fsnoseblunt-web-ed-blomfield

Rail progression usually goes as follows: ride-on, side-on, gap-on. Once you’ve got the hang of sliding over ground-level boxes, and have mastered hopping on to street-style rails from the side, the next step is to attack a kinked rail with enough speed to clear the first section altogether. In fact, as long as you commit fully, this can actually be a lot easier than riding though the kinks. UK rail wizard Gaz Andrews is here to get you started with a few of the simpler ones to get you started.There’s no limit to what can be achieved once you crack shooting the gap, as that extra airtime allows for spinning on. Or, like Jamie Trinder at last year’s British Championships, you could even go for a rodeo-to-railslide.... Anyway, first thing’s first – take it away Gaz:

This first appeared in Whitelines issue 119

A bit of name clarification here – bluntslides and nosebluntslides come from skateboarding, but with the absence of trucks and wheels it’s a different beast on snow. Also, ‘frontside’ means approaching the rail from the side where your body is facing the feature – in goofy-footed Gaz’s case, from the right.

For this trick I tend to take a little bit more speed than usual, as it helps you to lock in as you throw all of your weight over the rail – plus going really fast is a lot of fun! Make sure you have backside noseslides down before you try this, so you know what to do once you land on the rail.

Make sure you definitely make it to 90 degrees – we don’t want any zeaches!

As you approach the rail, prepare for a decent pop as you need to get yourself right over the rail to lock in. Wait until your front foot is just leaving the kicker before you pop to get the most out of it.

Now that you've popped, swing your back foot over the rail whilst holding your rear shoulder back to stop the rotation at 90 degrees. Make sure you definitely make it to 90 though – we don’t want any zeaches!

First contact with the rail is pretty make or break for this trick, and where I feel the little bit of extra speed comes in handy. Once you have swung your back foot over, dip your nose down and catch the rail under your front foot (or just beyond it) and then let the board level out. To get a proper nose-blunt you should you have your chin and knee aligned vertically over your front foot.

Now that you’re on the rail, you want to try to keep that balance point to get to the end. Your momentum should take you there, but if you find yourself falling off the opposite side of the rail – as is common with this trick – then you’ll need to adjust that front foot catch; make sure you land on the rail with all of your weight over your front foot.

I love this trick because of the way it feels to pop in and out of – you can really tweak that back foot out, and it’ll still feel stable. You can pop out and straighten up easily, as you’ve been holding your rear shoulder back throughout the trick. I personally like to lift my tail again as I turn off the end – mostly to style it out, but also because it helps me bring my weight back to the centre of the board, ready to land.

Now you’re riding away at Mach 10 feeling like a don, hike up and do a few more. Once you have it on lock I guarantee it will be one of your best-feeling tricks.

backlip-web-ed-blomfield

This is to rail tricks what the backside 180 is to kicker tricks: the all-time classics. Just like the back 1, it’s relatively easy to do, but takes serious practice to do it with style. ‘Lipslides’ are when the back foot crosses over the rail before you connect (as opposed to boardslides, where it doesn’t).

The real beauty of back lips is that they look hard; the real secret of back lips is the pop. This is another trick I tend to go a tad faster for, as you need to get your weight (and your tail) over the rail. It would probably help to get frontside boardslides locked as well before trying these.

Make sure you wait until you know your tail is higher than the rail, then throw it out like a backside shifty

Approach the take off with a mostly flat base, but with your weight a bit more on the heel-edge as you get closer to the lip. Make sure you keep a line that’s almost totally parallel to the rail as you approach – it might feel a bit wrong, but it will stop you falling off the opposite side of the rail as soon as you land on it.

Keep your shoulders in line with your board as you leave the take off, and lightly pop off your heel edge. Make sure you wait until you know your tail is higher than the rail, then throw it out like a backside shifty.

In the air you want to spot the rail and aim to land with your weight either centered, or slightly towards your front foot. Either way, as soon as you land assume the frontside boardslide position and lean into it to stay on the rail.

At this point it should feel pretty good, so just hold that front board position and enjoy the ride! Coming off early is the biggest annoyance with back lips, but you’ll be fine as long as you keep your board at 90 degrees and get your weight over the rail.

Coming off the end feels pretty damn good! Just hold that position to the end and as you come off, you should naturally want to straighten up. I usually find I end up more on my toe edge from back lips, but that’s fine as long you ride it out.

swbsblunt-web-ed-blomfield

Switch rail tricks aren’t as hard as you think – it’s really only the initiation that you need to work on. Once you’re sliding along the rail at 90 degrees, it’ll feel pretty normal. It’s worth trying a few of your standard tricks switch once you’ve got them dialed – some feel even better done the other way!

Before trying these, I’d make sure you’re comfortable riding switch and doing cab 180s (aka switch frontside 180s). It also wouldn’t hurt to learn backside boardslides as well.

The pop is going to feel strange the first few times, but don’t worry – it will come

The pop is going to feel strange the first few times, but don’t worry – it will come. It’s very easy with this trick to feel that you need to carve in at a sharp angle, but don’t. Just approach the rail with a good amount of speed and stay parallel with the rail as you approach the the take-off.

Pop mostly off your heel-edge but still with a relatively flat base. Push your switch front foot over the rail and adjust your weight over what is normally your front foot.

To stop yourself over-rotating, which is another common problem with this trick, just dip the trailing end of your board slightly when you land on the rail. That’ll get you locked in.

Once you’re on the rail, you’re basically just in a backside noseslide. Just as you do with that trick, keep your weight over your normal front foot, ride it to end of the rail and pop out into your normal stance.

Once you’ve got that on lock, try a 270 out – it’s one of the easiest 270s to throw!

Ggaz-Andrews-Portrait-©-Sam-McMahon-2014

Bataleon Global Warmer 151

Every Global Warmer I’ve ridden has felt comfortable from the word go. The flex pattern is perfect for all over the mountain, but it definitely lends itself to the park. I personally prefer it to soft jib boards as it feels snappier, more stable and more responsive.

Switchback Bindings (Miller Straps and Mid-Backs)

I like the feeling of tight-but-soft bindings that offer plenty of freedom for moving around on rails and spinning on and off. I chose to use the mid-backs because you can tweak anything you want with them.

Vans Sequal Boots

Just like with my choice in board, I always prefer a bit more support in my boots than the average soft park boot. These are freestyle-orientated but have that extra support when you need it, letting you push them that little bit further.

Vans Archer Pants

These pants fit dead straight – not too skinny, not too baggy. They’re tough, warm and do the job in the every situation, from Thursday nights in Milton Keynes to bitterly cold street-rail sessions.

Transform Throwback Mitt

I don't really know if there's any particular reason why I prefer mittens to gloves – I just do. These mittens do the job perfectly; they have nice cushty finger inserts inside and a big ol’ nose-wipe thumb.