Learning to ride toeside has been a treacherous uphill battle. I have repeated this move over and over and over again. I have even gotten to the point while riding where I try to trick myself into believing that I’m not going to attempt it, and then at the last minute BOOM! I pull a ninja move, swish the board around and brace for what comes next… either a face plant, butt plant, or a short-lived toeside ride that takes me away from where I want to go. Victory? I rather face plant…
It was during a ride downwind a couple weeks ago when I really had enough of not knowing how to toeside properly. It was a downwinder from hell where I was very over-powered, struggled to keep it together on my board, and waves were big over-head for the first couple kilometers. We had paired up to head down the coast and I fell behind the rest. My kiting partner kept tacking back to me, while yelling at me with a surprised face as he rode away toesiding. Until this point I thought I had mastered enough of this basic move, but out of my comfort zone in what seemed like a race down the coast, I just couldn’t get it done.
If you are also having trouble learning or perfecting riding toeside, here are five tips that have helped me progress:
1. Enter toeside with a comfortable speed
You need speed to keep the momentum going when sliding into toeside. If you don’t do this you will sink into the water, lose tension in the lines, and not get very far.
2. Keep tension in the middle-lines
This is very important for the kite to continue pulling you without losing power. In order to do this you need to complete a 180 angle turn of your board, twisting your body so that you are facing forward. The angle of the board and correct position of the body is a testing game of hot and cold– keep playing around until you find the proper mix.
3. Bend your knees and move your weight to your front leg
Bending your knees acts as your suspension system allowing you to be less stiff and have more balance. Moving your weight from your back leg over to your front leg will also stabilize and direct your ride.
4. Start downwind
It’s easier to keep tension in the lines so I find it less difficult than if going upwind.
5. Point your shoulders in the direction that you want to go
This will position your body and allow you to edge more.
My last piece of advice would be to be patient and remember that everyone is different. This may be a super easy move for someone and silly difficult for others, as in my case. If this is the case with you, keep at it; the epic fails will become less and you will soon be cruising along toeside without even realizing.
PS- Feel free to add any comments with further tips. Suggestions are welcomed! 🙂