How can you go upwind to your board, if your leash brakes?
I got plenty of flames about this technique, but I used it VERY
SUCCESSFULLY for a few months until I bought a new leash (for a
while, it was nice actually to get separated from the board, as you
could try some really radical manuevers without having to worry about
the board slingshotting back and taggin you in yer melon!) However, I
recommend a leash at ALL TIMES during kiteboarding. This description
is intended to be used for instances you get separated from your
board, with the board UPWIND of you.
To restate, you CAN go back upwind without your board, using only
To do this:
1. You must have been fully powered up on the board, so when you
are 'on your body' you'll have sufficient pull to flow through the
water. If the wind is too light, or your kite too small, you wont be
able to generate enough flow force against your body to go upwind, or
even hold your position.
2. Stay harnessed in, angle your body almost horizontal and into the
direction of movement (like pointing your body upwind like you point
your board upwind), and use your windward arm and hand to guide you
upwind, and your free arm to control the kitebar. Keep the kite where
you would normally keep it while kiteboarding...on the edge of the
window. The more efficient you do this, the better upwind you will
go. Also, the board will be getting blown downwind by the wind and
chop, making it much easier.
3. Make sure you know where the board is, and try to keep an eye on
it (you'll be low in the water so it can be hard to see). Do one
large tack out, and then one large tack back. The further upwind the
board is, the bigger the tacks need to be. The first time I did this,
I got right back to the board, and couldn't believe how easy it was!
4. Now if the wind drops off and/or the board lands upside down, then
it can be very difficult to get back to the board. It can also be
super hard to get back if the wind picks up and you are overpowered.
When you change tack directions, the kite will tend to try to pull
you downwind until you are going the opposite direction, and you can
lose a bunch of ground, so try your hardest to keep the transition as
smooth as possible, and do only one if possible.
5. Usually, the board lands only a few feet or yards upwind (if
upwind at all) and is very easy to get to (takes about 30 seconds max
for most board retrievals. I've had a few air wipeouts where the
board gets yanked off my feet at the beginning of a jump, and I end
up about 30-40 yards downwind...those take about 2 minutes to get
back to the board.
This info is to help in case you become SEPARATED from your board. I
strongly recommend a leash at all times, as there will be one or two
times you just can't get back to the board if you ride all the time
without a leash. And it could be a time you are right in front of
that rock jetty, pier, cliffs, etc. But odds are, if you do become
separated from your board, you will be able to get back to it
following the techniques above. If not, atleast you tried!