Grabs help all riders by stabilizing their drift through the air. But grabs are more than just practical: they’re an expression of our personal style. And given that almost every grab was originally invented by skateboarders, they also have names that hark back to the fantastic lineage which all board riders are part of. So bend over, grab that board and prepare for a knowledge infusion…
Note: The rider in these pictures is regular i.e. left foot forward. So his left hand is his leading hand. If you’re goofy, use the opposite hand to Dom so you’re doing a mirror image of his grab.
As you’d expect, grab the front (or ‘nose’) of your board with your leading hand. Purists (and there are a lot of people guarding the purity of these grabs) insist that the best-looking nose grabs are held at the actual tip of your board – not just somewhere nearby.
Take your leading hand and grab hold of your toe edge anywhere between the bindings. Straighten both legs and you’re doing a ‘stiffie’, or straighten your back leg only (like Dom here) and you’re doing a mute tail poke. Two tricks for the price of one eh?
The Indy is a bonefide classic grab. Reach down with your trailing hand and get some purchase on your toe edge between your bindings . Then, to add some style, push your front leg out straight. That’s living alright.
Opposite to the nose grab – simply reach for the tail of your board with your trailing hand and hold on for dear life. Land this one whilst still holding on to the grab and you automatically gain entry into the snowboarding hall of fame. In your own head.
Meloncollie a.k.a. Melon
A good meloncollie grab is like an indy: timeless. Hold onto your heel edge using your leading hand, and grab anywhere between your bindings (it’ll probably feel easiest just behind the front foot) then bone your front leg out. A great-looking melon grab makes you feel like a Kung Fu master throwing a flying kick.
Another skateboard classic – hold onto your heel edge between your bindings using your trailing hand. Tip: because it’s a stretch to reach behind your rear binding, push your back foot across at the same time. It’s extra stylee that way too.
Put your rear hand between your legs, grab your heel edge, and try to bone out your rear leg. Sounds tricky? Learn it on your bed at home before you take it to the mountain.
The Chicken Salad is the opposite of a Roastbeef: push your leading hand through your legs, grab your heel edge, and bone your front foot outwards. Why the name Chicken Salad? We have absolutely no idea.
The humble method is universally hailed as the king of all grabs. Lift your board sideways and then grab your heel edge either side of (but close to) the front binding with your leading hand. Try to keep the board horizontal, and for extra style, push your back foot out and around – extending your other arm for balance. Magic.
Wanna turn this into a palm air (named after Shaun Palmer)? Grab the heel edge just in front of the bindings but make sure you crank it out all the more, you don't want to be grabbing 'nelon' now!
To do this properly you’lll need to be very flexible. First, get the board sideways (like a method), and then reach around your tucked front knee with your leading hand, grabbing the toe edge between the bindings. Once you’ve got a good grip on the board, pull everything up and backwards, contorting yourself into an almightily beautiful shape.
To do a proper seatbelt air, push your front hand down across your body, then grab the tail on the toeside. So called because your arm will be going across your body like a seatbelt.
Essentially the opposite of a Seatbelt and fashionable with the jib kids these days: back hand comes around your front to grab the nose of your board. For extra style twist your hips and stick arse out.
If you thought the Japan was for contortionists only, wait till you try a Taipan: put your front hand through your legs before grabbing the toe edge and tucking up your knees in the same position as the Japan.
For a classic rocket grab, you’ll need to get both hands grabbing the nose, with the board in a near vertical position. It’s a super retro grab and rarely seen these days, but bust one out in certain occasions and you’ll get maximum kudos. Or laughed at. Either way, you’ll get a reaction.
Another double-hander. This time hold on to both your heel and toe edge between your bindings.
The Gorilla grab is essentially both an Indy and a Mute in one trick. Get hold of your toe edge with both hands and hold on for dear life. Not the most stylish move in the book, but great for messing about.
Late Addition - The Holy Crail
It shot to fame after our shoot, but after Sochi this is one truly for the annals of snowboarding history: Sage Kotsenburg's Holy Crail.
Illegal Grabs - Tindy
The Illegal Grabs
Because fashion is such a vicious bitch, some grabs just stink to high heaven. Take the ‘tindy’ for example. People hate it with the kind of bile reserved for murderous dictators when it’s simply a half arsed attempt at an indy (or was it an even lamer attempt at grabbing tail?) We don’t know why, but if you want to avoid getting the cold shoulder from the cool crowd, don’t do these.
Illegal Grabs - Tailfish
If you’re gonna go for the old reach-around, don’t hold back: grab right between the legs!
Illegal Grabs - Suitcase
A kind of lazy method where you just bend your knees up in a slightly camp fashion and fail to tweak the board sideways (see crap resort postcards of the 1980s). Though of course, if you do it deliberately it would suddenly become cool again. Funny how fashion works eh?
Bonus Grab - Cross-Handed Gorilla Boot Grab
Dom Harington claims to have patented this grab, and from the description it should be self-evident how you perform it. Our view? Throw one of these in a double-corked 1080 and you’ll likely win the X-Games. Do one off a punter jump and you could get banned from the mountain.