HOOK IN TO THIS VIDEO & TEXT TUTORIAL AND NAIL A MANOEUVRE THAT PROGRESSES ON NICELY FROM YOUR TRUSTY SINGLE BACKROLL!
KW ASSISTANT EDITOR, KYLE CABANO, HAS THE CONTROLS FOR TAKE-OFF
WORDS AND VIDEO: Kyle Cabano
The double backroll is an accessible and rewarding trick if you can already do a single backroll and perform jumps with control. The first trick that most kiters learn is the backroll as it is a very natural rotation from the take-off. It is not uncommon to over rotate your early backroll attempts, spinning you into a second backroll as you lose control. There is however a method to the madness that makes this trick more do-able and a great addition to your trick arsenal. Where the double backroll initially differs from the single backroll is in the take-off. The take-off for a single backroll is more of a pop, whereas for the double backroll you need to send the kite up to gain some height and make the second rotation possible. For this reason a big factor for success is good kite control.
KEY POINTS TO BEAR IN MIND FROM THE BEGINNING
You should be fluent with boosting to around five or ten metres and be consistently riding out of your landings with confidence. Your single backroll should be well refined, having performed it in multiple wind strengths and on various kite sizes. The double backroll will have you flying a bit higher and further through the air, so make sure you have enough downwind space and water depth. Pay particular attention to your kite control and keep it steady in the air. Erratic steering is not what you want for this trick, so placing your hands in the middle of the bar is good practice.
This trick can be transferred to your foil riding or a surfboard, but for your first attempts you should be riding a twin-tip. I am riding an Airush Apex 139 which works great with footstraps. Crashing this trick in boots, particularly while hooked in, would be most unpleasant! As for your kite, I recommend learning this trick well powered while riding a kite size between 9 and 14m. This will allow you to get sufficient loft from the kite while retaining a good handling feel. If the kite is too small it can be quite complicated to keep in the correct position. If the kite is too large it will steer slowly and make boosting a bit harder. Once you have the trick dialled in you can switch things up by perhaps switching to boots if you like riding more powered, or you can add some stylish grabs into the rotations, or even try it on a different style of board.
The double backroll is going to require you to ride well powered so pick your kite size accordingly. The ideal wind strength is between 15 and 25 knots, which corresponds well with the suggested kite sizes. It’s also not too strong to make going for the trick more scary. The ideal location would of course be the predictable terrain of flatwater at a sandbank lagoon. I find this to be the best environment for learning technical rotations as the added boost of a kicker is not required, but instead the controlled take-off and approach speed of the lagoon will enhance the learning experience. It is possible to adapt to your local conditions though; just look out for a good section of water for the most controlled take-off. Make sure you have enough downwind space when trying the double backroll. As you are flying higher than for a single backroll it’s important to make sure you have enough space downwind of you and that the water depth is at least one metre in case you have a few crash landings. Once you have the technique dialled in you can do variations of this trick in stronger or even lighter wind conditions, out in the surf and even in very choppy waters.
DOUBLE BACKROLL STEPS This is the fun part! Approach this trick with good speed and plenty of power in the kite but still feel like you’re maintaining control. Place both hands near the centre of the bar to dampen the steering and give you better handling when you are in rotation, helping to prevent unintentional over-steering of the kite. Once you have good tension in the lines, steer the kite from about 11 o’clock up to 12 for the take off, just like a normal boosted jump. Edge the board upwind as you sheet the bar in and initiate the first rotation. You should aim to keep your kite at 12 to generate the extra height required for the second rotation. As you begin rotating, keep the bar sheeted in and you can apply a little front hand pressure to keep the kite up at 12 and flying forward (don’t let it drift backwards). A common mistake is going into the second rotation without keeping track on where the kite is positioned. Keep focus on the kite’s position through the air while doing the first rotation. You should complete the first backroll by the time you have approached the apex of your jump. Take the opportunity to spot your landing and your kite’s position before engaging the second rotation on the way down. Keeping the bar sheeted in and engage the second rotation by throwing your head over your front shoulder. As with all rotational tricks, this is an important technique in getting your body to rotate. Once you have completed the second rotation re-spot your landing. As you come in to land point the board downwind for a smooth touchdown. Steer the kite forward to keep tension in the lines and ensure you land with forward movement, which makes for a softer impact. As mentioned, there are many ways to spruce this trick up, such as fitting some board grabs in, or even combining it with a board-off or squeezing in a third rotation.
COMMON MISTAKES A common mistake is oversteering the kite and losing control of the rotation. To avoid this you should really focus on a smooth, controlled take-off with your kite already set at 11. As you take-off from the water pay attention to where your kite is. Often you’ll need to apply a little more front hand steering pressure to keep the kite ahead of you and your momentum moving forward. If you complete the first rotation and you are not comfortable with the scenario – being either too powered, too high, or perhaps off balance – then you can abandon the effort and reset by sheeting out. If you need to speed up, tuck your legs in and if you need to slow your rotation down you can stretch your body out.