Control Your Spins

Photo: Joey Meddock

Learning to control your spins is one of the most important lessons in wakeboarding because it helps lessen the likelihood of injuries and hard, edge-catching crashes. With more control, you can also learn to grab your moves differently and add more rotations to keep your riding fresh and fun. I wasn't always a strong spinner, but I made a conscious effort to improve on my weakness. Now, spins are definitely one of my strengths. If you follow these suggestions, they'll be one of your strong points as well. — Ben Greenwood

Basis of control Two things initiate a controlled spin: moving the handle opposite of the direction you want to spin and advancing your hips into the handle. Two things will keep you from landing your spins: allowing your shoulders to drift in front of your hips in relation to the boat and trying to pull the handle to your hips rather than rolling your hips back into the handle. On spins, I never think about pulling the handle. Instead, I focus on using the line tension to roll my hips back into the handle. These two actions - moving the handle in the opposite direction, which initiates the spin, and advancing your hips toward the boat, which allows you to pass the handle - combine to create one controlled movement.

Check your head You also want to watch your head position. If your head turns first, your shoulders will follow, which will pull you off your axis. Your head should move last during most on-axis spins. While coaching, I tell students to leave their head behind, which means they should try to do as much of the spin as possible without their head leading the trick.

For starters If you've never tried spinning, mastering surface spins is one of the best ways to start. Surface spins help you get comfortable with all of the in-between positions that make up the spin you're trying to learn. For example, when students are learning their first heelside frontside 360 at The Wakeboard Camp (wakeboardcamp.com), we have them slide on the water at each 90-degree point throughout the spin. The reason is simple. If you understand the position your body needs to be in while facing away from the boat, you'll be more likely to keep your hips close to the handle and less likely to let your shoulders be pulled out of position. Practice on the water first, and then move to the air.

Add some style Once you're comfortable spinning with hip and handle control, you can add grabs and pokes to give your moves more style. I like to look at the board where I'm grabbing. By giving myself something extra to do off the top of the wake, I allow my axis to set before spinning.

There's more Get more of Greenwood's coaching tips at learnwake.com/bengreenwood.