While practice makes perfect, it also makes boring. One of the best ways to get better is the opposite of practice: trying completely different moves that are beyond your ability. Newness shocks the mind, which helps to break old habits and discover new secrets. For jumpers, the one footed back loop (invented by Kevin Pritchard) can add that newness – and fun! Also, just by trying the one footed backloop, you might learn the tricks to landing the normal backloop.
Words Graham Ezzy // Photos John Carter
Before trying the one footed backloop, you must be comfortable rotating backloops. You don’t need to land backloops consistently but you can’t just huck it and hope. No good comes from being in the air, out of control, and attached to the board with just one foot.
Hit a steep wave as if going for a normal backloop, steering the board straight up into the sky. Keep your body tucked (knees and elbows bent) for extra control. Once comfortably airborne, take your front foot off the board. Keep your leg bent and close to your body for more control.
Do: Make sure that your front foot is loose in the strap and easy to remove before you hit the ramp.
Don’t: Don’t look down as you remove your foot. Don’t swing the leg hard into the wind otherwise you will rotate too soon.
Continue going straight up. Let your arms lengthen as the sail becomes a wing. Look up into the sky so that the sail drives up and not sideways. At this point, you might feel a temptation to look at your foot. Resist!
Do: If you feel confident, extend your front leg straight down in a kicking motion. Otherwise, keep the leg bent and close to your body for more control.
Don’t: Don’t start rotating too soon. Don’t look at your foot!
As you come to the apex of the jump, slowly bring your front leg back towards the board. At the same time, use your arms to pull your body close to the rig and start edging into the eye of the wind.
Do: Bend your knee to avoid disrupting the balance of the rig as you move your leg.
Don’t: Don’t point your leg into the wind because that will change the pivot point of the back loop, making the entire rotation more likely to over-rotate.
At the apex, sheet in and rotate into the wind. The key to the entire move is getting your foot back on the board before descent. The fall of a back loop is much harder to control than the ascent, and having a leg dangling off the board does not help. The board naturally transitions from above you to below you, and during this process, the board comes closer to your front foot, offering the perfect moment to get your foot back on the board.
Do: Look at your foot as it goes back (finally!). Move both the foot closer to the board while the board moves closer to the foot.
Don’t: Don’t keep your foot extended. Don’t forget to rotate. Don’t panic if you miss the footstrap with your foot.
Spot your landing. Sheet in to slow down the rotation. If you missed the footstrap, keep your foot on the board. You will be surprised how much control you have out of the strap. I miss the strap about 50% of the time.
Do: Turn your head to see where you will land.
Don’t: Don’t sheet out or you might over rotate. Don’t let your front foot come off the board.
Point the nose downwind. Sheet in and start extending your front arm. Land on the nose of the board so that you disperse energy into the water, softening the landing. If the landing is not clean, you can push your front leg off the board and into the water to stabilize and steer the rig. If it is not already there, put the foot back in the strap as you sail away.
Do: Keep the back knee bent for a softer landing. Compress your body as you hit the water to absorb the impact.
Don’t: Don’t land on the tail of the board, especially if your front foot is not in the strap.
Thankyou to GRAHAM EZZY