There comes a point in every kite girl’s life, when she becomes confident enough with her kite to try and go for the unhooked tricks.
Unhooking is a really cool milestone in kiting progression as it opens door for so many new manoeuvres, and it’s a looooot of fun !
Nevertheless the beginning might be a bit tricky! I remember the time when I tried my first Raleys and I wasn’t lucky enough to have anyone there to give me tips at that time. I can honestly say, that is when I had some of the worst crashes in my entire career, up to this day.
So let me spare you these experiences that incidentally involve hectolitres of saltwater up your nose, and tell you the stuff about unhooking that I wish somebody told me back then ;)
1.Practice unhooking and hooking back in.
The best thing to do in the beginning is to get used to the movement. I would recommend to practice by simply cruising around and unhooking and hooking back in, without actually popping. Just to get that feeling, see how the kite reacts, and learn not to pull the kite up or down while unhooked. So try that first!
In order to do that you you should have some speed, enough not to stop and let your board drown is the minimum. Don’t go to fast at first either. You can also keep your kite a bit higher in the beginning, but do not pull it higher than 11 o’clock, cause that might result in a quick trip to the moon (trust me, been there – done that).
Keep your hands close together on the bar, this way your kite won’t be moving much when you unhook. Once you’re ready, go a bit downwind, that is where your kite slacks, which takes some pressure off your bar and makes easy to unhook.
Simply take the loop off the hook and cruise like this a few meters down, then hook back in. Remember to keep your arms close when you’re riding unhooked and don’t let the kite pull your arms straight, cause this inevitably means a front edge, and these aren’t much fun. Practice that, until you get comfortable enough to try to jump !
2. When you feel you’re ready to jump, the Railey will be the first trick you want to go for.
By now you know how to unhook, now we need to add a pop to it! In order to do a Raley, you will probably need to have a bit more speed than when you practiced unhooking. It is best to keep your kite around 10 o’clock for starters.
When you’re ready and riding with decent speed, go downwind, and unhook, just like you practised. Remember keep your arms close! (Oh and if you have a donkey dick on your bar, make sure it isn’t locked !)
Now edge upwind, but watch out not to get a backward rotation and end up with a weird uncontrolled Backroll. When you feel the tension on your lines release the edge, and let the kite pull you!
It is important that you focus on flying downwind and following your kite. If you try to continue in your riding direction you will probably get a weird rotation and crash. So always follow your kite!
3. Many people think it is hard to get back to a vertical position after a railey but it really isn’t.
If you keep your arms close, and your don’t let your kite fly in every direction, this will just happen naturally, so don’t worry about it. The important thing is that you land downwind, and keep following your kite after you land for a couple meters until it slows down which enables you to hook back in.
4. Go carefully at the beginning...
… but as soon as you get more comfortable, you can increase your speed and try to position your kite lower and lower. This way your Raley will look much better, as your legs will get thrown above your head, and we all know that looks awesome on pictures ;)
And most importantly, have fun with it ! Unhooking and Raleys are the first step, but just think of all the stuff you can learn from there! Backrolls, S-bends and Raleys to Blind, are just the beginning. So go for it, have fun, and keep on trying!
Nothing will happen by itself, and you will crash many times before you land any new trick but trust me, the feeling when you finally get it is priceless, and makes all the effort totally worth it!
GOOD LUCK !!!