The method was dreamed up by skateboarder Neil Blender – a vert-riding legend who entered a highest air contest in California in 1985 with rules stating that the air would be measured from the lowest point of the rider’s body or board. So Neil grabbed his board and arched his back to squeeze as much height out of the trick as he could. He reckoned that this was his ‘method’ for winning the contest, and the name stuck.
They’re not super easy to do – especially with real style – but practice them and you’ll have an absolute classic move in your back pocket. And don’t forget, the method has outlasted every fashion and looks set to be the definitive snowboarding trick for many more years to come. Best get learning then…
1. You’ll need a kicker for this, as ollie-methods are virtually impossible.
2. The more air you get the easier – and better – this trick is going to be. Look for a decent-sized jump with a fairly steep take off, and if possible, one with a slight tilt so you’re already heading in a backside (i.e. toeside) direction – a backside hip is absolutely perfect.
3. Approach the jump on a flat base, keeping nice and low.
4. As you leave the kicker, spring up and pull your knees towards your body, and at the same time lift your board up to the side – this will make it easier to reach down to grab your heel edge.
5. Grab that board with your leading hand. You can grab the heel edge either side of the front binding, but try not to grab too far up towards the nose or the style Nazis will mark you down. Push your trailing hand upwards and outwards to counter the lower body movements and balance you out, similar to the indy.
6. Now you’ve grabbed the board and your free hand is high in the air, it’s time to style the trick. To do this you’re aiming to push (‘bone’) your back foot out, so that the board is flying through the air with the flat base outwards. You’ll need to counter the twist by throwing your trailing arm further out and forwards – the absolute key to this trick is to synchronise the movement of pushing your back leg round and your trailing arm out.
7. The more you push your leg around, the more styled the method is. And the longer you can keep it there, the better the trick is. There are two ways to go with your free hand: ‘palmed’ (arm bent as if you’re waving to someone behind you) or totally straight like Disco Stu. Either way, try to keep the board completely horizontal.
8. As you approach the landing, simply unwind all of the above points. Let go of the board, pull your trailing arm back in and pull your back foot back so that the board is pointing forwards again.
9. You should aim to touch down with a flat base or slightly on your toe edge. If the landing is nice and steep, just extend your legs to meet the ground; if it’s a flatter landing you’ll need to absorb the impact with your knees. Ride straight for a few metres until you’re fully back in control, then start turning.
– Like many grabs, you can practice the method without your board by standing on one leg and initiating all of the above moves. It’s a great way of learning how counter-rotating with your upper body affects your balance and style.
– Methods are a backside trick, so any kicker that is slightly hipped (i.e. has a landing that is a bit off straight) will help massively when learning. It will enable you to turn naturally into the move on your toeside, making it easier to bring your board around and style it out.
The three most famous methods ever grabbed were performed by:
1. Sweden’s Ingemar Backman, whose 1996 quarterpipe air got the front cover of at least six magazines around the world.
2. Finland’s Heikki Sorsa, who set an official world record at the 2001 Arctic Challenge with an incredible 9.3m air.
3. Norway’s Terje Haakonsen, who pushed the world record up to 9.8-metres at the 2007 Arctic Challenge. This does point to Scandinavia being the home of the humble backscratcher, but it’s actually an American-invented trick