How to do a backside 360…make sure you are on your toe edge and look round is what most of the “trick tips” say. As much as this is helpful, if you’re trying but not landing them, this will not really help you in the slightest. Backside 360's are something that I see a lot of people struggle with, there is a big difference between the backside 180 and backside 360, and a lot of people find it hard to make the adjustments needed to land the full 360.
From experience I feel there are a few areas of weakness when it comes to backside 360's. In order of importance they are:
Front arm blocking rotation
Lack of pre-wind
Poor posture and pop
These issues often result in the following outcomes:
Sliding out on your heel edge on the landing
Landing 270 off the jump
Catching your heel edge at take-off
Drifting as you take-off the jump
I find the approach is the most important element of any kicker trick. We often discuss this on courses and recently we’ve made some significant improvements in our clients skills with some new techniques. For this article I’m going to focus on the other issues, so if you’ve had a go at back 360's this might help you nail them and move onto the even more fun backside 540.
Front arm blocking
This often happens in the last 180 of the rotation. You initiate the rotation similar to a backside 180, but your shoulders stay in that starting position and the rest of the body catches up and try’s to complete the rest of the 360. In this instance your shoulders will shift from over your toes at take-off to your heels as the front arm holds you back on the landing. That often results in a landing heavily on your heels and sliding out on the landing.
Grab Mute (front hand grabbing the toe edge between your feet)
You will be required to put in more power at takeoff to achieve the rotation. Your aiming to grab just after you’ve left the jump. Although initially tougher than just trying the force the 360 round it will help in maintaining your shoulders over the toes and ultimately result in a much better more balanced rotation.
Initiate rotation with your back shoulder
With an effective pre-wind you can get way more power in the rotation by using your back shoulder to drive the spin. The back shoulder can partly block the spin, so just using the front arm swinging to your back pocket cannot break through that block. You can use more core strength and be open to more rotation with a focus on the back shoulder. Imagine someone is trying to rugby tackle you. You’re trying to fend off that attack by pushing backwards with your back arm. Remember this movement should be flat. The board will follow your shoulder angle. If you dip or lift your shoulders too much you will cork the rotation.
Spiral your arms
Work on the trying backside 360's in a traverse across the hill on your toe edge. You’ll have to work for these, but it will help with holding an edge on the kicker and how much power you need to get the board round. Pre-wind your arms, so you have your front arm behind you and and back arm in front. As you pop and spin try to spiral your arms into your body. Your front hand should travel somewhere near your back pocket.
Lack of pre-wind
A lot of people get into one mode of riding a kicker. If you do a lot of backside 180's your shoulder and arms will most likely be quite relaxed and not doing much to assist rotation. For a 360's' and above especially on small jumps you need to get your arms, shoulders, hips and head helping you round. So you need to build up that skill set without going mental off a jump or just being too relaxed and not get enough spin. In the photo the rider should be more straight up the kicker and have his arm the opposite way to allow for the best possible assistance for the rotation, i.e right arm over heel edge and left arm over toe edge.
Traverse pre-wind drills
A lot of people cannot effectively use pre-wind without it influencing the movement of the board. This is obviously not great if your riding up a kicker. Try traversing on your toe edge with a ‘clean’ carved edge. Pre-wind and then unwind your arms in a similiar way that you’ll be doing on a jump. Get that dialled then try to add in a backside 180 spin. You can then build up to traversing 360's, still maintaining a clean edge and not wobbling all over the place at take-off.
Drop your front shoulder
To help focus attention on your rotation look to balance out your board in the air with a slight dip of your front shoulder at take-off. Often the board will follow the profile (angle) of your shoulders. So if you leave the jump with your shoulders at the same angle as the kicker then as you land you’ll be in the same position. Dipping the shoulder will enable the board to match up to the landing more effectively. Try this with backside 360's on the piste before you do it on a kicker to avoid the diving off the lip.
Poor posture and pop
This often centres around a break (bend) at the waist as you try to focus on the pop. Worst case this results in a big carve and leaving the jump at a weird angle. Other common problems are finding the centre of your board. A backside 360 requires an even weight pop off both feet. If your weight is more over your back foot you can end up catching your heel edge at take-off as you drag your back foot around and you start to pop off your heel edge. When you take off aim to keep your head up so you can see your landing at the earliest possible moment. In the photo you can notice the rider is very low, broken at the waist with his back arm is trailing throwing too much weight over the toe edge, increasing the pre-rotation that is happening.
Back arm lift
As you start your pre-wind you should aim to keep your back arm up and parallel with the slope. The will reduce the chance of your breaking at the waist.
Traverse along the slope on your toe edge and pop (jump). Your weight should be evenly distributed between both feet. You should not ollie for this drill. Don’t just do the odd pop. Try and complete a few every time your on your toe edge. You’ll soon feel when you have it right.
I hope some of these tips help. In the main part you won’t really know your doing many of these things, so get a mate to video from behind and in front of the jump. That way you’ll start to pick up the issues and can more easily correct them. Have fun trying them and drop into a course if your still having trouble and want some more tips.