Kitesurfing Tutorial – Hand Plant / Hand Drag

Kiteboarding Hand Plant (or Hand Drag) Tutorial with the Stoke Coach

Watch the latest kitesurfing tutorial below with Ben, the Stoke Coach, as he guides a few of our Zephyr Tours customers through an intermediate kitesurfing trick in paradisiacal locations.

We go through some kitesurfing coaching tips and pointers, breaking down the maneuver. By analyzing where things go right and wrong, we see what can be done to improve the hand plants, plus how we can make the hand plants look more stylish and what you need to do to get the technique dialed in.

First we head out the the Masig Magic Mile in the Torres Strait to see how easy this kitesurf trick is in off shore winds and an uncrowded sandbar. Then we go back to the other side of Australia to watch how Brett learns the hand plant and Johnny delivers, out in the stunning Cocos Keeling Islands.

Ben’s easy breakdown of 5 elements will ensure you can give the hand plant (or and drag) a go next time you are out on the water.

Remember… Keep it simple, make it stylish!

What is a hand plant and how to achieve it?

First things first; a hand plant or hand drag are pretty much the same thing – the only difference is the amount of speed and distance travelled, so these tips can be used to help you master both.

What we’re trying to do is to set up and load the kite to give us a stationary hover or float over a specific spot. Having a object or set location is key to ensure you get the perfect timing of the kite movement and your final carve to get the vertical lift.  Once you have that sorted, you can apply the hand plant, foot plant (tutorial here), or bonk the object or beach with your board!

It’s time to break it down…

  1. Steer the kite!

    The kite needs to be at 12 o’clock by the time you finalise your carve up wind – it’s the first thing you do.
    Make a steering correction on the bar which will send the kite precisely to 12.
    This, believe it or not, is the most important thing –  if your kite is not at 12 o’clock forget the rest of the steps!

  2. Push the bar away

    Now this is not as essential, however it will make things considerably easier and offer you much better management of the power and lift!
    By pushing the bar away you are decreasing pull in the harness which intern is going to make it easier for you to carve against the load the kite.
    If you keep the bar in, you have to work a lot harder and will often not get the desired effect.

  3. Carve up wind.

    This can be called a number of things: edging, loading and carving – it’s all the same thing; you are trying to do two things at the same time.
    Firstly, you are trying to decrease your forward momentum, almost coming to a standstill.
    Secondly, we are loading the kite by quickly carving the board up wind.
    By doing this, you are effectively moving the edge of the wind window a meter or so up wind, leaving the kite a little deeper in the window.
    All this loads up the kite because soon the kite is going to fly forwards towards the new edge of the window and will give you all the lift and power you need!

  4. The manoeuver/hand plant

    The hand plant feels very much like a cartwheel (if you know what that’s like) because you’re carving up wind and positioned with your bum low and board out, the rotation is off access and you are rotating under the kite.
    The trick is all in the head; as the body will follow!
    When you put your hand down, look at your hand which will initiate the rotation, as soon as you planted your hand you want to be looking round for your landing which will complete the rotation and help you stomp it!

    Throughout this rotation you will be controlling the lift with your bar pressure.
    If you need more height, pull the bar in a little, or if you’ve got too much height, just push the bar out.
    You’ll find that the kite is also moving slowly from 12 across the window to either 11 or 1. This is because your hand which is still on the bar, will inadvertently steer at the kite a little (if not intentionally).
    This kite movement is actually quite useful as it often helps counteract any forward momentum you carried into the manoeuvre.

  5. Loop or redirect the kite

    As soon as you put your hand down for the plant we want to get ourselves off the beach or object as quick as possible. To do this you need to pull in the bar for power and lift, while also steering the kite down into the window to give us horizontal pull to get us off our marker.
    The harder you pull and steer the kite, the tighter the loop or dive will be, bringing the kite deep into the power zone giving you horizontal pull, pulling you way.

    When looping the kite, I find it’s best to try and loop it in the top half of the window which will give you some good vertical lift and support for landing.

Hope that made sense and feel free to send a comment or question in the video chat stream on Youtube

Have your own footage you’d like analysed?

Send it to and we’ll have the Stoke Coach perfecting it for next time you go kitesurfing.

The Stoke Coach Ben Strowger, is a team rider for Duotone & Zephyr Tours, manager and kite instructor for Ocean Addicts. 

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