Famous Firsts: Double Flips Double Back

The first time I saw somebody huck a double flip on a wakeboard was during this magazine’s 1995 Team Challenge. Both Darin Shapiro and Doug Homan tried double fronts that day, but it wasn’t until a 1997 Pro Wakeboard Tour stop that Darin became the first rider to actually land one. The so-called Speedball was a clutch trick for him that year and helped earn him one of his six Pro Tour season titles. It was also what inspired me to try double tantrums and double half-cab rolls, but Darin is still the only rider to land the double front.

After that, double flips were a premier trick at contests through the late '90s, but for some reason, I don't think double flips ever reached their full potential. Spin counts progressed from 900 to 1080 and even 1260, and the rail and cable aspects of the sport have steadily evolved through events like The Carnival and Wake Lab as well as overseas contests like FISE and Wake the Line. Meanwhile, the double flip's progression flat-lined. For about a decade, no new double flips were landed. A couple years ago, however, double corks in snowboarding started to open wakeboarders' eyes to the endless possibilities of what we can do on a board. Suddenly, double flips have a pulse again. Bob Soven is doing a new double front roll 180, Chad Sharpe andJeff Langley both landed grabbed double flips off the double-up and Trevor Hansen did a double back roll off the freaking wake. Last summer, I landed a double back roll 360 that I hadn't landed for seven years, and Erik Ruck is consistently landing a grabbed double back roll 180 on the cable. Between the cable and Sesitec System 2.0, I think we'll see a lot of new double flip variations off kickers, but I think we'll see a push behind boats as well — especially after everyone sees DEFY. Trust me, watching Danny Harf do doubles just makes you want to go try them right away.

To tell you the truth, I'm so pumped that double flips have this much momentum again. I've always loved trying them — whether I landed them or not. As you can imagine, the landings aren't always the friendliest, but it's a very rewarding feeling when you do get one. The very first time I tried a double half-cab roll was at a nighttime double-up contest. I just hucked it and somehow got back to my board but finally slipped out. That trick made me realize that you never know if a trick is actually possible until you try it. I just went from there, trying anything and everything — at least once. Words: Parks Bonifay Photos: Jason Lee