Here’s a beauty. Those of you who have been following our technique for some time will recall how we used to bang on about going for moves which the conditions allow (saves a lot of frustration), and how learning so many of the more advanced moves hooked in will stand you in good stead and allow you to show some style when it’s not perfect flat water and constant wind, whilst polishing the required skill sets and avoiding too many wipe outs – we don’t all want to give up freestyle and only ride waves as the years pass us by! So here’s a move that’ll feel lovely, looks great and won’t hurt half as much as it’s unhooked brother, but can be performed pretty much 100% of the time, game on.
The Approach Pic A
You’re going to approach this as you would any popped trick. In this photo Karine has her kite between 10:30 and 11 o’clock, she gained good speed on her edge and got into this body position before bearing away. Her hips are dropped back behind her back foot, her shoulders are upwind, her front leg extended and the nose of her board slightly up. Her sweet spot is trimmed down towards her chicken loop so that she can maintain this position when she carves up to pop. Being a back rotation Karine has also gone a bit further off the wind. This way she can turn hard to get the rotation and maximum pop, but because she’s starting her carve from a more downwind course she’ll have time to carve and pop before the board turns too far into the wind. The result will be height, and more importantly mean that she’ll be in the air earlier, giving her more time to fit the grab in.
Pop Pic B
Good popping is all about extending up, and in a back rotation this is doubly important. If you intend to get the grab in you can’t be spinning fast, the rotation has to be slow. You can see that as Karine kicks herself up everything is extending. Looking at the board you can see that the emphasis is on going up and not around. Karine’s head is looking forwards through her hands, she hasn’t thrown it around over her front shoulder. Everything is geared up for pop and a slow rotation. Should make the grab easier then!
Slow Rotation, Fast Grab Pic C
This picture says it all. You’ve got to get on with it, bringing the board up towards you and releasing your back hand to get it down to the board. Having extended to pop Karine puts all her effort into bringing her knees up whilst focusing on where she intends to grab the board, the tail. It’s too easy if you pop well to leave your legs extended as you go into the rotation. Here you’ve got to get them up quickly. She’s keeping the bar in so that the kite still supports and pulls her through the move. Karine has time because she knows that she’s rotating slowly, she’s only facing upwind. If she was already around to downwind she wouldn’t fancy her chances of the blind yet alone with preceeding a grab.
The Grab Pic D
The brilliant thing about this trick! By grabbing the board you will really focus on bringing your knees up, which will place you in a perfect position to throw the blind from. Also by adding the grab, which takes a moment of your time, you will also rotate around, completing your back loop and therefore making the move look even better. Karine still has her bar in so the kite drifts her downwind and keeps her momentum going, her knees are really high which places her close to the bar and this means that the weight of the board and her legs is brought up high. As she comes around to here she needs to be ready to throw the blind.
Blinding Pic E
Having got everything into the correct position she can now confidently rotate her body to blind. To turn Karine has released her grab, she turns her head aggressively to look back and pushes the bar out with her front hand to ditch the power and allow her legs to drop. She pushes her front foot down and keeps her back foot tucked up under her bottom. This way the nose of the board will touch down first and pivot itself and the rest of the board further around for a clean reception. If Karine kept the front foot up or let the back foot down she would land flat on the board. The board would then stop abruptly and she get rather wet.
As with all pop tricks, where you start is where you finish. You cannot land across the wind, so you need to land slightly off the wind. If you bear away before popping this is your start course, and you’ll land going the same way.
If you concentrate on just one thing it will be popping early so that you rotate slowly. Practice a few slow popped backs before adding the grab, and then finally the blind.
Have a ponder over the sequence and the videos. You’ll really need to visualize this trick so that you can slow each movement down in your head, giving you more time to fit everything in.
Same as above really, your biggest issue will be throwing too much into your take off, so that the board completes half the rotation whilst still on the water. Bear away and pop up.
If you’re landing fine but missing the grab. This is a good start, but you’ll need to focus on bringing the legs up quicker and looking for the grab as soon as you take off. It could also be due to the fact that you’re not completing your back loop before throwing the blind, which means you have less time. Concentrate on coming fully around your rotation with knees high and then throw. Do this a few times and then try adding the grab – you’ll be surprised.
- Off the wind
- Pop early & Up
- Look for grab and lift legs quickly
- Complete rotation
- Throw blind & land nose first
This technique article was in Issue 53 of IKSURFMAG.