This is a new series of blog posts that aims to inspire you to try out new tricks, starting from the core tricks we all learn as intermediate kiteboarders. I’m going to jump in with, quite possibly, the most used tricks that every kiteboarder does over and over every session – aerial transitions. However good you get, jumping in the air and landing and riding off at speed in the opposite direction, is a great feeling and there is an unlimited array of different elements to add to keep things interesting.
Obviously to start you need to be able to do a good simply aerial transition. Its far from trivial when you first start but something that can be attempted by anyone who is able to the most basic of jumps.
Next, you can start building on this foundation – let’s look at 5 different types of techniques you can add before we look at mixing them all together…
The first thing you’ll probably add is a back or forward roll. Obviously, you need to be able to perform this heading along normally before trying them with a transition through it’s surprisingly easy to try with a transition even if you haven’t got them 100%.
Back rolls are probably the easier option to try first as you can use less aggressive kite movements and attempt them when less powered up.
With the front roll, it’s easy to over rotate, so be prepared to be aggressive with the kite as you exit the rotation, so you get pulled out and into the new direction with speed.
Next up is grabs, the easiest way to add some style to any trick and transitions are no exception. It unlikely you’ll add a grab to straight jump transitions, maybe a simple tail grab but grabs really come into their own when mixed in with rotations or some of the other techniques explained below.
Front Roll Transition with a Nose Grab
Back Roll Transition with a Lien Grab
Unsure of all the different grabs possible? Check out our post to learn all the grabbing possibilities.
Stance – Toeside or blind
Launching from toeside or blind is a great way to add extra momentum to your rotational transitions. It’s like winding up a clock, twisting your body that extra 180 degrees and then releasing into your spin.
Toeside front roll transitions feel great – throw in a grab for good measure!
Front Roll transition from toeside with a Nose Grab
Riding toeside is easier than riding blind, so a more obvious place to start but both offer great launching options.
Landing to toeside – a common addition and something you can try from a jump transition or handy when you slightly underrotate your front roll.
Looping the kite
Using a loop of the kite can either help to give you extra power on the exit to stop you sinking or be used as part of the trick for an extra adrenaline boost.
Downloop after landing
The easiest way to start is by looping the kite once you land – send the kite forward and round to stop the kite stalling and you losing power. Just be sure to point your board downwind if the power is more than you can handle.
Kiteloop in the air
These will give you a nice kick during the second part of the trick, looping the kite just after the apex of the jump as you start to descend and are ready to head in the new direction. The front roll kite loop transition is a popular first option with the kites power pulling you out of the forward rotation and allow you to ride off in the new direction with speed.
Hand & Board Drags
Our final addition is the dragging your hand or the tip of your board in the water through the transition.
The easiest place to start is with a hand drag, through a backroll transition. This works well as you can use your front hand to pivot around, and your back hand soon becomes your new front hand allowing you to redirect the kite for riding off in the new direction.
Back Roll Transition with a handplant
The Dark Slide
Kiters love the dark slide – it’s a transition that you can ride into at full speed and then use the drag from your tail of the board to stay balanced against the power of the kite and whip around a huge arc. The timing of board and kite is crucial and once you have it nailed, there is plenty of opportunities to add in a rotation or two for good measure!
This clip of Marc Jacobs show just how insane this trick can be:
Here’s one of my favourite transition performed by the ever stylish Bas Koole – combining multiple rotations, inverts, grabs and a sneaky loop of the kite at the end to keep things moving!
Inverted Double Back Roll transition with a grab
Also check out the Progression Trick Wheel Transitions video – it’s not all jump transitions, there are some carves in there to mix it up but hopefully it will give you some ideas for your next session:
I’d love to hear what your favourite transitions are?
Let me know in the comments why that special combination of grabs and rotations does it for you!