How to: Frontside 50/50 on a Snowboard

For a lot of riders the frontside 50/50 will feel like the most comfortable start to hitting rails and boxes from the side. We discussed an alternative trick in a previous blog, however, for those looking to try a frontside 50/50, then here are a few tips to improve your chances of success.
Firstly lets be clear on the trick. A frontside 50/50 is where the feature faces your chest and you jump onto it from the side and land even weight between both feet, on top and parallel with the feature.

Choice of Feature

When trying them for the first time pick a low feature. If it’s round you can ride the sides and you do not need to be as accurate when you land. If the feature is low you can come off early and get grip from the snow to stop you falling. Ideally the kicker should go a little beyond the start of the feature. That way you do not need to travel as far before you get onto the rail. Plus you can jump straight (pop) on from the side.

Approach line

This is crucial. Plan your attack. Side hits are the most technical and challenging part of jibbing, so you want to be focused and ready. Stop in front of the feature to the side you’ll want to be getting onto. That’s the right side for goofy and the left side for regular riders. As you drop in you should aim the board to the end of the feature. It should be a nice shallow angle.

The most common mistake I see is people trying to get onto the feature at the earliest possible point. Think about the trajectory of your board. If you’re aiming to the centre of the feature then your momentum will carry you straight over and off the feature, or you end up in an unintentional frontside boardslide. Not the best when you’re not really sure what to expect.

Move your feet and shoulders

Lets start with the shoulders. The simple fact is if you jump onto the feature you’ll want to move your shoulders with your feet/board, otherwise you’re not going to be balanced when you land. Sounds like common sense, but you’d be amazed at how many people have trouble or forget to do this. The basic plan should be to keep you shoulders over your toes. To accurately place your board on the feature your going to need to add a little bit of frontside rotation (right for goofy, left for regular). The trajectory you’ve set with your line in will mean your front foot will end up on top of the feature quite nicely, but your back foot will need to move to come into line with the feature for the landing.

Aim for both feet to land, i.e the board at the same time. Quite often people have a heavy back foot. They lift or pop the front foot onto the feature as that is their key focus but forget what’s left behind.

Feature Angle

Strangely it can be easier to get onto a slightly sloped feature than a flat one. If you look at the line your board will take off the jump on a down rail it will carry you into the centre of the feature. If you hit a flat feature you need to provide more lift as your board travels more down the feature rather than over and above.

The only downside to this, is your speed. You’ll need to watch other people hit the feature to gauge the appropriate speed. With a down rail the start of the feature will be sticking out of the kicker quite high in some cases. If you go in very slow, then you’ll need to pop/ollie and lift the board more than usual to get over that first section of the feature.

It’s common for this to happen, as you’ll be cautious about doing the trick. A tiny bit more speed will float you onto the feature will minimal effort. Plus it can compensate for a weaker ollie or pop. Remember with side hits, start small and work your way up, and if you want some help, why not join one of our courses.