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Varial Flip

Apr 19, 2010

Author: Jason Stone / Tracy Kraft photos

This is an advanced move. It’s probably one of the hardest tricks I’ve landed behind a kite. Make sure you have the two parts to this trick on lock: a Backside Shove-it and a Kickflip. This move is just an integration of the two.

Varial Flip / Tracy Kraft photo

1. There are two environmental details you’ll want to have in mind in order to land this trick. First, steady wind. Second, a smooth rolling wave. Once you have these two, you want to get your speed up, unhook, and bear off the wind. In fact, in this sequence I’m going almost directly at my kite. Probably about 10 degrees upwind from straight downwind.

2. Get your stance right. My back foot is all the way back on the board. My front foot is 1/3-1/2 back from the nose and very close to the edge of the board. This is important to get the Kickflip part of the move. You’ll have to adjust your stance to fit your board and conditions.

3. As I get to the top of the tiny ramp, I’m pushing down on the board to get a good pop. This step isn’t shown.

4. (Start of the sequence) As my board comes off the water, I’m initializing the Backside Shove-it by turning my hips and trying to make the board perpendicular to my direction of travel. This will make it easier when it’s time to kick the board. At the same time I’m focusing on how high I’ll be going and using that to make a decision on how hard I should kick my board to initiate the Kickflip.

5. As I snap the kick I let my legs drift out so they don’t get in the way of the board’s rotation. The whole time I am focusing on the centre of the board making sure I’m moving in sync with it.

6. As the board continues to spin and flip I’m in the air just waiting for it to finish.

7. At the apex, my body and the board should be in the same relative position to each other and we’re starting to fall back towards the water. At this stage I can usually tell if I’m going come down on the board, and if the board will finish the rotation.

8. Now I’m starting to extend my legs into the board’s rotation zone so I can stop the spin. It’s optimal to catch the board with your feet before the board hits the water for style points. Occasionally the board with spin perfect and land flat on the water, and then I’ll land on it after the fact. This is kinda like cheating. It’s better style to catch it in the air.

9. At this stage I’ve caught the board by stopping its rotation with my feet. I don’t have the best hold on it, so if it’s necessary now is the time to move your feet around to land cleanly. I’m still extending my legs trying to stomp the board into the water so that it can’t get away from me.

10. I’m fully extended here trying to get me and the board on the water and back in full control.

11. My full weight comes down on the board and I am bending my knees to absorb the shock and to make sure I keep my balance on the board.

12. After landing I focus on getting my second hand back on the bar to keep control of the kite. The whole move I just tried to keep the kite low and steady. Now with my weight back on the board I’m getting ready to edge out in case the landing is sketchy and I don’t want the kite to dive towards the water.

13. This last shot I’ve landed and am riding out in full control of the kite. Hook back in and set-up for another trick.

Wakeskating Common Mistakes and Corrections
One of the most important things to remember when wakeskating is your stance. Everything starts with the right stance. My default stance is having my front foot 1/4 back from the nose, and my back foot just in from the tail. When I go to throw a trick, I move my feet accordingly. For example, to do a Shove-it, I’ll move my back foot all the way to the back of the tail. This make the board spin faster.
    When first trying to catch some air with a wakeskate the most common mistake is not bending your knees. I think about it like you’re sucking the board up with you. If you don’t bend your knees the board will just fall away while you’re in the air.

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