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Upwind bodydragging

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Created by bramber 3 months ago, 19 Feb 2018
bramber
VIC, 35 posts
19 Feb 2018 12:33PM
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This is really embarrassing to admit, considering how long Ive been kitesurfing, but there are times when i still struggle to body drag upwind to retrieve the board.

Is there some magic trick or method that im overlooking? Any tips?

cbulota
WA, 1126 posts
19 Feb 2018 10:06AM
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Hi Bramber, here is a copy/paste from my post in a thread regarding the same question from 4 years ago. You can read other comments as well here: www.seabreeze.com.au/forums/Kitesurfing/General/UPWIND-BODY-DRAGGING?page=1

If I can bring some key points from an instructor point of view. We teach daily in rough waters and strong winds i.e. some of the most difficult conditions to learn this skill...so here are the tips I found the most effective for students. (sorry if some have already been mentioned):

-You need to relax as much as possible and focus at the task in hand. As soon as you loose your board and you know it's behind you, don't turn around and start looking for it just yet, this will just have you loose precious ground and time...so start body dragging upwind ASAP.

-By far the most common mistake is to angle your body too far upwind in the water. This especially happens when people stress too much and are looking directly upwind and swimming at their board thinking they will get there quicker...NOT!

If you do this you will essentially body drag DOWNWIND. When and if you get the correct angle (in the superman position) you will feel the water pressuring equally along your entire body. If you feel the pressure only on your arm and chest and not in the lower body, you are pointing too far upwind, and thus going downwind.

-When you get it right you should instantly feel your speed increasing and more power in the kite (you're creating what we call apparent wind), that's a really good sign!

-Another common mistake is to move the kite too much up and down in the wind window, this usually powers the kite up and sends you off-course and further downwind. Keep your kite stable around 10:30 and 1:30. Always avoid keeping your kite at 12.

-If you had a big crash which also involves a difficult/long kite relaunch you will need to prepare for a longer recovery, which means you will have to start by doing 30-45 seconds tacks before changing direction. If you know the board isn't that far upwind, then usually 10-20 seconds tacks will do the trick. Doing tacks that are too long, you run the risk of completely loosing sight of your board. Doing tacks that are too short will typically make you loose ground due to frequent direction change. When you change direction, push the bar out completely and don't move the kite too fast across the window, otherwise you will loose the ground you just made.

-You typically don't need a lot of power to make good ground upwind, but this depends on a lot of factors. Current direction vs wind direction is a big one. If you body drag upwind directly against the current you will need little power to perform very well, you'll have heaps of speed without much effort...BUT If the current is dragging you more downwind, you will need a lot more power in the kite and speed with your body to prevent going downwind, this is when most people loose the most ground, simply because they're not going fast enough to counteract the effect of the current. This is especially true when the current is very strong.

For example, where we teach, you only have to pull the bar half way in on the left side (against the current) but when coming back towards the shore on the right side, you have to pull the bar nearly all the way in if you don't wanna loose ground.

-There's typically one side that's gonna feel and perform better when you body drag upwind. Always start going on that side first (your ''good side'') as you are more likely to make up the most ground there. If in doubt go for a bit longer before you change direction, even if you overshoot the board a bit and end up going downwind to get it back.

-The best way to measure your performance when you get out there and practice is to enter the water from a fixed point from the beach (Leave your board on the beach as a marker) you should be able to at least get out 50 meters and come back to the same point you left from. If you loose ground there is improvement to be made. If you can come back further upwind than where you left from you'll probably never struggle with board recovery again:)

-If you are in rough waters and strong wind, keep the kite slightly higher and put more power on the bar to speed up, this will lift your head a bit further above the surface and you'll avoid getting blinded by the water and also avoid drinking the whole ocean...

Christian

bramber
VIC, 35 posts
19 Feb 2018 9:30PM
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Thanks christian these are great tips that will hopefully end the shame!!

NickT
WA, 1094 posts
25 Feb 2018 7:14PM
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Like Christian said, or just get boots!

Kit3kat
QLD, 131 posts
17 Mar 2018 12:32PM
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you don't need to be able to go upwind. You just need to be able to drift less downwind than your board.

Imho the best failsafe method is to keep your body stiff as hell, put your arm out like superman, keep half of your face in the water, close your eyes, hold your breath and then just drag for like 20-30 seconds. Should be enough for your board to go past you downwind and then you just drag downwind towards it.

Make sure kite is not too low in the window as you need some lift to reduce your own weight.

Gilly3
QLD, 665 posts
17 Mar 2018 2:34PM
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Select to expand quote
Kit3kat said..
you don't need to be able to go upwind. You just need to be able to drift less downwind than your board.



So u think that the wind has control of ur drifting board?....better think again

Care to explain how ur method works when ya kiting in wind against tide conditions???

Richoa
NSW, 367 posts
17 Mar 2018 8:24PM
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Select to expand quote
Gilly3 said..

Kit3kat said..
you don't need to be able to go upwind. You just need to be able to drift less downwind than your board.




So u think that the wind has control of ur drifting board?....better think again

Care to explain how ur method works when ya kiting in wind against tide conditions???


For sure ive had situations where board is going out to sea aganst the wind, im only new but dragging to a board in the lake or in coming tide are totally different to getting a board in anout going current or rip

Gilly3
QLD, 665 posts
18 Mar 2018 8:21AM
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Select to expand quote
Richoa said..

Gilly3 said..


Kit3kat said..
you don't need to be able to go upwind. You just need to be able to drift less downwind than your board.





So u think that the wind has control of ur drifting board?....better think again

Care to explain how ur method works when ya kiting in wind against tide conditions???



For sure ive had situations where board is going out to sea aganst the wind, im only new but dragging to a board in the lake or in coming tide are totally different to getting a board in anout going current or rip



No difference Rich, it just takes less of an effort in non tidal conditions....

if u crash out in a lake, kite goes down and u need to relaunch, u still need to kite upwind to retrieve ur board

if the wind and the tide are running the same way, i would look for another spot....unless its blowing 25-30knts

28 Mar 2018 8:26PM
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Easy tip for body dragging up wind to your board is dont rush body drag for 20 seconds before changing directions (that means count to 30 at least each tack ) and its usually down wind of you ,just remember every time you change direction you go back down wind a bit

Kit3kat
QLD, 131 posts
31 Mar 2018 11:15PM
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i would very much doubt that your board drifts out to see while you drift towards the shore.

The board gets more than enough beating from the waves downwind to the shore. Anything else is some weather anomaly shenanigans where you shouldnt be kiting to begin with.

SibboV1
363 posts
1 Apr 2018 7:56AM
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Select to expand quote
Kit3kat said..
i would very much doubt that your board drifts out to see while you drift towards the shore.

The board gets more than enough beating from the waves downwind to the shore. Anything else is some weather anomaly shenanigans where you shouldnt be kiting to begin with.



Plenty of beginner boards float out into sea with the current, while they f_ck about doing what beginners do.

Hey Underoath, did you ever get your board back? hahaha

THE PIN PULLER
WA, 127 posts
2 Apr 2018 9:55PM
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I normally even in knee high water think super man pose kite to 45 in direction of travel go steady when brining it up to 12. And in the back of my head it's always the jaws music and me repeating shark shark shark shark..... usually gets me to my board fairly lively !!

THE PIN PULLER
WA, 127 posts
2 Apr 2018 9:55PM
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I normally even in knee high water think super man pose kite to 45 in direction of travel go steady when brining it up to 12. And in the back of my head it's always the jaws music and me repeating shark shark shark shark..... usually gets me to my board fairly lively !!

NorthLines
4 posts
24 Apr 2018 9:56PM
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One other thing that nobody ever mentions that can prevent you from ever catching up with your board again is this - if you are riding super powered up / overpowered, you will want to depower your kite as much as possible. Otherwise, you will just get pulled down wind. You want the kite to pull you upwind...tough to do when you are super lit.

VRBones
115 posts
30 Apr 2018 11:00PM
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Select to expand quote
NorthLines said..
If you are riding super powered up / overpowered, you will want to depower your kite as much as possible. Otherwise, you will just get pulled down wind.



I actually do the opposite and pull on more power to gain a higher upwind angle.

Here's an experiment: Stand on the beach and let your kite go out to the edge of the wind window with the bar out as much as possible. Now power up the kite by pulling the bar all the way in. The kite should surge forward, but then hold steady at the new edge of the wind window. Note that it is sitting further forward than with the the kite depowered (bar out). What's happened is pulling the back line in has temporarily increased the angle of attack and given more power, but once that power moves the kite forward the angle of attack rotates until it's back to the same as with the kite depowered, just pivoted further forward into the wind. The power at both positions is the same (enough to hold the kite in the air and compensate for drag), but the difference can be as much as 5 degrees from just the bar throw, and ~10 degrees if taking the throw of bar and trim strap.

Because your speed while bodydragging is so slow your kite is going to get to the edge of the window really easily, so it's more like the beach scenario than normal kiting. Keep the kite as far forward as possible and eke out only enough power to get you up to speed.

Where depower becomes important is when transitioning to the opposite tack. You don't need ANY power from the kite while transitioning as without a proper shape to use that power to go upwind, you're just going to be dragged downwind.

Kit3kat
QLD, 131 posts
6 Jun 2018 9:43PM
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Select to expand quote
VRBones said..

NorthLines said..
If you are riding super powered up / overpowered, you will want to depower your kite as much as possible. Otherwise, you will just get pulled down wind.




I actually do the opposite and pull on more power to gain a higher upwind angle.

Here's an experiment: Stand on the beach and let your kite go out to the edge of the wind window with the bar out as much as possible. Now power up the kite by pulling the bar all the way in. The kite should surge forward, but then hold steady at the new edge of the wind window. Note that it is sitting further forward than with the the kite depowered (bar out). What's happened is pulling the back line in has temporarily increased the angle of attack and given more power, but once that power moves the kite forward the angle of attack rotates until it's back to the same as with the kite depowered, just pivoted further forward into the wind. The power at both positions is the same (enough to hold the kite in the air and compensate for drag), but the difference can be as much as 5 degrees from just the bar throw, and ~10 degrees if taking the throw of bar and trim strap.

Because your speed while bodydragging is so slow your kite is going to get to the edge of the window really easily, so it's more like the beach scenario than normal kiting. Keep the kite as far forward as possible and eke out only enough power to get you up to speed.

Where depower becomes important is when transitioning to the opposite tack. You don't need ANY power from the kite while transitioning as without a proper shape to use that power to go upwind, you're just going to be dragged downwind.


that is not what is accepted aerodynamic theory.. If you depower the kite it it moves the leading side outside of the wind. A theoretical 100% oversheeted kite would always be flying running (and allow a maximum of crosswind course) whereas a 100% undersheeted/depowered kite would be closed hauled. That means that in theory you could ride directly into the wind.

Greenarrowz
NSW, 233 posts
7 Jun 2018 5:10AM
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Practice practice practice. ...
Its all about time on the water.
You will develop the skill needed.

Here are 2 more great tips :

1/In certain conditons its better to body drag straight to shore and walk up the beach .... then body drag staight out up wind of your board.... this is a great way to quickly locate your board too.

2/ once on the beach you can jump onto second board and go retreive your original board.

More options allow you to be a well rounded kiter .

toppleover
QLD, 1336 posts
10 Jun 2018 8:37PM
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If you want to dramatically Improve your body dragging, ride a strapples surfboard with no leash for a while.



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"Upwind bodydragging" started by bramber