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Page last updated at 13:29 GMT, Wednesday, 4 January 2006

Snowboard tricks explained

Here's a rundown of all the tricks:

:: 1. Boarding Basics :: If it's your left foot forward, like me, you call this a regular stance. If it's your right foot forward, then you're goofy! The front of the board is called the nose and the back is the tail while the edges are the toe side and the heel side. Even though I ride with a regular stance, I can also ride the other way round. That's called riding switch or fakie. And a basic jump is known as an Ollie. Simple!
:: 2. Ollie :: A simple trick which ensures you have a safe landing. It involves jumping with both legs just as you reach the end of a jump. Make sure you really spring off the jump and bring your knees up to your chest.
:: 3. Indy grab :: A good first grab to learn. You grab the board just before your back foot and hold. It is a great grab for stability and it will stop your arms from losing control or 'winding down the windows'. Keep your upper body straight, look ahead and make sure the grab is nice and clean right until the landing. Doing this grab will give you more success when trying to land your jumps.
:: 4. Mute grab :: This is a relatively easy grab and has a nice style to it. To execute it, you grab the toe edge in front of the front foot with your leading hand. Like the Indy, the Mute is good for body position and gives you a great sense of control in the air. Use this if you're hitting big jumps that you haven't tried before. In the Olympics, judges will be looking for snowboarders to hold the grab as long as they can.
:: 5. Nose grab :: A good beginner's grab which can be done over jumps or even in the half pipe. As you go off the jump straighten your back leg, bring up your front leg and reach around and grab the nose of the board. Judges are looking for consistency and how long you can hold the grab. They're also looking for a nice clean take-off and landing as well.
:: 6. Tail grab :: This is a little more difficult than a nose grab as you're allowing the nose to drop down which can be a little bit scary. You straighten the front leg and bring up the back leg, bringing your arm around the board to grab the tail. You're going to have to try this trick over and over to become more confident with it. The biggest problem is grabbing the tail because you're looking forwards. My tip is not to look - just feel for the board.
:: 7. 360 :: A rotation of the board through 360 degrees. The big key when rotating is to keep the upper body straight. Extending your arms before you rotate is called a pre-wind, and this will help you spin. You can also grab the board to keep the body nice and stable. My coach's tip is to bring the knees up to the chest again because if you go to the grab instead of the other way, it won't be a happy landing. As for judge's points, it is a pretty simple trick so you have to get it right. Start the trick as you come off the lip, not too early and keep it nice and controlled.
:: 8. 180 :: This is a much more difficult spin than a 360 even though it's half a full rotation. It's actually easier to spin fast than slow and control is the key to the 180. You're also landing switch. So before you go out and try this trick, I'd recommend that you learn to ride switch well. For a coach's tip make sure that you look down and spot that landing because you don't want to come out of this rotation too early or too late, otherwise you'll land sideways.
:: 1. Pipe basics :: The end of the half pipe is a great place to learn how to drop in. Start by riding down the side of the pipe, called the deck, and slide down into it on an angle, don't drop straight in. Ollie off the deck and slap your board against the wall of the pipe as you drop in. To learn how to ride the pipe walls, ride straight in from the top. When you get to the point where you're going to turn, don't jump. Also, don't start swapping edges in the middle of the pipe, it will confuse you. If you want to start leaving the pipe simply ride up to the lip, out and back in. Avoid an Ollie off the wall because that will create a ton of bad habits.
:: 2. Melon grab :: Slightly more difficult than a Mute and an Indy because you're using your leading arm to grab the opposite side of the board near your heels. You still need to remember to bring your knees up to your chest. Never reach down for the board otherwise you'll find yourself upside down really quickly. Judges are looking for solid body with this one.
:: 3. Air to Fakie :: Like the Pop Tart, this is a difficult trick because it makes you feel like you're falling backwards into the pipe. You ride regular into the wall, and once you leave the lip, you'll be coming back in tail-first which means you'll be riding switch. Air to Fakies need to be big and when you get up high use your muscles to keep your body absolutely straight. Drift is another important point - make sure you travel a long way down the pipe in the air.
:: 4. Alley Oop :: Makes the rider look as if he or she is rotating in an uphill direction. It's like a 360 but it is deemed as a straight air as opposed to a rotation. As your leading foot hits the coping, start leaning back up the pipe to twist the board in the opposite direction, bringing the nose down into the pipe. Try not to carve back up the pipe wall, keep the nose facing downhill at all times.
:: 5. 540 :: All spins in the half pipe are less than what they really are. So a 180 is a 360, and a 360 is a 540. That's because riders almost always do a 180 as they go in and out of the pipe. With a basic 540 you want to wait until your front foot hits the coping, or the lip, before you start the rotation. It's nice to have a wind up before you take off so get the arms out, spin off the lip and bring up those knees. The 540 can actually score more points than a 1080, even though it involves spinning half as much. The key to this is timing and making the spin last from the take-off to the landing.
:: 6. 720 :: A difficult spin, and you want to make sure you have a ton of speed because elevation is the key here. Hit the lip, but bring your knees up really quickly and watch for the rotation. When you finish, open up your chest and this will stop your rotation to bring your board back into the pipe. Judges will look for a 720 to be big, clean and grabbed from start to finish. Some riders think a 720 is easier than a 540.
:: 7. McTwist :: The McTwist was invented by Mike McGill, one of the pioneers in skateboarding. As you approach the lip of the wall, you drop your front hand, head and shoulder at the same time, basically for an Indy grab. This will bring your feet over the top of your head and continue the rotation. This is a trick where you have to commit 100%. If you bail out halfway through, you're going to have a nice ice burn down your back. At the Olympics you'll see a lot of girls doing it because it's a new trick for the women and they're doing it big. A McTwist always looks good when it's huge. As for the men you'll see a lot of McTwist 720s because it's a popular trick and it's an easy way out of a flat spin.
:: 8. The Haakon :: The Haakon is named after Terje Haakonsen, one of the great snowboarders. It involves dropping into the pipe switch which is very difficult, and doing a flip upside down while rotating the board in the opposite direction of travel. The big thing in a Haakon is to drop the shoulder and the head and bring the back foot over the top. My coach's tip would be to wait a long time before you try one of these. Make sure you're riding switch decently in the pipe and I'd definitely make sure that you've done a few other inverted tricks before you go ahead and do this one. Judges are looking for the leading foot to hit the coping, a well-held grab and amplitude is super important. The landing should also be even with lip, further down the wall will cost riders points.


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