One Foot Transition – Ben Strowger ‘ Stoke Coach’

In our latest issue 09 we interview Sunshine Coast coach legend Ben Strowger. He shares with us here one of his notorious ‘board off’ tricks the one footed transition.

You can get beginner to advanced lessons from Ben at Ocean Addicts in Maroochydore or speak to them at the store about their intense coaching clinics in Torres Straight and Cocos Islands with Zephyr Kite Tours!

Get the latest issue 09 here
Or available on Apple IOS store search for ‘Freedom Kitesurfing’



One Foot Transition by Ben Strowger

This one of my favourite tricks for two reasons. Firstly, I love one footer’s, I think they are super stylish. Secondly, they look quite technical, but in reality, they are quite simple and very achievable for the average rider. To add a one-footer into a transition or jump can look really cool and with a bit of practice you can lock it in and even add rotations.
A foot plant is a jump or transition that incorporates a one-foot naneuver. To achieve this you grab the end of your board and take out one of your feet from Foot-straps. I will try to tweak this with a straight leg, tweak of the board and often throw in a rotation, which I think helps me land the transitions smoother.

That foot plant is all about timing. If you get everything lined up, there’s a good chance you’ll get a nice stationary float to enable you to pop out your foot and plant that foot down on the beach or the water. I’m going to talk you through how I like to do the maneuver, highlighting the elements you really need to focus on and the common mistakes that are made when attempting this trick.

My preferred direction is going left and I like to throw in a back-roll rotation which helps me spot my landing. It feels natural to rotate throughout the transition allowing a nice flow throughout the manoeuvre. Before attempting this trick, I would practice jumping to your right and taking out your left foot as you’ll be removing your foot the same way. Also make sure you have your back-roll transitions down and making them as floaty as possible.

Coming into the maneuver, it’s all about timing, you’re trying to transfer as much of your forward momentum as possible. Transferring that energy into your upwind carve and loading up the kite. The carve wants to be strong and steady, finishing with the nose of the board pointing as straight into the wind as you can. You want the Kite to be at 12 O’clock or even just passed it as you reach the end of the carve. This timing is crucial in delivering the vertical lift and the float you need.

Top tip; After sending the kite to 12  o’clock, I will watch the kite and time my carve upwind accordingly. Waiting till 11 or even 11:30 before I even initiate the carve up wind. The most important part to achieve the perfect take off so make sure your timing is spot on and the Kite is at 12 as you reach the end of your carve.

While I’m carving upwind, loading up the kite, my bar is often out halfway or even further. As I pop off the water, I can control my height and float by sheeting in the bar more or less throughout the whole maneuver. This control over how high I go makes sure I’m the right height for the foot plant.

As I finish the carve and pop off the water, I’m almost halfway around the rotation, which is why I like to throw in the back-roIl. As I pop off the water, I sheet in the bar a little to give me float while I reach for the front nose of my board. Bend the front knee and leave the back leg as straight as you can to help bring the nose to you, rather than reaching over. Once you have the grab, take out the front foot and plant it down on the water or whatever you’re jumping over.

Top tip; You can tweak the maneuver by straightening the front leg as you push off whatever you’re jumping over, also as you’ve got the grab so tweak the board, lift it up in front of you with a straight arm.

As soon as you get the foot plant, it’s time to spot your landing. Pull hard with your right hand to initiate the dive of the Kite, back in the direction you came from. Hold the grab as you put your foot back into the foot-strap and point the board in the direction the kites pulling you.

You want to land flat on the board, pointing downwind and not on your edge.
Top tip; Get your body position and back foot in the right spot for the landing and bring the board to your foot. If you’re running out of time you can ride out even if you don’t get back in your strap, placing your foot on the board where you can.

Depending on the wind power or how clean you land the trick, you may finish with a Kite loop. I’ll rarely loop the Kite while I’m still in the air but will often turn the dive of the Kite into a Kite loop after landing, this can give me the speed and power i need to ride out, or shuffle and move my feet back into the strap.

The one-foot plant is a great trick to practice, learn, and is pretty forgiving if you crash and burn! Have fun out there, keep it simple and make it stylish!
Common mistakes: 
Too much speed! If you come into the transition without reducing your forward momentum, you’ll travel horizontal too much, it makes it harder to land, and you’ll often have no power when you dive the Kite!

Focus on the Kite being at 12 as you carve up wind! Timing is critical as you want a vertical jump minimising the distance you travel forward.
Missing your Foot plant! Even if you’re planting your foot on the water, make sure you pick the exact spot! You want to finish your carve a meter or so in front of it! This will also help you shave off your forward momentum.