Trainer Kite Practice
Practice makes perfect.
Level 1 – Training Kite Practice :
So you have taken your intro lesson and you have your trainer, now you are ready to get some practice in flying the small power kite. The more time you spend flying your trainer, the quicker you will progress when you move to a larger traction kite. But what should you practice? Hopefully this will give you something to start with. Remember, trainers are small and fast, but they teach you to be precise, so when you move to a larger kite, you will find it easier to control than the trainer because it moves more gradually. Here is what you should work on when practicing:
You should be able to park the kite in all three locations in the wind window. These are the zenith (12 o’clock) and the edges of the window on either side (3 and 9 o’clock). These are the spots where you kite is de-powered the most and it is very important to be able to control the kite in these locations. You also must be able to fly the kite between the three locations without moving the kite into the power zone. This means you slide the kite slowly from 3 to 12 to 9 and back, keeping the kite on the edge of the window. This is an important technique when launching and landing. Practice this in all winds (heavy and light)!
Power Stroke :
You need to be able to pilot the kite through a power stroke. This is moving the kite from the zenith (or close to it) down into the power zone and back up. This will be how you create your initial power. You should be able to aggressively and confidently make a power stroke. Practice looking to your left or right and diving the kite in that direction. You should be able to notice the kite in your periphery and adjust it back up. This allows you to water the water and not the kite!
Figure 8 Pattern :
You should be able to fly a figure 8 in a smooth and confident pattern. This is basically linking two power strokes, as you dive the kite from 12 to 9 to 12 to 3 to 12. You should be able to feel the power of the kite while it is in the power zone and as you fly the figure 8, the kite should pick up speed. Adjust the size of the pattern to control the kite speed. Again, try and look off to your left/right and fly the pattern using the feel on the bar and your peripheral vision.
Sine Pattern :
You should be able to fly a sine pattern with the kite. This involves bringing your kite from 12 to 3/9 to 12 to 3/9. Practice this without looking at the kite.
Once you can comfortably do all the above, it’s time to do it all over again, this time using one hand. Put your hand in the middle of the bar and see how well you can do with just a single hand! You need to be able to at least hold the kite steady at each park position with one hand, as you will need one hand to put your board on in the water.
Once you feel more comfortable with piloting with one hand and working the kite through the patterns above, try adding some movement to each pattern:
As you have the kite parked in each location, walk backwards and forwards and sit down and stand up while holding the kite in the parked position. Getting used to keeping your kite parked while you move is a key to feeling comfortable on the water.
Power Stroke :
Sit down with your kite parked at the zenith. Execute a power stroke and stand up while the kite is diving. Once you are standing, correct the kite back up. Feel the pull of the kite as you dive it and let that pull you up (or at least cue you to stand up). This simulates a water start.
Sine Pattern :
You are going to start to move along with your sine pattern. If you are flying from 12 to 9 to 12 etc, then move to your left. You should be running along the same line you started with, perpendicular to the wind. If you are flying from 12 to 3 to 12 etc, then move to the right. Walk (then run) along with your kite and continue flying the pattern. This simulates how you will move on the water.
Figure 8 Pattern :
As you fly your figure 8 pattern, try stepping our with your feet. When you do the 12 to 9 part, step forward with your right foot, step back on 9 to 12, then forward with your left on 12 to 3, then back. This will simulate the feeling of a slide transition, which is how you will first change directions on the water.
Simulate a jump :
Fly your kite at 2/10 and run with it. Pull on your back hand to send the kite back up toward 11/1 (the opposite side of zenith from where you are) but keeping moving in the same direction. As the kite passes 12 you will feel a pull back. This is where you will lift of the water. In high winds you may be able to jump up at this point and feel the kite pull you up a bit. Once the kite hits the 11/1, you want to send it back to 12 (this is how you will float).
Simulate a handlepass :
Bored? Try parking the kite at 12, jumping up in the air, spinning 360 degrees, and passing the handle behind your back! Can you do it without dropping the kite?