Grabbing your board has always been a way to personalize that often boring downtime between lift-off and touchdown for all board athletes. To the outsider these grabs seem to have little or no purpose. Those who participate in the activity know grabs serve a number of functions, the main being mastery of the situation. Through the years new grabs have been added to the previously extensive list; some are smooth and natural-looking while others look more like moves from a Twister game.
The crail falls right on the fence in this category. Executed properly and incorporated into the right move, a crail grab can be considered quite inspirational. But misused, rushed or done incorrectly they can look shabby to say the least.
The crail was initially popularized by Cobe Mikacich's signature crail tantrum in the mid-1990s. The move was seen repeatedly for almost two seasons in magazines, videos and competitions. It got to the point that other riders could predict Cobe's use of the move in advance. We are not sure if Cobe's love of this grab had something to do with a similar wrestling move, but you can ask him next time you see him.
Start with a smooth and progressive edge into the wake. As you hit the wake, extend your legs, making the most of your pop and taking your lift up not out. Once you have lift-off, bend your knees up toward your chest and reach down with your back hand.
Here is where things get a little difficult. Reach all the way across your body and take a firm grasp of your board in front of your front foot. Pretend you are sitting in the passenger seat of your best friend's Camaro and your arm is your seat belt strap. Most people reach across their front shin, and a few reach all the way across in front of their forward knee, but this is a bit excessive.
Once you have your board locked into a crail, try to stylize your position by straightening your back leg while keeping your front leg tucked up. Try to keep the board flat or even let the tail fly a little higher than the nose. Tail draggers are serious style deductions. Use a little gas on your approach so you can float it a bit. The longer you can hold this one, the better.