Jumping : Backroll
The backroll is normally the first trick learned by intermediate kiters. While knowledge of how to jump is helpful for this trick, it is not required. In some ways, the backroll is simpler than a jump. The backroll, once learned, can also be used as a sexy transition.
In a simple breakdown, we are going to park the kite high in the window, edge hard upwind, pop off the water while throwing our heads over our front shoulder, and land with our board facing 45 degrees off the wind. Hopefully, the kite will stay stationary through the majority of the move.
Ride along with decent power in the kite. Make sure you check behind you and downwind of you to ensure that you have clear space. Slide the kite up to 11/1 o'clock so that it is high in the window. Put your front hand in the middle of the bar, with your index finger on the other (rear) side of the center lines. Drop your back hand off the bar, and edge hard upwind. While you edge, try and point the nose of the board as far as you can into the wind, and compress your legs. You want to bleed off most of your speed, at least at first.
Once you have bled off some speed and the nose of the board is coming around into the wind, pull straight in on your front hand as you push off the water with your legs and throw your head back over your front shoulder. As your start to rotate, pull your legs in to your body. Look over your shoulder and spot your landing, align the board 45 degrees off the wind. As you land, dive the kie to pickup speed and ride off.
Hints and Tips
Some people might hit this their fist attempt, but before you can consistently hit them, most everyone will need to make some adjustments as they learn.
- Height : For a backroll, you do not need to be far off the water! They can look quite cool when down just inches off the surface. Try leaning you weight far back so that you do your rotation with your body and board perpendicular to the water. When you are learning, is it even possible to backroll with your back in the water! Less height will avoid some major crashes! Try dragging your back hand in the water as you rotate for extra style.
- Kite Position : Keeping your kite high in the window will give you the loft you need to complete your roll. You don't need to send the kite for this trick, and it will be much easier to learn if the kite stays stable high in the window. We center the front hand on the bar and drop the back hand to avoid our natural reaction to pull on the rear had as we rotate (which would send the kite hard the other direction). In a natural rotation, with just the front hand on the bar, we should pull enough on the front hand to have the kite begin to drop as we finish the rotation, which is just about perfect for accelerating out.
- Board position : By starting the trick with the board pointing directly upwind, there are two benefits. First, by edging around, the trick should almost feel like you are simply edging the board around in a circle which helps with a fluid rotation. Second, by starting the rotation with the nose into the wind, we cut down the 360 degree rotation by 90 degrees. We also want to land with the board 45 degrees off the wind, which helps us see the landing, but also cuts down the 360 degree rotation by another 45 degrees and helps us accelerate out of the trick.
Once you have this mastered, try out the Backroll Transition!
Ok so I was talking with Rafi today who took my advice and thought it was very helpful for his first backroll.
Start with steps vs trying to throw this trick and ride off.
So these are the mental progressions to break down the fundamentals:
1. The first is to realize that the kite needs to be above your head and not at all like you are going to boost. As it gets to 12 you will obviously begin to sink. So my way to explain this is to understand that you can break this down in a non threatening way. As you are slowing down with the kite directly at 12 noon bend your legs. So now you are squatting, kite at noon and slowing down about to stop.
2. Second part is what is a roll? Its not a backflip like anything you would see a high diver doing in some fancy swan dive back flip. It is more like that toy the sit and spin or better imaging a tire swing. Picture your self with your legs through the middle of a tire suspended from a tree. You are holding onto the rope and trying to push with your feet to spin around. As your sitting in the tire you are not doing back flips you are just in a sitting position rotating in a circle around the pivot point, the rope. But to get spinning you do understand how to push with your feet to make that happen. Same for the backroll.
3. Your legs are bent and your kite is at noon and you are coming to a stop. There will be no crash here just a sinking into the water for lack of momentum. At this time think of teh rope swing and push of with your front like and pretend your harness is that tire. You will spin like a top directly under a non pulling kite. If you coma part way or all the way around great. Now your are not moving and no fear. Right yourself and water start.
Now these rolls can be done with the kite at 45 and you can surely go higher or faster or off a wave. The rotation axis of some of these do appear more like a flip or weird contortion. But my way you have no fear, no crash, no momentum intro to something you cant fail on.
Also you can let go of your back hand. This will allow the kite to back back from noon in the direction you were traveling. You are as you get comfortable going to want the kite to go back to pulling you forward. But I think that most people start trying to do a backflip while moving and end up looping the kite with all the going on.
But as sitting with legs through a tire is how you will be the whole way around like you are sitting and certainly not flipping.
Hope this helps