Kiteboarding Unplugged: Understanding and Mastering Unhooked Riding

Kiteboarding is a sport that melds the art of flying with the thrill of surfing, providing an adrenaline-pumping experience unlike any other. As you progress on your kiteboarding journey, you'll come across various techniques and maneuvers to add to your repertoire. One of these advanced skills is "unhooked" riding. In this blog post, we'll explore what unhooked riding is and provide a step-by-step guide on how to execute it.

What is Unhooked Riding?

In kiteboarding, being "hooked in" refers to the rider's harness hooked into the control system of the kite. This setup allows the kite's pull to be transferred to the rider's body, enabling the rider to use their body weight to control the kite.

Unhooked riding, on the other hand, involves disconnecting the harness hook from the kite control system. This shift forces the rider to rely on arm strength to control the kite, opening up a world of tricks and maneuvers that aren't possible when hooked in. Unhooked riding is common in freestyle kiteboarding, where riders perform jumps, handle passes, and other high-powered tricks.

How to Ride Unhooked: A Step-by-Step Guide

Before attempting unhooked riding, ensure you're comfortable with basic kiteboarding skills, such as water starting, riding upwind, and jumping. Always remember safety first: wear appropriate protective gear, including a helmet and impact vest.

**Step 1: Prepare Your Gear**
Ensure your kite, bar, and lines are all in good condition. Make sure your chicken loop (the part that connects the bar to the harness) is small enough to unhook easily but not too small that it can't be rehooked quickly.

**Step 2: Start Hooked In**
Start by riding hooked in. It's important to build speed before attempting to unhook.

**Step 3: Position the Kite and Your Body**
Position your kite at about 45 degrees. Bend your knees, lean back slightly and keep your body weight on the heels.

**Step 4: Unhook**
As you get ready to unhook, pull the control bar towards your hip and unhook your harness from the bar. Keep your elbows close to your body and maintain a firm grip on the bar.

**Step 5: Maintain Control**
Once unhooked, the kite's power will be directed to your arms. It's crucial to maintain a firm grip on the bar and control the kite's movements. Keep your kite low and steady in the wind window.

**Step 6: Perform Your Trick or Maneuver**
Now that you're unhooked, you can perform your desired trick or maneuver. Remember, your kite will be more responsive to your inputs, so handle the control bar delicately.

**Step 7: Re-hook**
Once you've completed your trick, it's time to re-hook. Bring the control bar towards your hip and hook the chicken loop back onto your harness. It's essential to do this quickly and efficiently to regain control of your kite.

Unhooked riding can be intimidating and challenging. Start with smaller tricks and gradually move to more complex maneuvers as you gain confidence and improve your skill level. Always practice unhooked riding in safe conditions, preferably under the supervision of a certified kiteboarding instructor.

In conclusion, unhooked riding is a technique that adds a whole new dimension to the sport of kiteboarding. It can be physically demanding, but with patience, practice, and proper safety measures, it can be an exhilarating part of your kiteboarding journey. Happy riding!

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