Unlock your snowboard spins with pre-wind and timely un-wind

I’ve discussed in a previous blog the effectiveness of a suitable approach line in making spins easier. If that line is starting to come together then you’ll want to pay more attention to how your arms assist or hinder the trick at takeoff. This would be through a pre-wind and un-wind of the arms. 

Riders struggle with a number of things in relation to their arms. In this article I’ll discuss a suitable position for the arms just before takeoff. The timing of the un-wind and the way the arms un-wind.

Pre-wind arm position for Goofy riders

For backside spins off the toe edge you’ll want to have your back-arm in front of you and front arm just by your front hip. Have a look at the picture below to see the positioning. Although James is executing a Backside Rodeo you can see the placement of the arms, as this is still a backside focused rotation.

James Waterman (Les Deux Alpes, France) Backside Rodeo Goofy arm position

James Waterman (Les Deux Alpes, France) Backside Rodeo Goofy arm position

For frontside spins it would be the opposite. Your front arm would be slightly in front of you and your back arm just by your back hip.

Pre-wind arm position for Regular riders

For frontside spins on the heel edge your front arm would be slightly in front of you and your back arm just by your back hip.

Regular rider preparing for a frontside spin

Regular rider preparing for a frontside spin

For backside spins off the toe edge your front arm would be slightly in front of you and your back arm just by your back hip.

Billy Morgan (Mayrhofen, Austria) — Regular rider preparing for a backside spin

Billy Morgan (Mayrhofen, Austria) — Regular rider preparing for a backside spin

In addition you should notice that the riders are prepped for spinning with their upper body but have NOT started to turn their board towards the rotation, or become too hunched over their boards. They’re on a carved edge and their board will not do much rotation until they reach the lip of the jump. They spin in the air not on the jump.

Un-wind timing

The key is to prepare for the spin, hold a clean approach line and then un-wind for the rotation as the nose of your board reaches the lip of the jump. NOT BEFORE.

Garlos Garcia Knight (Absoluet Park, Austria)— Regular Frontside pre-wind

Garlos Garcia Knight (Absoluet Park, Austria)— Regular Frontside pre-wind

Garlos Garcia Knight (Absoluet Park, Austria) — Regular Frontside un-wind at the lip

Garlos Garcia Knight (Absoluet Park, Austria) — Regular Frontside un-wind at the lip

The key is to be patient and not want the spin too much as you’ll most likely start opening up as you travel up the jump. This will result in a number of problems including:

  • Blocking with the front or back arm as you try and finish the rotation.
  • Loosing speed as you scrub up the takeoff.
  • Drifting off the jump as you’ve started turning too early.
  • Catching at edge on the lip of the jump.
Rowan Coultas (Mayrhofen, Austria) — Goofy backside pre-wind and un-wind

Rowan Coultas (Mayrhofen, Austria) — Goofy backside pre-wind and un-wind

Un-winding for basic spins

The board wants to follow the shoulders. If you throw your arms up as you un-wind you’re going to rotate off axis. Keep things simple. If your going for a standard flat spin try to swap the arm position as you leave the lip without dropping or lifting the shoulders too much. If you find your landing too much on your tail or nose make a suitable takeoff shoulder angle change. You can see the influence of the shoulders in the sequence shot of Rowan above.