Transitions – A Beginners Guide
You are now able to get up and ride, but how do you change directions? Learning how to execute a slide transition, combined with being able to stay upwind, graduates you from the JV Swim Team.
Stop and Go
The stop and go transition is how you will be changing direction when you are first up and riding. This transition is as simple as stopping forward progress, dropping back into the water, and waterstarting in the other direction. Lets break it down:
Stopping : When you are ready to change directions, remember to look behind you! This is very important. If you are clear to stop, then move your kite slowly up to 12 o’clock and drop your butt back into the water. Try to put pressure on your back leg as you do this, as this will push you upwind a bit and help slow you down.
And Going : With the kite at 12 and you in position, waterstart the other direction. You have just completed your first transition!
The Slide Transition
Once you are comfortable with cruising back and forth, you are ready to start working on your slide transition. In simple terms, this is just a quick version of the Stop and Go just with less stopping and more going. This will keep you from getting dunked every time! Work on trying to get this more fluid so it isn’t simply broken into the parts like I have listed.
Prepping for the Slide: As always, check that behind you (and downwind of you) is clear. Move the kite up to 12 as you stomp hard on your back foot, bleeding off speed.
The Slide: Don’t stop the kite at 12, rather, let it pass through and head the other way. As this is happening, start to push out on your back leg (extending it) and compressing your front leg. Keep your weight back. You will feel the kite pull you in the opposite direction and you are now in position to head the other way.
The Exit: Once you begin to move in the other way, pull on your new front hand to dive the kite. This will give you power to exit the transition and keep you from dropping into the water. Keep your weight back and over your new back leg as you get going and catch up to the kite. You’ve got it!
There are two problems that most beginners encounter when learning the slide. The first is that you loose speed and dunk back into the water like a stop and go. The second is that you get lofted into the air and tea-bag.
Dunking Back into the Water – This is happening because you are bleeding off all your speed correctly, but you are not moving the kite aggressively enough, so you lack the speed to exit without dunking. This is very natural, as most beginners start slowly and build up. As soon as you feel your momentum stopping, pull with the new front hand to dive the kite in the new direction.
Tea-Bag Lofting – This is normally the next step from dunking back into the water, and is due to an over-correction of trying to move the kite more aggressively. The root of the problem in this is that you are diving the kite the other direction while still moving in the previous direction. This is how you will jump later on, but for now it’s going to end in a yard sale. You need to wait a little longer before diving the kite. Try more aggressively stomping on the back foot to bleed off speed quicker and hold off another momment before diving the kite the other way.
If you can slide transition, and stay upwind, it’s graduation day for you! Welcome to the varsity team.