How to Body Drag in Kiteboarding: The Ultimate Guide

Chris Lagao
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When I first started kiteboarding in 2012. I was hooked right from the start. I loved being able to be out on the water, exploring, and just having fun. It's a great way to get away from all the responsibilities of everyday life and just enjoy some time on your own.

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Are you feeling stuck in your kiteboarding journey, frustrated that you can’t seem to move beyond your current level?

Have you ever watched seasoned kiteboarders elegantly manoeuvre the waters and wondered how they do it with such grace and ease?

The secret lies in mastering one of the most critical, yet often overlooked, skills in kiteboarding: body dragging.

The good news?

We’re here to guide you through it, breaking down the complex techniques into digestible steps and freedom that await you once you’ve mastered body dragging.

In this comprehensive guide, we promise to walk you through the ins and outs of body dragging in kiteboarding, dissecting every move, every stroke, and every common mistake.

We’ll start with the basics, help you prepare for the technique, and gradually delve into advanced skills like executing power strokes and upwind body dragging.

Let’s begin this transformative journey, and before you know it, you’ll be body dragging like a pro, slicing through the waters with unparalleled control and finesse!

Gearing Up: Preparing to Body Drag

Like any other aspect of kiteboarding, preparation is key when it comes to body dragging. Before you even get into the water, there are several important steps to take that will ensure your safety, confidence, and overall success.

The first and most crucial step in preparation is to ensure you have the right gear. Your kiteboarding equipment should be in good working condition and suitable for your skill level and the current wind conditions. This includes a suitable kite, a harness that fits you well, and a safety leash. Remember, the gear isn’t just about performance; it’s also about safety.

Next, take a moment to assess the conditions. The wind, waves, and weather all play a significant role in your body dragging experience. For beginners, it’s advisable to start in light wind conditions and flat water. As your skills improve, you can start to experiment with stronger winds and choppier waters.

You also need to be thoroughly familiar with the body dragging techniques you’ll be practicing. Make sure you’ve reviewed the proper body position, kite control techniques, and safety precautions. Understanding these concepts before getting in the water will give you a clear focus and make your practice much more effective.

Lastly, warm up and stretch your body before entering the water. Body dragging can be physically demanding, and it’s essential to prepare your body for the exertion. A good warm-up will increase your flexibility, enhance your performance, and reduce the risk of injury.

Body Drag in Kiteboarding

Starting Right: The Basics of Body Dragging

As a novice in the kiteboarding world, your first encounter with body dragging might feel a bit awkward. Your body is bobbing in the water, one hand is reaching out for the kite bar, and the wind is tugging at your kite. But don’t be deterred by the unfamiliarity. Like any new skill, it gets better with practice.

The primary requirement for successful body dragging is a good grip on the kite bar. With one hand firmly holding the bar, position your body sideways in the water. Your shoulder should face the direction you want to go, while your head is lifted slightly to see the kite. Kick gently with your legs to stabilize yourself.

The key to efficient body dragging lies in managing the kite’s power and movement. To do this, you need to maneuver the kite in a smooth, sinusoidal path within the wind window. This movement generates a steady pulling force, allowing you to glide smoothly over the water.

Level Up Your Game: Body Dragging with Power Strokes

Power strokes in body dragging is where the rubber really meets the road, or more accurately, where the kite meets the wind. This advanced technique will give you greater control and speed, letting you cover more distance with fewer efforts. Here’s how to do it:

  • Start by positioning your kite at the edge of the wind window.
  • Pull in on the bar and steer the kite toward the opposite side of the wind window.
  • As the kite moves across the sky, lean back and allow your body to be dragged through the water.
  • At the end of the stroke, steer the kite back towards the initial side of the wind window.
  • Repeat this process, generating power with each stroke.

Remember, this technique requires a degree of mastery over your kite and your body position. Practice it in safe conditions and always stay within your comfort zone.

Master the Waves: Upwind Body Dragging

Now that you’ve got a handle on body dragging and power strokes, it’s time to take on the ultimate challenge: upwind body dragging. This technique is essential for recovering your board when it’s upwind of you. Here’s a step-by-step guide to mastering it:

  • Position your kite at about 45 degrees.
  • Keep one hand on the bar and extend the other arm in the direction you want to go.
  • Twist your hips and shoulders to face the same direction.
  • Steer the kite slowly from one side of the wind window to the other, using small power strokes.
  • Use your body to cut through the water, always aiming upwind.

Upwind body dragging is a more advanced skill and may take some time to master. Keep practicing, stay patient, and you’ll get there!

Quick Tips for Mastering Body Drag in Kiteboarding, Inspired by Sam Light

  1. Understand the Basics: Grasp the fundamental principles of body dragging, such as the correct body position, kite control, and the art of utilizing wind power.
  2. Gear Up Properly: Make sure you have the appropriate equipment, such as a proper size kite, harness, and a life jacket.
  3. Safety First: Always check your surroundings for other riders, swimmers, and possible hazards in the water.
  4. Practical Lessons: Apply the techniques demonstrated by Sam in real-world situations. Try to mimic his movements and learn from his style of teaching.
  5. Practice Consistently: The key to mastering any skill is consistent practice. The more you practice body dragging, the more comfortable and proficient you’ll become.
  6. Learn from Mistakes: As Sam would likely tell you, don’t be discouraged by initial failures. Each mistake is an opportunity to learn and grow.
  7. Seek Professional Guidance: If you’re having trouble mastering a particular technique, consider getting a lesson from a professional instructor.

Remember to consult Sam Light’s insightful YouTube video here for a visual guide on body dragging in kiteboarding:

Avoiding the Pitfalls: Common Mistakes in Body Dragging

Body dragging can be tricky, and there are several common mistakes that can make it even harder. Here’s what to watch out for:

  • Kite Position: Too high and you won’t generate enough power; too low and you could crash the kite.
  • Body Position: Your body should be streamlined in the water. If your legs or arms are flailing, you’ll create drag and slow down.
  • Looking at the Kite: You should feel where the kite is, not look at it. Your focus should be on where you’re going.
  • Going too fast: Body dragging is about control, not speed. Don’t try to go too fast too soon.
  • Ignoring Safety: Always pay attention to other water users, know your safety procedures, and be ready to use them.

Avoid these common pitfalls, and you’ll find your body dragging skills improving quickly. Remember, every kiter makes mistakes. What sets a good kiter apart is learning from them!


In our comprehensive journey through the art of body dragging in kiteboarding, we’ve deconstructed this complex skill into simple, digestible steps. From the initial preparation to mastering power strokes and upwind dragging, we’ve hopefully shed light on all the critical aspects of this technique.

Revisiting our promise at the start of this guide, we aimed to dispel the complexities of body dragging and transform it into a powerful tool for your kiteboarding experience. Each step we’ve discussed is a stride towards body dragging with grace and control.

Lastly, we affirm that mastering body dragging is a milestone in your kiteboarding journey. As you apply this knowledge, remember the freedom and control body dragging provides. Stay patient, practice, and soon you’ll command the waters with a newfound prowess, courtesy of body dragging.

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