Can some describe how you are grabbing board? When I start strapless on surfboard, sometimes I will grab tail of board at the rail and hold it down until I can get my feet on the board.
Then I use kite pressure to push against the board with my feet to keep it at and angle in the water.
It it similar?
Not sure what the standard move is but I've been doing this - crank foil up to 90 degrees with kite overhead, plant front foot in place and instead of back foot, use back knee to create stable triangle. Same as sitting in the water with your TT perpendicular to the wind, you can adjust direction to a small degree by working board angle/kite angle. Crank kite with whichever hand happens to be on the bar and replace knee with foot while kite is starting to dive.
Using a knee puts you closer and makes it easier to hold the board up, you have a little slop time in the program since the foil takes a few seconds to sink beyond an unrecoverable angle.
I started doing this right away when I was learning and think it makes it pretty easy. I miss water starts sometimes when I start to tire out but that's a pretty good indicator that the rest of the program will be falling apart soon.
Getting up on the board happens very much by hook or by crook, the smaller kite means that as long as you get your weight over it you can react to lack of speed or too much speed, poorly angled starts etc. I have been finding my recognition of angles to the wind gets warped by foiling because of the bizarre upwind tacks one can make.
If the foil drops too far down into the water one can compensate a bit by pushing the tail down harder and lifting the nose, you will never be able to get leverage to tilt it on the other axis but I intend to explore the outside parameters of bracing off the tail. One of my favorite bits about strapless riding is body dragging up to the board and grabbing/orienting it with my feet instead of my hands to start (it's small but it makes me feel a little closer to being a sea monkey) and I would be stoked to learn a no hands water start with the foil. Especially since falling and restarting makes up a significant part of the session.