If I had to guess, I’d say I probably work on methods more than I work on any of my hardest tech tricks. It’s not because methods are difficult to master but because it’s a trick that offers unlimited possibilities. Every time I do a method, I can tweak it a different way or poke it a little more. Every single time, I get to make it my own, and, for me, that’s the best part of wakeboarding. I see a lot of young riders who focus on learning the hardest technical tricks but could care less about grabbing their boards. Hey, I get it; we all want to win contests. If you ask me, though, you aren’t doing yourself or the sport any favors by skipping the steps that lead to better style and more diverse riding. I’m not saying you shouldn’t strive for that Moby Dick 5. Keep working on those tech tricks, but take some time every session to see how far you can tweak a method or poke out a stalefish. Your riding will look infinitely better for it. In this wakeboard how to, learn three of my favorite simple-yet-stylish tricks that you can take from basic to badass. Words: JD Webb Photos: Ryan Taylor
Switch 180 Melon Rewind
Inside one of JD’s go-to style tricks for photo shoots for going on eight years.
Step by Step Take a progressive edge all the way through the top of the wake. When you leave the wake, grab melon and pull the handle to the small of your back, which will spin you about 270 degrees so your back is facing the boat. To unwind, move the handle back to your front hip and twist your hips and upper body back around. Finally, land and edge away on your toes.
Hold On I try to hold the grab as long as possible. I grab it super early off the top of the wake and hold it as long as I can without catching my back edge. I don’t think about letting go until I start to turn back to land.
Get Started I started doing melon frontside 180s and thought it would look cool if I twisted it more out the back. I kept going further and further until I caught my back edge. When you catch your edge, you know you’ve gone too far and might want to slow it up a bit.
Want perfect? PracticeJust because you can touch your board, it doesn’t mean you’ve done the trick to its full capacity. If you want to learn a crow 5, you’re going to practice it until it’s consistent. Just like anything else in wakeboarding, you have to work at making your tricks look better.
There’s a reason you see so many stalefishes in Sessions. It’s as simple as they come and has loads of style potential.
Step by Step Take a progressive edge through the top of the wake and grab stalefish when you leave the wake. Suck up your front knee and kick out your back foot so your back leg is fully extended. It looks a little goofy if you keep a stalefish under your body, so I really try to push it out in front of me.
Grab Great When I learn a new trick, I first make sure I’m getting a legit grab. From indy and melon to tail and stalefish, make sure the grab is in the right spot.
Fundamentals First Great style doesn’t just happen. We all have to start somewhere, and your first grab isn’t going to look very good. Just like anything else, though, you’re going to have to work at it. The better you ride switch and the more comfortable you are on the board in general, the better your riding will look down the road.
Look at It Seeing yourself do a trick always helps, so having your buddies shoot photos or video is a good idea. A trick might feel great in the air, but when you look back at it, you might realize it doesn’t look anything like it feels. By seeing it, you’ll realize that “I need to tweak my leg a little bit more or poke it a little bit more,” and you’ll be able to progress the trick.
Switch 180 Nosebone
Nothing says style like taking tricks big and into the flats, and few tricks look better than a huge nosebone.
Step by Step You want to wait just a hair before grabbing this one. I wait until my board is at about a 90-degree angle off the top of the wake. Grab the nose and try to pull the board into your hip while straightening your back leg out as much as possible for the poke.
Keep Control If you let the handle get too far away, you’re going to fall on your heels a lot. Focus on keeping the handle in your hip and make sure you get your chest back over your toes so you land on your toes for a soft landing.
Go Big Once you have grabs dialed in, the only place to go is bigger. But before you start taking grabs big into the flats, make sure you can go big into the flats. Practice taking big wake jumps into the flats without grabbing your board. When you’re comfortable, slowly add on grabs like melons, tails pokes and indy shifties. As you start to go bigger, the more you let the handle out, the harder it is to keep your board underneath you, so make sure to keep the handle close to your body.
Shake Things Up When I’m trying to get something perfect, I don’t just go out and do the same trick over and over. That would get boring. There are sets, however, where I’ll work on learning new grabs and big, floaty tricks without ever doing an invert.