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Have you ever ridden a kiteboard that was not yours and found the ride uncomfortable or even difficult? The fault may not have been with the kiteboard but with the stance. The owner of the board may be taller or shorter than you, meaning their footpads may be set at a different width and angle to what you need. What feels great for them, is not so good for you.
Everyone is different so why would we all have the same board stance? A board stance that is incorrect for you can make harder work of riding. It can also increase the chance of injury, meaning time away from kiting. It’s worth taking a little time to make sure your stance is right for you.
This infographic will break down step by step what you need to look at to find the ideal stance for you.
KITEBOARD STANCE WIDTH
The width of your stance is determined by your height. The taller you are, the wider your stance will be; the smaller you are, the narrower your stance will be.
Kiteboard stance width is relative to the user. What I may regard as a regular stance may be wide for a short person and narrow for a tall person. It is important that you recognise what feels too wide or narrow for you, and not compare it with others.
A stance that is wide will provide more stability in landings and allow you to hold more power when riding. A narrow stance will give you less stability in landings. However, you will have less resistance in rotations such as backrolls allowing you to spin faster.
To find your ideal stance width; jump forwards and land in a comfortable squat position. It is easiest to do this at the beach where your footprints may act as a guide.
KITEBOARD FOOTPAD POSITION
You can position your footpads over the centreline of your board or closer towards the heelside edge. How you position the pad will affect your ability to edge the board and the stability of your landings.
When you position your kiteboard footpads on the centreline, your weight lands through the centre of the board. This provides more stability in trick landings as you are less likely to land too much on either edge.
If you have small feet or ride a wide board, edging the board may be more difficult when the footpads are on the centreline. To make edging easier, you can move the footpads towards the heelside edge. This will give you more leverage on the board for controlling speed, upwind riding and take off on jumps.
Positioning the footpads pads closer to the heelside edge will make it harder to ride on the toe-side edge. It will also give you a less stable platform when landing tricks as the board will not land as flat on the water.
KITEBOARD FOOTPAD ANGLE
Your feet are the foundation of your movement on your kiteboard. It is beneficial for you to be able to manoeuvre yourself as you carve around from heel to toe-side. To allow for this to happen you need to have a foot angle that supports your movement. To achieve this, you must know how wide or how close to parallel you prefer your feet to be.
You can move your toes wider to increase the kiteboard footpad angle into a ‘duckfooted’ stance. This opens your hips and knees more and makes it easier to perform carving transitions from heel to toe.
If you have a more parallel stance you will have greater stability in landings. Also, your hips and knees are less open, meaning you will have less resistance in rotations allowing you to spin faster.
To find the correct angle for you, repeat the jump squat test. You will see how parallel or duckfooted you are when landing in a comfortable position.
HOW TO FIX A BAD KITEBOARD STANCE
A bad kiteboard stance can be uncomfortable and inefficient at best and can be the cause of injury in worse cases. If you experience any discomfort as you ride, you can correct it with some small changes to your kiteboard stance. If your knees or ankles are sore as you ride you can adjust your stance width or angle so that you position towards the painful area.
1. If discomfort occurs in the medial side of your knee (closest to the centre line of your body) you should look first at the width of your stance. A wide stance can allow for the knee to collapse inwards while edging and in landings. To prevent this, move the stance inwards.
2. If your stance is already narrow, look at the angle of your foot pads. An overly duck-footed stance can also allow the knee to collapse inwards. Position the pads a little closer to parallel to stop this.
3. If you are having discomfort in your outer knee, you can adjust your stance width and angle outwards slightly.
4. If you are having sore shins after a session and are also struggling to ride upwind, moving your pad position will make edging easier and prevent sore shins.
Fixing your stance should be your go to to prevent injury as it will allow you to align your kiteboard specifically to your body’s range of movement. However, you should also be focussing on your strength and mobility to support your actions as you ride. This is especially important as you start to ride harder and go bigger. Mike Mac Donald from Get High With Mike talks about some great strengthening exercises in his blog.