Solid Grabs, Less Pirouettes – Momo-Logue

Servus, I am Momski and I love having a board under my feet.
As my working life mainly focuses on management, structure, and optimization, I’ve been very lucky to have boardsports not only as a hobby but as my lifestyle, meditation, and creative outlet for more than 15 years now. Riding allows me to express myself. Sometimes I feel like a dancer following my choreography. My passion. To me boardsports are art and therefore having a good aesthetic is essential.

How beautiful is a nicely grabbed or shifted backside 180°?<<

There is nothing more inspiring to me than a creative line with clean tricks and a smooth, unique style.

Certainly, the difficulty and complexity of tricks do matter – and are highly impressive nowadays – but there are also other ways to improve our riding not only by going bigger, higher, and rotating faster. Not all of us have the talent or/and (lady) balls to go big and guess what, that is fine. There are still plenty of possibilities to progress by adding creativity and style to our moves and that’s when we start to develop our way of riding.

With this Momo-logue, I would like to share my experience in riding and coaching.

I hope I can inspire you to strive toward riding with a clean style while creating your individual choreography.

First things first: Beers, Boards, and Knees
Action sports ask a lot from us mentally, but also from our bodies. So make sure to stay in shape! I am not suggesting going to the gym every day, just to realize that the „Smoke and Beer“ solution I was practicing for a while did not protect my knees the same way some easy exercises would have. Be smarter than I was. You will feel robust and way stronger. You will be able to stomp tricks easily. By the way, your body will hurt less when you turn 30. Just saying …

I guess material (as well as the fitness and mental game aspect) are whole new topics, however, I really want to mention that if you start wakeboarding regularly you should consider a solid flexy wooden stick with – what is even more – well-fitted bindings (ask Maryh). I’ve never cared too much about the material, as long as there was a way to sneak it cheap and I know that you can not blame it on the board, as snowboarders in 1980 could spin 360 with a snurfer on a rope, however, do not try your best with an eBay bargain foamy from 1996 – this makes learning way too hard (but no regrets here).

Obviously, you will need a stylish outfit that goes with your vibe. Just remember, whether you wear your vest under or on top of your riding shirt, make sure to wear one. I have seen some wakeboarding in my life and believe me: it’s a lifesaver.

Style Essentials: Trick or Tweak

After clearing the basics, let’s get down to business. Whatever style you like or ride, there are some principle rules to follow:

Rule #1: Lock Into Your Tricks
The most important aspect of stylish riding is the self-determined beginning and end of a trick.
(N)Ollie in and out a rail trick – nice and clean – looks sexy and feels like (it actually is) the safer way of riding a feature.
Tricks work in steps of 90°. Officially there is no in-between. Correct me if I’m wrong, but so far I haven’t seen a graceful ‘feeble’ in wakeboarding. I think riders also clearly agreed on no more pre-spins. If you want to rotate, do it in the air (and air only).* Summing it up to the core rule of style: No Zeach.
Zeaching** a trick is like picking your nose: everyone does it sometimes, but it’s uncool and kind of embarrassing getting caught. Also, please stop doing uncontrolled ‘yolo-pulls’. Keep your eyes open and know the amount of degrees you are striving for…
*or get your buttering license
**Zeaching is the act of unclean riding in the form of pre-spinning or not solidly locked in slides.

Rule #2: Touching Is Not Grabbing
Make sure to grab your board with your whole hand and hold it tight.

Extend one leg for some extra style. Touching it with your fingertips only, simply doesn’t count as a grab. Some style icons even tweak it. First, try to shift it though.

My Tip: Bring your board to your hand (by bending your knee) not the hand to the board (you might lose your balance). <<
Do you already know nose, tail, and stalefish grabs inside out? Try a crail, seatbelt, or roast beef instead.
Additionally, you could combine them in high-quality double grabs. But pretty, pretty please remember the NO GRAB ZONE. A Tindy is nothing worth striving for. Seeing any kind of boot grabs is the reason I cry myself to sleep sometimes.

Rule #3: Copy and Create
Get inspired.
Follow a (lady) rider at your park and try the tricks she or he is doing. Watch videos of female and male riders to see what’s possible. Speaking of videos. Make some! And not (only) for the Gram, but to see what your riding looks like. You will be surprised how much seeing yourself improves your riding and style. After all the inspiration and self-analysis: Create!
As mentioned at the beginning, for me riding is a creative choreography. Many wake parks have a great playground nowadays, use it. String together your favorite maneuvers and find your flow. There are multiple ways to ride a feature. Try to ride a different line. For some groms that are 30 different spins in 30 seconds (from the dock). For me, it is carving. To each his own.

Rule #4: Feel It
Pushing yourself and your friends to get better is a good thing. However, remember to always listen to yourself. Often our sport is a mental game. The line between courage and overconfidence can be narrow. Take heart, but listen to it too. The moment you know (deep down) it will be sick, it most likely will be …

Rule #5: Smile
Last but definitely not least is the most important tip for you. Have fun and smile!
I know once in a while it can be oh so frustrating, scary, and simply too much. Don’t be so hard on yourself. In the end (most of us) wakeboard for fun and to enjoy and express ourselves.
Dancing your unique choreography is so much more fun and beautiful with a big smile on your face.

Style Basics:
Things You Might Already Know

Rule #1: Pivot Leg
By far the most common mistake that prevents newcomers from progressing is incorrect weight distribution on the board. Wakeboarding might feel like pow snowboarding sometimes, still generally in wakeboarding (as well as in snowboarding by the way) you put weight on your front leg. This is a basic requirement for effortless riding and all kinds of tricks. Yes. I am positive.

Rule #2: Bend Your Knees
Or as we call it: the universal rule of boardsports. Later you can choose one leg and extend the other to add style and increase trick diversity. However, make sure to never straighten both legs (principle of the levers).

My tip: Get down! The more you respect a trick, the “smaller” you should be in the in-run! <<

Rule #3: Learn to Ollie
A decade ago – when I just started wakeboarding – it took a minute for me to learn and admit that the ollie is key. Ollieing on a feature (back in the days we called them obstacles) will make the whole trick easier and safer.

My tip: do the ollie earlier than you think. Remember you have speed. It will get less hectic. Pinky Promise! <<

Rule #4: Ride Switch
Same thing, later concession. Please don’t try a 360° before a 180°. That is just the wrong order. Make sure to ride both sides in whole laps. It comes in handy for your trick repertoire and your body will highly appreciate an even load.

My tip: Open your shoulders and turn your upper body towards the riding direction. Weight is on your ‘new’ front leg. <<

Rule #5: Hang On
Let go of one hand (the backhand to start with) so you have the other hand free to balance and swing or for a stylish ‘Hook.’

My tip: Avoid dislocating your shoulder by keeping your upper body – especially your shoulder – down for blind tricks. <<

Written by MOMO Dudzinski