Toeside Inverts

Toeside Inverts | Words: Brandon Judd | Photos: Bill Doster

Twist and Lean

It’s about time you learned some toeside tricks. We all know how easy it is to procrastinate and just focus on going big and sticking to the heelside tricks that we can do in our sleep — but those days are now behind us. To keep your riding from plateauing even further, you’ve got two options: You can either work on your switch riding, or you can get some more toeside tricks under your belt. Today, we’re going to help you with the latter — although you should also be continually looking at ways to chip away at your switch tricks, too.

We’ve selected two achievable toeside inverts for you to work on this summer: a toeside back roll and a toeside front roll. Before you get too far ahead of yourself, make sure you have a good toeside foundation before you thoughtlessly go throwing yourself at the wake. Ideally, you should have your toeside wake-to-wake jumps, toeside frontside 180s and toeside frontside shifties dialed before attempting these inverts. These prerequisites are more than just a check in a box. Learning each of these tricks will carry a specific skill over to your toeside inverts: Your toeside straight air will teach you the twist and lean you’ll need to hold through the takeoff and again on the landing; toeside frontside 180s will familiarize you with the unintentional frontside rotation caused by the increased line tension during the flip; and the toeside frontside shifty will teach you how to cancel out that unintentional frontside rotation midair, and return to a proper toeside landing position.

Aside from those on-the-water prerequisites, it would be wise of you to practice the goal invert on the trampoline, both regular and switch, and with 180s in either direction. This will give you an advantage when it comes to air awareness. After all, traveling 22 mph down the lake while being towed by a boat shouldn’t be the environment where you learn how to go upside down for the first time. So practice it on the trampoline with a spotter first —

it’ll be less risky and shorten your learning curve.

Toeside Back Roll

First up, the toeside back roll. Since this is probably the simplest toeside invert, it’s a great place to start. We looped in up-and-comer Gunner Daft to walk you through this invert step by step and help you troubleshoot some common mistakes. Gunner says, “For my toeside back roll, I edge out to the end of my line, then start with a nice progressive edge into the wake — keeping my chest up while approaching the wake and up through the takeoff. I try to stay patient through the takeoff and keep the handle pinned to my front hip to keep the rotation in control. Then, once I spot my landing, I open up, keeping my chest over my toes to land on edge.”

Easier said than done, right? When you try this trick, make sure that you keep your board twisted enough that it’s accelerating through the wake with the nose pointed in the direction you’re traveling. Otherwise, you may slip up the wake, over-rotate, case the second wake, and miss your pop — a common issue when learning. So hold the twist, load it up, and don’t rush the flip. For this flip, you can actually under-rotate a bit on purpose to help you edge away on your toes.

Another common issue is unintentional frontside rotation. Gunner explains, “I had a lot of trouble with unintentionally adding a frontside 180 while learning this trick. But once I learned how to keep the handle pinned to my front hip, it took that problem away instantly. You should also make sure you are looking straight back instead of throwing your head over one of your shoulders.”

Once you get it consistent, try adding some style with an indy grab. Gunner points out, “If you want to grab it, you have to make sure and ride all the way up the wake, feel the pop, bring your knees to your chest, and then throw your head back. Make sure and get the grab before you throw your head back; otherwise you’ll either over-rotate or miss the grab altogether.”

Find the Pop

Now that you understand how each flip functions, let’s get you to feel what you need to feel in order to replicate the pop at the wake with a low-impact drill for each flip.

Toeside Back Roll

Speaking from personal experience, Gunner says, “When I started trying the toeside back roll, I didn't really have anybody tell me how to do it, so I just went for it. It took me a few months to land it because I couldn’t stop myself from doing a frontside 180. It’s actually the first trick I got knocked out on! Learning it one-wake first is the best way to get comfortable with the takeoff and with going upside down in that direction, with less risk of injury.” For this drill, simply slow down to a comfortable speed and let your rope out as far as you can, where the face of the wake is clean. Then, starting at the bottom of the wake, with only your front hand on the handle, pump up and down the face of the wake a few times to get comfortable, and then load up a one-wake toeside back roll by edging all the way through the wake into the sky in a tall, hips-forward body position.

One-Wake Back Roll

Find the Pop

Now that you understand how each flip functions, let’s get you to feel what you need to feel in order to replicate the pop at the wake with a low-impact drill for each flip.

Toeside Front Roll

Jake points out, “In addition to learning a front flip on the trampoline, it’s best to learn frontside re-entry ollies before you try a toeside front roll. Doing these will help you practice the pop and get a feel for leaving the wake off of the tail of your board, like you would for the front roll.” If you’ve never done them before, simply start at the bottom of the wake, drift slowly up the face of the wake, and then, when you reach about three-fourths of the way up the transition, ollie hard off the balls of your feet toward the flats. Try to ollie as far away from the wake as possible. This is the pop feeling you’ll need to replicate during your front roll attempts. Once you’ve got them dialed, try a few with two hands on the handle, since that will better mimic the takeoff position for the front roll. Sounds easy enough, right? Give it a go!

Re-Entry Ollie