Over the past few years more and more intermediate level kiters have been venturing into large surf. The ease of use and power of the latest kite technology allows many kiters to get out in waves that they would never consider paddling out into. For those just getting acquainted with kiting in big waves, the following five skills are essential for tackling large surf:
JUMPING: Getting out in large surf for the first time requires precision jumping skills. You need the ability to jump at anytime and need to be able to control your height and landing and accelerate to get over the next wave with confidence
CHICKEN JIBE: You have to know when to turn and run, and when you choose to run, your footwork has to be airtight. Getting mowed down after a botched chicken jibe is no fun and is potentially dangerous.
SWIMMING: Kiting in large waves means that you have to be prepared to use your release and let your kite go. You need to be relaxed and comfortable with swimming in the lineup while getting pounded by large waves. When sizing up waves, if you don’t think you’d be able to comfortably swim in them, don’t go out.
KITE CONTROL and PLACEMENT: You need to have your kite control absolutely wired, know where to place it when you’re getting held down, and how to maintain line tension to keep the kite in the sky.
ETIQUETTE: Getting in someone’s way and potentially eliminating their options of escape in overhead waves is inexcusable. In large surf, etiquette goes beyond courtesy and becomes a safety issue. Taking the time to learn the rules and having the confidence to abide by them is critical in large waves.