If you saw the cover of our winter 2020 issue, you know Olivia Jenkins charges no matter the size! The newest member of the Duotone teams lives on the North Shore of Maui and has world-class breaks right on her doorstep as well as steps up the the plate and rips on the biggest days at Jaws. The guys at Duotone caught up with her to learn a little bit more.
Hi Olivia, what is your favorite move to perform in the waves?
My favorite move out on the water when I’m wave riding is a frontside top turn. First of all, I’m always looking to improve on my frontside top turns, I’m looking to go more vertical or throw more power and spray into these turns. When I do get a really good frontside top turn it feels really great. I’m pretty much always riding exclusively right-hand waves in Maui so I’m always riding frontside, so that’s why I choose a frontside top turn over a backside one. I think that a frontside top turn is a move that most wave riders are trying to perfect and it looks really beautiful in photos and video when you get a really nice turn!
What are the challenges to perform it well?
There are definitely some challenges when learning the frontside top turn. I would say learning how to read waves would be the first thing that you should learn how to do. When performing a front side top turn you want to find the section of the wave that has the most power, you don’t want to perform the move on the shoulder of a wave. You need to look for the pocket of the wave, where it’s peeling and do the frontside top turn at this point. Secondly, you need to learn how to steer your kite in the waves. A lot of people think that when you are kitesurfing you can just move your board and do bottom turns like your regular surfing. But having the kite adds an extra component to riding in the waves. Depending on the wind direction, whether it’s side shore, offshore or onshore, you are moving your kite differently and using the kite to generate speed to take into your top turn. I think learning these two things will help you master your frontside top turns.
When you were learning, was there a Eureka moment where something clicked?
It really clicked by observing other riders at my home spot and what they would be doing when they did a really pretty top turn. For me when I was learning I found my kite would always be in the wrong spot, I would want to go in one direction but the kite would be pulling me in a different direction and I couldn’t figure out how to change this, but from watching others around me in the line up I began to make that connection of where to put my kite during the turn. This was such an important step for me. That’s why I think the Duotone Academy App is such a cool resource to have, as people who may not have as many riders around to watch, can go onto the Academy App and be able to watch people over and over and be able to fix the little problems they maybe have when trying to master their turns.
What should people do to prepare before this move?
I think before someone starts to try turns in the waves, it’s very important to get as comfortable as possible on a surfboard in general. It’s important to learn how to do very quick water starts on the surfboard, how to do transitions really well and how to switch your feet really fast. I think once you are able to get really comfortable on the board that’s when you really start to try to perfect your top turns.
What trick from the Academy App should everyone try?
I think if you are looking to improve your wave riding or just getting into it, the video in the Academy App called kitesurfing in waves is a really important one to watch. Something I think everyone needs to learn when wavering is what to do with your kite. It’s quite a difficult topic, you move your kite differently in different conditions. If it’s offshore for example you move your kite less than if you are riding in onshore conditions, so i think this video covers the major topics such as steering your kite in certain wind directions and this is really important to riding waves effectively. I think the Duotone Academy App is such a cool resource for everyone from beginner to advanced riders, It’s really awesome to be able to watch the videos over and over and make the neural connections to figure out what you should be doing. I have been kitesurfing for so many years but I found myself on the Duotone Academy App just this last summer. There were no waves and I decided to hop on my strapless freestyle board. I was trying to figure out how to do a front roll. I did some many attempts and I kept falling, I didn’t really know what I was doing wrong. I then went on the App and it was cool to see the step by step stages of what I needed to do to figure out this trick. I started to make the connections in my brain of where I needed to out my feet and things like what I needed to do with my arms throughout the rotation and it was really awesome to have this resource to be able to figure out this trick. I also have a lot of friends who are learning how to kite and every time they have something they are stuck on, for example, a friend couldn’t figure how to make her turns, I referred her to the app to go and watch the transition videos. It’s so much easier than me trying to explain as she can watch someone infant of her do it over and over again. It’s such a cool concept, I’m really stoked about it.
What move do you want to learn next?
I would say the next thing for me to work on is to get more vertical in my top turns, both frontside and backside. When I’m going in for my turns I’m coming in at more of a 45-degree angle. I’m trying to get more board more top to bottom with more pivot around the lip. I’m slowly but surely figuring this out, but this is something I want to master.
This article first appeared on the Duotone website here.