Frontside and backside airs are the first tricks you normally learn in a pipe, but before moving onto spins, there’s a further category to understand: ally-oop airs. An ally-oop is one in which you go up the frontside wall and do a backside air (and vice versa). In effect, you’re turning the ‘wrong’ way on the pipe wall – against the direction of travel. They’re a great-feeling trick and nice one to learn as it’s a relatively simple, 180 degree movement. Plus you don’t end up gathering lots of speed – alley-oops are a perfect way to slow things down, making them super stylish to boot.
1. Drop into the pipe (see earlier page) and approach your frontside wall with as much speed as you’d need to at least leave the top of the pipe.
2. As you go up the frontside wall, focus on the lip and keep on your toe edge.
3. Instead of turning your shoulders and upper body down the pipe (as you would for a frontside air) make the same motions as you would for a backside air instead i.e. turn your shoulders uphill.
4. As the tip of your nose goes over the lip, turn your head so you’re looking into the pipe. Twist your upper body gently this way, leading with your shoulders. As you take off, your base should be flat against the pipe wall or slightly on the toe edge, and your board should be pointing pretty much straight upwards.
5. Lift your board gently off the wall and start to turn 180 degrees in the air. At the same time you want to be reaching down for your grab. Indy (like here) is the classic option.
6. The speed of your rotation will depend on how much speed and, consequently, airtime you have. To begin with you’ll probably have to get the board round fairly quick, but as your amplitude increases you should be aiming for a slow, smooth spin. The alley-oop always looks best when it’s not rushed.
7. With your nose pointing back into the pipe, let go of the grab and set it down gently on the wall (this sounds easy, and it is – you should have been virtually weightless for the past couple of pointers). The idea once again is to catch the sweet spot of the transition, but with alley-oops there is a temptation to pop too hard off the wall as you initiate your spin, leading to a hard landing towards the bottom of the wall. If you find yourself doing this then try to relax your take-off.
8. Shift your weight over your toe edge as you ride down the transition and pump into the flat bottom (extending your legs into an upright position).