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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Riding the Plank | Snowboard Jumps | Flight = Freedom

snowboard jumpsBy: Brian Negele

Learning how to do a proper heel turn, a toe turn, carve...then, finally carving at high speeds, is just the obvious progression in boarding. What really breaks the gap between that and bigger and better things? Well... that would be jumping!

Being able to jump your snowboard is truly exhilarating.  From the point of learning the snowboard form of the Ollie, (ie popping a skateboard off the ground as a gateway to every other trick in the book) to understanding the act of "pop", to learning the dynamics of the board, and finally ejecting yourself into the pure joy of defying gravity. Flight = freedom!

The approach to jumping should be taken in baby steps. We didn't learn how to walk before crawling. OK, so we're older now and we've been walking for years, thus growing bored with it.  We want something that will give us a thrill in an 'aware' state of mind.  We are all freaked by the thought of hitting that first jump - just as we were by taking that first step... the fear of falling along the path to success.  Then, we tell ourselves, "Hey, I learned how to walk, why can't I learn how to jump a plank with metal edges secured to my feet being self-hurled through the air?"

I will certainly admit it, however, I was afraid to start the process toward that higher freedom - especially when it came to the bigger lippy jumps scattered around the terrain park like a gauntlet awaiting the trial of a knight.  So, I started small. Off feedback from fellow [much better] riders, I practiced Ollies in my bedroom to work on the "pop" aspect (and because all I wanted to do was to be on a snowboard).

You know, riding into the jump can be just as intimidating as jumping. Accompanied by speed, you head straight towards something your brain perceives as a wall. Building up your confidence and control, you throw in a speed check for good measure combined with everything you have taken in about jumping, just to execute a mere up-and-then-down-again action. Now, you cruise in faster than you think you should. You steady your head. You clear your gut and your knees are bent and loaded with the potential of radness. You race closer to that 'Wall'. As the runway unnoticingly turns into a launch pad, your mind suddenly realizes that the 'Wall' is just some illusion. Quickly, you pull up with your front foot first, to initiate pop. That is followed by your back foot lifting to create propulsion (one foot in front of the other) for a stable and straight flight right through the boundless sky...

Next week:  Please tune in for the landing.