Melon Grab

A KEY TRICK FOR RIDING & FREESTYLE

How to Backside Shifty

A backside shifty is one of those really useful skills that supports your normal riding and a feeds nicely into your freestyle.

If we think of a snowboarder comprised of two distinct areas separated by their belly button then we have the lower half which is your hips, legs and feet (board) and the upper half which is your torso, arms and head.

As a rider these two areas need to communicate and work in unison to ride a board fluidly or perform certain tricks. Yet, for some movements or tricks these two areas need to work independently. Thats where a lot of people struggle. The idea of separation, i.e rotating your lower body independently of your upper body is tough skill for many people to grasp.

Thats why certain really cool tricks like a frontside boardslide, frontside lipslide or a method are difficult to initially pin down. You need to have the flexibility, strength and control to initiate and hold that separation. This is where the backside shifty comes in useful.

Although on the face of it a Backside Shifty seems like a throw away trick the foundations developed through perfecting it will provide key building blocks for those iconic tricks.

Approach

Start directly behind the kicker at a point that will enable you to safely land on the table top or just over the knuckle on a straight air. Aim to have your weight more biased to the toe edge with your upper body aligned with the board as you ride up the kicker.

Takeoff

As you travel up the kicker maintain a compact body to enable easier separation. Point your front hand over the kicker and be ready to use your back arm as the main rudder to initiate the separation between the upper and lower body.

Trick

Look to twist your lower body in the opposite direction to your upper body. The heel edge of your board should end up facing downhill. Practise off the board first to gain a feel for the separation. Think of the move as being similar to kicking a ball behind you with your back leg.

Landing

Use the same counter rotation to bring the board back underneath you for a safe landing. Be ready to absorb the landing with a focus towards a soft landing on the toe edge to enable control and then ease the board to flat if required absorbing more through your legs than your back.

Try and remain compact when you're in the air. You can see in this picture that my legs are up as if I wanted to grab the board. This keeps my centre of mass over the board I feel more stable and in control.

Quite often riders will try to shifty with straight legs and end up throwing themselves off balance. Think of the sequence as pop/ollie, suck legs up, rotate hips into the shifty and then rotate hips/board back underneath you for the landing.

Key Check Points

  1. Maintain a compact body in the air to aid separation
  2. Look to keep the board flat and your front hand pointing down the slope during the trick
  3. Separation comes from the hips and legs rather than the shoulders. The counter swing of the arms helps initiate the separation. 

Final Thought

Once you have these on lock it can be a great kicker warm up move that will set you apart from the crowd and also act as the final stage prior to a Method which as we all know if the one of the most iconic snowboard tricks.

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