How to Go Upwind Kiteboarding

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Of skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding and kiteboarding, only a kiteboard provides you with the capacity to move in any direction you chose. A skateboard won't carry you up-hill for long. You can't surf into shore, then back out to the swell. You can't ride a snowboard to the top of a mountain. However, you can move upwind -- back to where you started -- on a kiteboard. Like a sailboat tacking upwind -- while you can't go directly into the wind -- you can zig-zag back and forth to gain ground and return to where you started.

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Load the lines with tension. Set the lines at a 60-degree angle in relation to the water. If the angle of the lines is greater than 60 degrees, pull on you the line in your lead hand to flatten out the lines. If the angle of the kite's lines is less than 60 degrees -- too close to the water -- pull on the back line to raise the kite.

Kill your speed by leaning back on the board -- on the edge behind you in relation to the kite. Dig the back edge into the water to swing the kit toward the front of your board which places the kite on the threshold of the wind window -- the area that creates the greatest up wind drag on your kite. Put 80 pecent of your weight on your back foot by bending your back leg and straightening your front; the action digs the tail of the board into the water and points the board upwind to a greater degree. To further accentuation the draw of the kite into the wind window threshold, twist your hips into the wind -- toward the front half of the back edge, toward the bow of the board.

Pull on the control line closest to your back foot to raise the kite up and reduce drag if you are tacking and the drag on the kite becomes too great that it begins dragging you down wind. As you raise the kite, dig your back edge into the water until you begin moving up wind again, then lower the kite back down to 60 degrees by pulling on the front control line to recommence tacking.

Trim your kite to control your speed. Grab the "power" line located on the trim loop -- which is found between the two control lines -- and pull to increase the angle between the kite and your board and create more drag, which means more speed. Grab the "depower" line -- also located on the trim loop -- and pull on it to reduce the relative angle between the kite and the board and reduce drag.


Keep the kite as close to the wind window as possible to maximize your upwind potential. Keep your kite at 60 degrees in relation to the water or lower for maximum up-wind acceleration. Only raise it above 60 degrees if the kite shifts away from the wind window and begins dragging you down wind.