Ride upwind might be the hardest thing you need to master after you can successfully water start and ride a short distance. What makes riding upwind hard is that you are going against the wind. Of course riding directly against the wind is impossible, so in order to get upwind you must go against the wind in about a 10-15 degree angle in a zig-zag pattern.
So how do you master this technique? There are a couple of key aspects to riding upwind:
Riding upwind step 1: kite position
You want to put your kite at a 45 degree angle, on 10 for left and 2 for right. If your kite is too high it will pull to up and down wind
Riding upwind step 2: pressure in the kite
In order to ride against the wind you need enough pressure or power in you kite. If there is not enough wind and you are underpowered you wont ben able to ride upwind.
Riding upwind step 3: board and speed
Many beginning kitesurfers will want to go straight upwind directly after the waterstart. You will have to go a bit downwind first to gain speed. When you have enough speed and pressure you can start edging your board upwind.
Riding upwind step 4: body position
Apart from the position of the kite, your body position is a crucial element in riding upwind. Your will want to ride on the edge of your board. The best advice here is to keep a straight body position and lean into your harness to get the board on its edge. Try not to look at your kite but rather turn your head in the direction you want to go. This will make you twist your hips to get the board in the correct position. In order to push your board upwind your front leg must be straight and you should put your weight on your back leg. Front there it’s a matter of maintaining the right amount of pressure on your back leg. Pushing too hard will slow you down too much. Not pushing hard enough means you will go downwind.
Upwind riding step 5: turning a.k.a transition
Mastering upwind riding is also a prerequisite for your next step: a transition turn. This allows you to change direction without stopping and falling back into the water. To make a transition you must first come to a stop before redirecting your kite in the opposite direction. Slowing down or coming to a complete stop is done by edging upwind even harder.