Kiteboarding’s Ten Worst Habits
Here is a list of Kiteboarding’s 10 Worst Habits. This Top Ten is some of the worst things we see daily on kite beaches that make us cringe or shake our heads. Why do people do it, when there is clearly a better way or at least a better looking way to do it? These bad habits were submitted from our pro-team members as some of the worst examples of sloppy or just plain ugly kite technique. There are many more bad habits not on this list to be sure. Here we have listed ten of the worst in no particular order.
1) Poop stance: we have all seen it most of us have done it at one time, but it is preventable. Poop stance is kiting with your butt sticking out and almost dragging on the water. Maybe it is because your harness is too loose and slipping up under your armpits. Maybe your kite is 5 sizes too big, or maybe your arms are just way too short. But damn! It really hurts our eyes, so can you please get some better gear or some training please.
2) Hot launching and moon walking:
Ok we are not making a reference to Michael Jackson here, we are talking about the typical kook launch where the kite is soo overpowered that the kiter runs toward the kite in huge bounding steps on the verge of being lofted. This is typical of someone severely underestimating the kite’s power on launch. If you launch right you don’t have to run towards the kite, and “moon walking” is totally unnecessary. Launching out of control like this is not cool. Maybe you will fall on your face, or maybe you step into my kite and rip a hole in it. So please stay far away from me and my gear if you launch this way.
3) Not Signaling to launch:
Is it really so hard to give a thumbs up? Or maybe raise your board. Giving a clear launch signal is actually vital for your safety as well as those around you. We are not mind readers, so how do we know when you want to launch your kite. It is also not our responsibility to choose when to launch you. If you don’t give a signal, maybe your launch assistant gets bored and throws the kite up and walks away. Don’t blame the other guy if you are not ready, and get worked.
4) Not having A Plan:
Ok so now you are riding, but just not going upwind all the time. So you are going to do some “downwinders”, and may come ashore at some undetermined spot. So don’t just hope for the best without a plan. We see too many people just kiting along and then coming into the beach with no clear plan how they are going to land the kite by themselves. What are you gonna do? Take aim at the nearest person, kiter or not?. Please have a plan before you launch, and try to be self sufficient on landing, it is really not that hard if you know how.
5) Gadget Guy:
Safety is important, and so is having the right safety gear. Carry a spare kite leash too if you want. But some people think that more gear and gadgets is better than less. So they keep adding onto their safety gear. Extra gadgets and added items hanging off their harness are just going to get tangled in the lines. Especially carabiners and snap hooks. These are little traps just waiting to get stuck in your kite lines at the worst possible moment. So keep it simple and try to stay streamlined.
6) Reverse launching: This usually happens when a person is kiting in a new location for the first time, and they do it like they are used to at home. The definition of a reverse launch depends on the location and the site setup. With a true crosswind launch like on Maui kiters should always launch with their kite towards the water, this is where the good wind is and the safest direction to get pulled away from land in a gust. So reverse launching is doing the opposite of what is safe and practical. However in onshore wind locations the other direction may be preferred, according to local conditions. Then reversing the launch puts you onshore with your kite in a bad position. To prevent this you have to watch how the locals launch, and ask them why they do it that way. There are usually good reasons as to why one method is favored. And you would be foolish to do the opposite. Ask an instructor or safe local rider to explain the local launching methods to you.
7) Reverse grip: We have all see the guy with the underhand grip. Probably he was a windsurfer, or waterskier in a former life. But it is not right for kiting. Underhand grips are way too common and they are a bad habit learned from other people with bad habits. Like a virus bad habits like this spread. So unless you have a medical issue that limits your arm/wrist movement, you should be able to hold you kite bar in the normal way. Hands over the top kangaroo style. It is better for your brain, and for proper bar function too.
8) Crossed grip: Why would you hold the left bar with the right hand?” or vice versa?
This phenomenon tends to be regionalized to specific groups. It serves no practical function in fact it can have negative consequences when quick reflexes are needed. Like accidentally un-hooking, or a kitemare line break. When split seconds count you need to have technique and reflexive training on your side. But when you see people holding their kite on a launch with their front hand on the back of their bar, and their board in their back hand. You know that they are either self-taught or just copied their buddy who tried to teach them. This one really hurts the eyes for instructors and experienced riders. *The upside is that when you see someone trying to lunch like this, you can take it as a red flag warning so you to get out of their way, and to expect that a mishap will likely occur. Sadly once a kiter starts down this dark path, chances are they cannot be rehabilitated.
9) Using board Leash:
It is amazing and disturbing to me that some people still do this. There are so many reasons to not use a kiteboard leash, and you need go no further than a “Google search of kiteboard leashes” to know why. But some people are still too afraid (or ignorant) to stop using their board leash. Sometimes these people know that they shouldn’t do it, but they cannot give it up. Like a smoker denying the known health consequences. You also see some people “kindsa-sorta” using the leash. The guys with the reel-type leash still attached to their harness, but they say “I don’t use it anymore”, or “I only use it occasionally when I need to”. Usually these guys were never trained to “not need one”. These days most beginner kiters are taught to upwind bodydrag on their first day. If you have good technique you don’t need a leash. Better yet always have a kite buddy around to help you get a board back. Again anytime you see a board leash, it is a red flag to stay far away from that person, and maybe you shouldn’t even launch them (for their own safety).
10) Talking During a launch: In Golf you would never talk to someone during a their back swing. When a person is fully concentrated and committed to taking the shot, there is nothing you can say that will not detract from their shot. Same in kiteboarding. Way too may people try to talk or shout advice to people in the process of launching. For the most part this is just noise. Or worse you could distract them just enough so they look at you instead of their kite, then have an accident caused by you.
If you want to chat or give someone some tips, the time to do that is well before they are actively launching. Most people appreciate a tip or two now and again, but half a dozen people shouting stuff at a stressed out person launching a kite is a recipe for disaster.
Better to hold your comments for later. Pick your moments when you talk to a kiter. And try not to interrupt their launch, or you could be the cause of an accident.
Most of our pro-team agrees that bad habits like these can sometimes be broken, But it takes concentrated effort and lots discipline to overcome some of them. The first step is recognizing that you have a bad habit.