Jumping 101

Jumps take a combination of timing, technique, loading, a little strength and speed, and all at the same time. The single thing that killed off big jumps was the advent of bridled kites.  They suddenly allowed us to dump power making it easier to ride upwind without having to “out edge” gusts. The subsequent effect was to remove our need to learn good solid edging skills and holding power. Edging hard is about loading the kite or tensioning the lines. Keeping tension on the lines and loading the kite at the point of take off from the water will let you go big. Maintaining bar pressure whilst in the air will keep you up there longer.

A few tips to jumping better

  1. Get a nice comfortable speed at 90 degrees to the wind. Do not be overpowered, this will not make you go big. Start with the kite at around 11 o’ clock and when ready with a good firm edge, quickly turn the kite back towards 1.30. As the kite goes back, maintain your edge. Its all about edging!
  2. In the short distance between pulling the bar and taking off, you should alter your course with the board to point higher upwind especially in the last 3metres before the take off. Turning sharply to windward on take off, “loads” the lines and gives you more lift by accelerating the kite.
  3. Your kite should be between 12 o’clock and 1 o’clock for take off. Only turn the kite back to as far as around 1.30 before swinging it forward again and into the wind. This will give you nice float or hangtime.
  4. As you begin to descend from the apex of the jump, steer the kite sharply back to your direction of travel and look for where you expect to land. Turning your kite well before you land gives you speed for planing so you land without butt checking in and stalling off the plane. Bend your knees to absorb the impact of landing and point the board in the direction of travel so your fins bite in and you can regain control.

Different types of jumps are accomplished by changing the position in the wind window of where you send the kite from. Higher towards 12 o’clock gives lofty high jumps where you will land near the take off point and jumps initiated from below 10.30 result in a low and long jump with a fast landing. Both types of jumps can be used to achieve different objectives.

Most common problems with jumping are :-

  1. Swinging beneath your kite resulting in a “luff” and “plonk” landing. This happens due to lack of edging or releasing your edge before takeoff and also from not redirecting the kite forward before landing.
  2. Lack of height comes from being tentative about the take off and not loading or not sheeting in keeping the power on. Also being too slow to turn the kite back will not give you good height.
  3. Lack of float or Hangtime This is generally caused by not keeping the bar pulled in to maximum power whilst in the air or not turning the kite to face the wind in mid jump.