A Perfect Circle

For those new to freestyle, a frontside spin means that you are opening up your chest to face the landing at the start of the rotation (as opposed to backside, where you are literally turning your back to the landing). The terminology is a little different for rail tricks, but that’s another issue for another time…

These three kicker tricks are all variations of a frontside spin, but that’s not the only thing they have in common. They’re also all super-stylish, and a lot easier than you might think. British booter wunderkind Rowan Coultas is here to break them all down for you…

This first appeared in Whitelines issue 116

The humble frontside 360 is among the first spins the average rider will learn, but even the greats still love floating them round. Spice yours up with a tailgrab – not only does it look good, it makes it easier to spot your landing. Get comfortable with tailgrab straight airs and frontside 360s before you move on to this.

On the run-in, imagine doing an ‘S’ as you come to the jump. Go from a heel edge turn into a toe edge turn and then lightly back on to your heel edge as you reach the jump.

Make sure you keep your legs bent and strong at this point or you will slip out on your back off the jump, which sucks!

When you reach the take-off, start to put some more weight onto your heel edge. Make sure you keep your legs bent and strong at this point or you will slip out on your back off the jump, which sucks! Turn your arm across your body for some extra power in the spin.

Pop off your tail and throw your arm back across you again to help initiate the spin. Once you have completely left the kicker, this is when you should start to think about the grab.

After about 90 degrees, bend your back leg to lift your tail towards you and reach for it with your trailing hand. By the time you get to 180 degrees, you should have the grab.

Hold on to the tail and look over your front shoulder to spot your landing. Just after the 270-degree mark, think about letting go of the grab to concentrate on touching down.

Spot your landing as early as possible as you will be coming in blind. Do your best to land on your toe edge to prevent washing out on your heels. Bend your legs, stomp it and ride away!

underflip-Web-Ed-Blomfield

Going upside down is hard, right? Wrong. It’s scary at first, but once you’ve got the hang of it you’ll wonder why you put it off for so long. Underflips are great as the rotation makes it easier to get the flip round. Try into powder or an airbag if you can, but if you commit to it then you’ll be just fine off a park jump too.

The setup for this is a lot like the frontside 3; you are rotating the same way, so the same techniques apply. The main difference is that as you approach you want to be loading more weight up on the tail – rather than the edge – of your board.

As your nose leaves the take-off lean back over the tail, turn your arms and shoulders for rotation and pop!

You still need an edge in the jump for the slight rotation, so use your arms to help you out as with the 360. As your nose leaves the take-off lean back over the tail, turn your arms and shoulders for rotation and pop!

Just as you’ve left the takeoff you will start the flip and it’s like a ‘barrel roll’ motion, as opposed to a straight flip. Bring in your legs to speed up the flip, and go for a grab. I usually go for mute as it’s the one that gets as tucked as I can.

You will see the sky for a second; don’t freak out and start flapping or you’re finished! Let it come around, letting go of the grab if you need to slow the flip down. Likewise, hold on to it if you’re not going as big as you thought.

Once you have let go of the grab you will be able to spot your landing. You’ll be coming in switch, so you will land it exactly as you would a frontside 180. Crouch down into the landing, keep looking forward and ride away. No problems!

cab540-Web-Ed-Blomfield

Switch frontside (aka cab) is just as fun as frontside, and a lot easier to step up to than switch backside. It’s especially enjoyable with a 540, as you ride away in your normal stance and can spot your landing very early on that last 180. If you can ride switch and do a backside 360, this one is a piece of cake.

This trick is one of my favourites because when you do it well it feels the best! You will be approaching the kicker switch this time, so be confident in your switch riding. On the run-in, make that same ‘S’ with your turns.

You will be approaching the kicker switch this time, so be confident in your switch riding

Just before the start of the jump, start to move your weight over your heel edge. Move your arms and shoulders back to be ready for throwing (the opposite way this time) into the rotation.

As the nose leaves the take-off, throw your upper body the way you will be spinning. You’ll have to throw it slightly harder than you would for a 360. Pop well to make sure you are high enough to get the trick around.

When you know you are clear of the jump and the rotation has started, you can go for the grab. This will help you get the trick round, and also makes it look sick!

When you come around to 360 you will be able to spot your landing. You can see your whole landing for a long time at the end of this trick, so you can decide whether or not to slow down the spin by opening up or letting go of the grab early.

Land on your toe edge and bend you knees to get the best landing possible, and ride away clean in your normal stance.

RowanCoultas-SetUp-VansTrip-MtHood-©EdBlomfield-2_1

Apo Iconic Snowboard (Sage Edition)

This board is amazing for riding the park, handling jumps and rails really well. The regular camber shape gives you great edge control on jumps, and when carving the piste!

Burton Cartel Bindings

These are comfy, and it’s easy to make adjustments to the highbacks and straps. They just work!

Vans V66 Boots

Vans V66: These boots are really comfy and a good stiffness not really stiff and they aren’t really stiff when you take them out of the box, if you want an all round boot this is the one.

Oakley Canopy Goggles

Best goggles I’ve ever had. They fit your face amazingly, and offer such good vision. You can see everything, whether you’re spotting your landing on a new trick or dodging trees in powder!

Grenade Craven Pro Mitt

An all-round mitten that works in every kind of weather, and it looks pretty good too!

Lazer Hoodie Helmet

Super lightweight and comfy. I’ve smashed my head a few times while wearing this, and it definitely works!

Vans Wangle Pant

Slim fit, look good, does what it says on the tin.

Vans Mr Garvin Shirt

This is from Vans’ Mountain Edition range. It’s a thick, waterproof shirt with a street style, perfect for slushy days in the park or a street session at night.