Rails & Jibbing

How to Backside Boardslide with Jamie Nicholls

The backside boardslide (often shortened to just a ‘boardslide’) is the next step from the 50–50 and nose press. Sliding down a rail with your board lengthways is fairly easy as the main focus is on keeping straight. With the boardslide however, you need to turn 90 degrees off the lip and land with your weight evenly balanced so as to not catch your edges: no mean feat. As with many rail tricks, the key is to visualise yourself doing it first – fully committed – then to really go for it. And it’s probably a good idea to wear some good bum padding when you start out too…

1. You’ll need a kicker to get onto the rail, and approach it so the rail is just off centre. Remember, ‘backside’ means it’s behind you, so if you’re goofy the rail should be off to your right, and if you’re regular it should be just to the left of the kicker.
2. Approach the jump with a flat base and your weight ever so slightly over your heels i.e. towards the rail.
3. Focus on the area of the rail you’re about to land on – about one to two feet after the kicker. You’re aiming to land here with as little bump and fuss as possible. The smoother you get on, the easier the trick will be to do.
4. Pop gently off the lip and open your shoulders, turning your board through 90 degrees so that you land with the rail slap bang between your bindings.
5. Here comes the commitment part: you’ve got to lean forward so that your weight is perfectly ‘over’ the rail. This is a very counter-intuitive thing to do (your instinct will be to stand upright and plant your heel edge – don’t, or you’ll slip out onto your arse!) If the rail is dead flat on the ground, then you should be perfectly upright; if the rail is sloped ten degrees forwards, then you need to lean forwards too, keeping your base flat on the rail at all times. Your brain won’t like it, but you HAVE to keep your board exactly perpendicular to the rail. This is unlike any other facet of snowboarding, but you have to trust that you won’t catch an edge.
6. Presuming everything has gone to plan and you’ve landed squarely on the rail, there is little to do here except focus on the end of the rail and enjoy the ride: you’re boardsliding.
7. Let the board leave the rail still at 90 degrees to the landing. Now use your arms to initiate the twist back round; your legs will naturally follow.
8. As you land back on the snow you should be in your normal riding position, pointing straight down the hill with a flat base.
9. Ride off, looking for a longer, steeper rail to take on!


Boardslides are all about leaning the same angle as the rail. Do this and you won’t go too far wrong. Some jibbers also choose to dull the edges between their bindings using a file. This discourages the toe edge from ‘biting’ the rail and makes it easier to commit to sliding on a flat base without worrying about face plants!


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