Change where you look to dial your backside and frontside boardslides on a snowboard

This is a little tip I got from Rob Needham who taught me how to ride way back in the 90’s. 

Quite often when you start to move from a ride on to a side on features it can be tough to get fully committed boardslides. The feedback you get from the rail sliding in between your bindings can be unnerving and you often end up not wanting to get more than the nose of the board or the front foot touching the rail. 

For most side hits, just the front foot on the rail is not enough

For most side hits, just the front foot on the rail is not enough

You’ll most likely have the balance and the foundation of the trick in place on a box but the technicality of the feature can be intimidating resulting in not getting enough of your board or body over the feature to allow for an effective boardslide.

As you can see in the photo, even though I have my front foot on top of the rail, its not enough to hold the trick. My weight is off and I’m start to look off to the side of the feature, adding to my troubles. Imagine if I had my front foot a further 20cms over. It would have been a much better result.

To get the trick dialled you’ll need to start trusting your riding skills and push beyond just getting your front on the feature. 

Once you can get your front foot further over the rail the board will help support the trick and you’ll need to do less with your upper body to stay on the rail. One way to do this is to change where you look at takeoff. 

Change where you look at takeoff

Instinctively you place your foot where you look, so why not look to the other side of rail. That will draw your foot that little further over the rail, helping you get the trick.

Look to the other side of the rail to help board placement

Look to the other side of the rail to help board placement

Look to the other side of the rail to help board placement

Look to the other side of the rail to help board placement

It can seem weird at first to not look at the rail, but after a few attempts you’ll start to trust the board placement and you’ll commit more fully to the trick and start to relax. The tension will drop off and the trick will become more natural and you’ll have to worry less about where you’re looking and start to enjoy the move. 

You can see here that once I have my front foot over the other side of the tube I have a lot more support from the board and my upper body is more relaxed as I’m not having to work as hard to keep myself on the feature. Everything just flows. 

Although I’ve shown how this can work for a backside boardslide or backside noseslide, the same principle can be applied to a frontside boardslide or frontside noseslide. 


James Streater is the head coach and owner of Maverix Snow Ltd, providing year round snowboard instruction, coaching and personal development. He is part of a select group of professionals who hold the worlds highest snowsport qualification ISTD. Follow him on Instagram @maverixsnow