It takes courage, commitment and, preferably soft snow, to master the backflip. Faye Young gives her tips on how to flip.
A great way to practise is to visit your local trampoline park, that way you can get used to the feeling of flipping and being upside down with minimal risk of injury.. If you can find an airbag to try it on that's even better as it will help boost your confidence loads. After you have spent some time on the trampoline and feel ready to take it to the snow then, ideally, you want some powder. It's going to make it a lot less scary knowing that you have a soft landing.
If you really want to master the backflip you have to be 100% committed to the trick. It's going to be really dangerous if you are second guessing yourself or feeling like you're not going to land it. To avoid injury you need to really focus and tell yourself that even if your take off doesn't feel great you're still going to commit to the flip and, at least, get round. It's all in your head so make sure you are confident in yourself!
A backflip is basically a 360° rotation so believe in yourself and go for it.
There are two types of backflip - a barrel roll and a wildcat. The barrel roll is the best starting point as it will feel similar to how you have been flipping on a trampoline. So find yourself a nice spot - ideally you want a steep take off to help give you a bit of a kick. If you have the powder then give yourself some time to build your own kicker as they do take longer than you think to build!
Follow these eight steps for stomping a clean back flip, like Josh Cook, shown in slowmo in the video, below.
1) On the run in, stay nice and relaxed and low - as you reach the lip of the kicker pop and extend your legs as you take off.
2) Throw your head back (you really need to throw your head back or you won't make the full rotation).
3) You can use your arms to help get the momentum while you learn the trick but don't rely fully on throwing your arms to get the trick round. The commitment needs to come from your head.
4) Make sure you don't throw it too early as you will lose some of your momentum. Time it well and only throw it at the end of the jump.
5) Generally wherever your eyes look, your body follows so stick to one place don't try and turn your head to the side, keep it looking straight back.
6) With the hardest part over you should be able to spot your landing. Now, if you feel like you have under rotated, then tuck up or, if you have over rotated, then straighten your body up to slow the flip down.
7) To land and ride away your board needs to be pointing down the hill and if you have rotated nice and smoothly without going off axis then this should be easy. Your aim is to land on your toe edge so you can lock the landing and then let your heels come down flat.
8) Remember to absorb the impact and try your best to ride away a few metres so you can claim it properly!
If the conditions aren't right don't try it. You don't want to be throwing yourself off a super icy jump with a rock hard landing! Try and get a friend to film your attempts so you can watch it back afterwards and see if you are doing it right or not. Good luck and be safe!
JOSH COOK is an Xscape Castleford local and definitely one to watch out for. At the Brits in Laax he just bagged a Bronze medal in his age category for the Slopestyle event. At 15 years old, he is already a top rider with a good mix of rail and kicker tricks. He will go far. Literally.
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