experiences throughout the season. You can follow Erin’s blog at http://www.thekiteboarder.com/tag/erin-swain/

Will a lesson benefit a Self Sufficient Rider??  Kite Club Hatteras had my answer…

With a new 9M Epic Renegade and a borrowed Aggression kiteboard, I was curious to see what a lesson could do for my progress.  I headed down to Avon to meet up with a Bulgarian and his girlfriend.  They run a kite school and I had met them up at Jockeys Ridge a couple weeks prior to this meeting.

Hristo is the one that is going to take me out for a lesson.  He is IKO certified, which is big in Europe.  I am excited and tell him that all I can do is stay upwind, and I just started trying the slide turn on my heel edge as to not sink in the water.  I have successfully performed the slide turn, but not every attempt.

We go to an out of the way spot somewhere near Avon.  The wind is not as strong as forecasted, but he tells my to pump up my 9M anyways.  Out in the water, I pop up a few times, but the wind is light and I think this session is a waste of time.  Then Hristo comes out in the water and says, “you want to work on kite loops?”

Terrified of a kite loop, I said no way!  Lets go over back rolls.  I hear this is the most simple trick to execute as a beginner, so that is what I want to try.  Hristo stands next to me and takes the board from me.  He tells me to act as if I am going to do a back roll by standing and simply spinning in the water.  My first try was embarrassing.  I spun around, and when I did a complete 360, the lines were crossed and I went to move the kite but my kite slammed into the water leading edge first.

Hristo insisted I try looping the kite and demonstrated it for me. He gave me the kite and reminded me to always bring it to 12 o’clock before attempting a loop. It reminded me of my first body drags, which were incredibly fun!  This is really a fun exercise!  I wouldn’t have laughed so hard and had so much fun in light winds if Hristo had not been instructing me.

After  mastering kiteloops with a spin in both directions, Hristo asked if I wanted to learn how to jump.  These were all technique only.  I did not attempt any with the board on.  He just wanted me to understand the principles of what the kite was doing.

He explained about holding down the bar all the way to keep power when diving the kite.  Then he showed me to keep the bar down and almost as soon as the kite was diving one way, to turn it with as much force in the other direction, slowly pushing the bar out to keep tension on the lines.  Once the kite reached 12 o’ clock and the bar is out, you can quickly pull down on the bar, which lifts you out of the water.

As I watched Hristo perform the popping technique, I thought this looks easy.  In actuality, its not as easy.  I was having trouble keeping the bar powered, turning fast, and letting the bar slide out.  I did manage to get a lift a few times, but definitely need to spend a lot more time flying the kite and practicing this technique.

He gave me the board back and told me to pop up toe-side since I had mentioned that was what I wanted to learn as well.  I did what he instructed and popped up toe-side, but managed to sink my board pretty quickly.  He helped me by explaining body position, leaving one hand on the bar, and getting my edge established.

All in all, this was the perfect way to spend a light wind session!  I can’t believe Kite Club Hatteras kite school had me doing kite loops, toe-side, and jumping…Oh my!  I would highly recommend any beginner re-visit lessons to have a progressive session.

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