The feet position in Strapless Kitesurfing

The guys from Swall Surfboard explain very well in an article on their website, the position of the feet in waveriding. Enjoy the reading!

Have you always wondered if you are well positioned on your strapless surf, in your maneuvers or in navigation?


stance surf
The definition of Stance in surfing in one image

What is stance? Found in all board sports, the stance is the distance between your two feet (picture above). The bigger your stance (feet apart), the more control you will have on your board. Conversely, the closer you bring your feet, the more driving stability you will gain.

Keeping a wide stance is perfect as soon as you start your maneuvers (jibe, roller, jump). This position allows you to become one with your board and to turn even faster and more radically. You have maximum control thanks to this wide spacing.

wide stance
Wide stance – better control

It does, however, require quite a bit of effort on your part and physical strength, as it is a position that you will not be able to hold for long, unlike a cooler position with your feet closer.

weak stance
Narrow stance – increased stability

In general, you keep a relatively low stance 90% of the time , in all phases that do not require a change of trajectory (upwind or waterstart for example). It is a pleasant, natural and comfortable position.


Your overall position on your strapless surfboard should be adapted according to the conditions. It will influence the behavior of your board and your performance, especially in the upwind phases. In this situation, the objective is to obtain the best compromise between speed and heading. The position of the feet will allow you to regulate your speed , whether you are forward or backward.

The more you advance on your strapless surf, the more you will be able to press on your heels if necessary, without breaking the flow of water under your board (the drag if we speak of science). This advice is even more useful when you are sailing in light winds or with lo power.

forward position
The 2 advanced feet for upwind and underpower

The more you are on the back of your board, the more you will slow down your speed because your board will be less flat on the water. A situation that will help you in a strong wind or in overpowered conditions , you will be able to better control your speed and force on the back of your board to slow down (especially with the back foot).

back position
The 2 feet moved back to the maximum for the overpower


The front foot moves a little less compared to the back foot, but it still has an impact on the behavior of your board. As I explained to you in your overall position, in a light wind your front foot will always be quite advanced and in a strong wind rather centered (compared to the center of your board). You can also move your feet sideways, closer to one rail than the other (red arrow). 

front foot
The different possible movements of the front foot

Naturally your foot will be placed on the side of your heels, it is a pleasant position that allows you to easily go upwind. On the other hand, it will become more complicated when you pass on your tips of the feet (which press on the center of the board). By more complicated I mean that you will have a hard time notching and pushing the rail on the toe side.

lateral front foot
Moving to the opposite rail (toe-side)

A situation that you must have encountered in the toe-side, in the waves or during your jibes. The solution is to shift your foot to the toe side before a roller skate or a jibe. If you do different maneuvers on one side or the other, you can also put it in an intermediate position in the center of your pad.


The back foot is the one that has the most influence on the behavior of your strapless surf, because it is placed at the level of the fins (pivot point), and the back of the board. You have the possibility to move it over 30cm! 

rear foot 2
The different possible movements of the rear foot

In a linear trajectory (upwind for example), you need to keep your speed, so the foot must be placed in front (of your pad or even in front of your back pad), on the image below indicated by the arrow green.

rear foot
In green for stability and in red for control

In the case of maneuvers, you will place it on the pad see glued at the kik level (the stop of your pad), to gain in radicality, as the red arrow shows you. 

Compared to the conditions, the more it will be light the less you will move it back, and the stronger it will be, the less you will have to hesitate!


In freestyle , the wider your stance and the lower back foot, the more performance and control you will gain!

In waves , if the conditions are weak and the waves not powerful, place your feet in the middle of the pads, and for big conditions you can move your back foot back to the max!


position mark
Imaginary cues using the pads

Each board and each rider is unique, so take benchmarks that correspond to you. You can use your pads, the design of your board or even place stickers.


wide stance = more control (for maneuvers) 
narrow stance = more stability (for upwind)

Global position forward = light wind / 
underpower Global position back = strong wind / overpower

Front foot on the rail opposite = unskilled labor jibe 
rear foot declined = control maximum and radical

Article translated from the Swall Surfboard website