When off-axis spinning started to make its way into wakeboarding in the late 90’s, there were a few different takes on it. At the time it was looked at as a more difficult trick compared to its flat counterpart. While at times this can be true, when you start climbing the technical ladder up to tricks like 720s and 900s, staying flat may hinder you. Getting off axis, although more complicated to initiate, can make adding rotations easier. Take a look at some of the most technical spins ever done. The majority fit into this traditional off-axis category. As riders develop they tend to evolve their spins into a hybrid of off-axis and on-axis.
Rathy’s toeside frontside 720 is a good example of using off-axis spinning to its full potential. To get set up, “I start out wide and cut hard at the bottom of the wake,” he says. At this point in the approach he is starting to differentiate this trick from a flat spin. “A lot of people drop their shoulder too soon trying to go off axis, so I always try to lift the handle up a bit off the wake before spinning.” Aaron’s unique use of the handle helps to achieve the main step necessary in off-axis spinning; letting the axis of the trick develop before getting too far into the spin and going for the handle pass.
Rathy urges you to “avoid flipping too much by not dropping that shoulder and doing a handle-pass scarecrow.” Often riders are told to trip their edge hard at the wake, as for a front-roll trick. On the contrary, the edge can’t be fully stuffed into the wake without your hips being forced away from the handle, hence making it extremely difficult to get the handle pass. Instead, use an edge that gets you through the top of the wake, but stand hard off your tail, helping you get your shoulders over the top of the rope. Now, as your hips and board start to drift out slightly, you are in control of the handle, and it should feel easy to spin.