Yeah, Raleys are cool. So are S-bends and tantrums and vulcans. But spin moves are by far the most underrated wakeboard maneuvers on the trick list. Incredibly stylish and a lot harder than most of the invert tricks, spinning is an area of riding that everyone always needs to work on. Why? The handle pass. It’s incredibly easy to throw off your axis when you’ve got both hands behind your back trying to pass a handle. And it’s not just 360s and 540s either. It’s and mobes and Pete Roses and Raleys-to-blindside.
“Spin moves are fully cooler than inverts,” says spinmaster Thomas Horrell. “Once you can throw a flip you can huck yourself and huck the board around and make it almost every time. A spin is so much harder because you’ll miss the handle or pop off weird or something. So much more can go wrong. Besides, spins get the chicks. Yeah, spins are neato.”
Still have doubts? Well, take a look at Byerly’s 720 in the new Skurf’s Up video. If that isn’t fully the most insane move you’ve ever seen in your life, maybe you should think about taking up a new sport.
Even though 180s are pretty simple and most people can do them after a few times on the water, you’ve got to learn good solid technique on 180s to start turning 360s, 5s and even 720s. P.J. Marks of the Wakeboard Camp in Clermont, FL says the technique you use on your approach to a 180 shouldn’t be much different than on a basic jump. He tells his students to do a slow turn, let the board accelerate, edge through the wake and hit the wake standing tall. The key here is to not squat and jump. Edge and keep your hips up toward the handle. On your first spins, it’s easier if you are straight up and down. Marks says to think of how a figure skater looks doing spins. You can add style like grabs and pokes later. Another important thing is to keep your handle in close to your body because it is easier to rotate.
Pop off the wake before you think of spinning. Every instructor says it’s crucial to jump up first. A lot of people try to rotate right off the wake; that just throws your axis off. You should jump up first and use the handle to turn you by pushing it to whichever hip you want to end up leading when you land. If you want to spin left, push the handle to the right hip and vice versa.
Follow through and land on the edge that is away from the boat. This will keep you from spinning out on your landings. Note in both sequences the riders are doing this. Hunter Brown starts on his heelside edge for the backside 180, then lands on his toeside edge; Scott Jobe starts on his toeside edge and lands heelside. Both riders in the sequences didn’t start their spins until they were in the air, and both let go with a hand. A lot of people say it is easiest to let go with your front hand because it will pull your front shoulder to the boat (as Hunter Brown does in the top sequence), but you can even let go with your back hand and get the half spin around like Jobe does at the bottom. Marks teaches people to hold on the handle with both hands. He says, “If you let go with a hand, your shoulders open up and you come off your edge. This causes you to land on your opposite edge and slip out. Try holding on with both hands if you are having trouble on the landings.”