What’s the main reason we are addicted to kitesurfing? To speak in behalf of most kiters, the answer is very simple: Because it’s fun! But nearly everyone who spent some time kiting already may have experienced days on the water that have been … let’s call it modest. Wether you see no progress anymore, you are totally stuck with a trick which makes you angry, you can’t cope with the conditions or you even get bored of kitesurfing … sometimes it’s like that.
No worries – this is nothing unusual! I experienced it by myself and I know a lot of people who also went through the one or other phase. And yes, I still have these days from time to time. So I collected some tips and tricks which – no matter why it has dropped – may help to push the fun level on the water up again. Check out if they work for you!
How to pimp your kitesessions
Go for something new
At the beginning of a kite career every transition you manage feels super exciting. Then, once you’ve reached a certain skill level, it’s easy to find yourself in a deadlocked situation. Kitesurfing doesn’t thrill you anymore, you feel no desire to go for a session. Ok, you can just make a break and wait till you feel motivated again. Anyway, in the end it’s your own responsibility to break this vicious circle! What can you do? Watch other riders, be inspired by kitevideos or go through books like the Kiteboarding Tricktionary, pick out one or two new tricks you want to learn – and then go for it! No excuses, just commitment. Yes, it’s pretty sure that you will crash … once or more often. Don’t forget: No pain, no gain. No guts, no glory. It’s part of the game.
But: If you are a super ambitious person (like me), then working on new tricks may be a double-edged sword. Why? Cause if you set yourself under pressure, nothing will work anymore.
I have always some tricks in my mind that I want to do and that I am currently working on. Simultaneous. Sometimes I go for a session which ends up in a total mess, and it’s my own fault: I start with one trick, then I notice that maybe the wind is too strong/gusty or the water too choppy for this one … so what I do? I go over to the next trick. When I land it, this motivates me to do it higher, faster, to pop harder … Whatever, I absolutely want to do it, so I set myself under pressure – and here we have the problem.
After some heavy crashes when I am totally frustrated and exhausted I try the next move. No wonder that this doesn’t work and in the end I leave the water without a smile, all my bones hurt and it feels like I didn’t make any progress. Fact is: My strategy doesn’t work at all.
So after my little kite-soulstrip here is another point, which is very important if you are too dogged (like me):
Relax … (and grab or tweak)
If you are not a competition rider, be honest to yourself: What forces you to essentially land this certain trick and let it drive you crazy? Nothing, it’s just in your mind. Don’t get me wrong – being ambitious is positive, but being it too much is not good for your mental balance. I know what I am talking of. So if you are stuck with a trick, try to let it go (at least for a certain time) and concentrate on what’s most important: The freedom of kitesurfing, the amazing view around you, the feeling of gliding over water, being one with the elements. Ommm …
Ok, if you can’t waive the feeling to improve, here’s your challenge: Why don’t you concentrate on the tricks you already know and try to make them more stylish? Grabbing the board or tweaking (extend one of your legs and bend up the other one) is not a lot of effort – but adds a lot of extra style to every move. You feel too stiff for grabs? Then Yoga may be helpful (read about it in these article about no-wind-activities).
Don’t care about the others
You feel ashamed cause there are a lot of really good riders on the spot and your level is much lower? Always remember: You don’t go out for the others – you go for your own pleasure, and this is the only thing that’s important. No one cares if you do handle passes or not. And: All the pro riders had to learn their tricks and go through the different stages of kitesurfing too. Try to change your point of view and allow yourself to be inspired by their moves and style!
Also you should get conscious that even the pros have bad days and sessions where nothing works. Yes, it’s true. Read more about it in this interview with North team rider Julia Castro.
Switch your gear
Sometimes it helps to try another way of kitesurfing. Which means: If you are bored of riding your twintip – why don’t you take a surfboard or a hydrofoil or try to ride a board with boots? For sure you can try one of these boards at a kitestation or from a friend. Especially strapless kitesurfing or riding a foilboard feels totally different to going with a twintip – some say, it’s like a different kind of sport. And then, if you get hooked, maybe buy yourself a new toy … cause new equipment can act as a great motivator.
A session with friends
Riding with the best kitebuddies can be so much fun! Doing stupid jokes on the water, try nonsense-tricks, rate your crashes or motivate and support each other whilst trying something new … whatever you do, kiting with your besties will bring back the smile on your face, that’s for sure. You can also exchange your equipment with your friends for a session – it’s valuable experience to ride with different kites and boards, and it’s interesting to feel how other gear works.
Get into the groove
Some say: No way! – but since I tried it for the first time, I love to ride with music. Not always, but from time to time. Going for a session with my waterproof mp3-player and my favourite songs makes me smile and pushes me a lot (in a positive way). Sometimes it even feels like I’m in my own little kitemovie! Yes, I also sing on the water, just cause it’s fun!
It may be that riding with music makes it harder to concentrate on the water – for me this is not the case, but everyone is different. Just give it a try! But be careful: Especially on very crowded spots it can be dangerous not to hear what’s going on around you. So if there are a lot of kiters etc. on the water, I’d rather go without music.
Try different conditions
If you usually go kiting in warm, sunny weather, it’s easy to break through your kite-routine: If you have the possibility, you should dare to rough conditions. Put on a thick wetsuit or a drysuit and go for it! Kitesurfing in harsh weather (no thunderstorms please!) can be a thrilling, adventurous experience, cause you lern to know nature from a completely different side. Probably you might not be able to do the same tricks you do under lab conditions. But the feeling after a session like this is priceless, you will feel like a winner. And you will learn to really appreciate the good conditions again!
How about you? How do you pimp your kitesessions to make them more fun? I’m curious to know your strategies 😉