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The 4 Dimensions of Riding

Posted on June 22 2018

I once read a windsurfing article whereby an editor was outlining how a friend talked about 'dimensions of riding'.

'Dimension' was a reference to the willingness to progress.  It does not refer to the 'skill level' of a rider, more the effort a rider is willing to offer to set and achieve goals in their chosen sport.

Never has kitesurfing/kiteboarding offered such a plethora of options with regard to progression.  So much so, that we can't even keep up with names for our own sport! With rapid advances, adaptation and application of technology, kitesurfing has progressed at a phenomenal speed since it's inception (another whole story).

So let's take a look at the dimensions from a kitesurfing perspective. 

One dimensional riders: These riders have a single focus.  They are out to achieve a single thing and stay there.  It's what they like to do, they've found their niché and you probably won't find them doing anything else.  At first glance they can appear very 'boring or regimented' but this is not necessarily true.

A one dimensional rider can range from the beginner, who is trying to balance all of the elements of riding for the first time, to the advanced rider who has a single goal that they choose to perfect, or simply find absolute joy in. 

The obvious flipside for a one dimension rider is that they generally will not or do not progress any further.  Their fun exists in the world they have chosen and they often find endless pleasure in what they do (often refining the more minor, yet often important aspects of what they're doing) or they simply end up leaving the sport in favour of 'something else'.

The two dimensional rider is one who chooses to explore a little further.  They might upgrade their gear or try a new style of riding.  Generally speaking, you'll often find them in the same location, doing the same things but they've changed their gear to accomodate their changing interest or simply to keep up with the trend. This is often your 'weekend warrior' who needs release after a hard week at work or someone who likes to 'test the waters' so to speak.  2d riders, 'hotdog' a lot, same moves, same places but the moves are refined and often look sharp.  They tend to be inspired by what they see out on the water. 

2d riders can have a tendency to be territorial as well.  They're quietly upset when someone new comes along with new or better skills and they can be threatened at such an 'imposition'. 

Three dimensional riders are the change in breed.  They come to the beach having researched something new or they've been inspired in conversation.  This rider has set goals BEFORE they arrive. After assessing the conditions and probably having had a chat with mates, the 3d rider, hits the water with intention and inspiration.  

A new place to explore or a new move(s) that they would like to develop and incorporate into their riding, this rider will go to great lengths to achieve new goals.  This rider doesn't just ride from Point A to Point B and back again.  They're heading upwind to a location they want to see or explore.  They ride upwind because they have intention for riding downwind.  These are the pioneers of the sport.  Yes, they may be doing moves you've seen before but have you seen THEM doing it before?  Probably not. They may 'disappear' off the radar for a while because they're out exploring other locations or they're on a mission somewhere.  At home this rider still covers a lot of ground, they enjoy riding with others, or not! The three dimensional rider, manipulates their surroundings with grace but isn't afraid to make mistakes.  This rider can potentially run the risk of being self absorbed though and can even be incorrectly perceived as arrogant because they are so driven.

The four dimensional rider is really a dynamic rider.  They have explored new things, new locations and they continue to do so. This rider also SEE's other riders.  They take notice of them, complimenting their progress or something they've done well while out riding.  This rider reads between the lines, intuitively providing help down at the beach or wherever it's needed.  Don't get me wrong, when this rider hits the water, they are as focused as ever, but not at the expense of 'burning' others.  The 4d rider has scope for time. They're not ones to rush out onto the water at speed despite their bodies being ready to rupture with excitement.  They quite often hang out after their session to chat, watch others or take vids or pics to amp up other riders.  This is a rider who has 'stepped out of their own skin' and recognises what they see and how to interpret it.  

The four dimensional rider is not without their inhibitors though.  They can run the risk of not being competitive: healthy competitive.  They have such a thirst for what surfers call 'The Search', the desire for that perfect wave on the perfect day at the perfect location with all of their mates and potential new mates, that this can inhibit even the most focused or considerate mind.

The dimensions all carry aspects of different athletes and the way these athletes approach their endeavours. It's also important to remember that dimension does not necessarily refer to or reflect skill level or ability.

So whether you're one of these riders or bits of all of them, it's important to remember that you are a part of this very special event that involves water, wind and human endeavour.  A wonderful gift to be a part of and thankful for. Now get out there, and ride.  



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