Ok so you’ve got that turn down? You’re able to get that board started into the rotation, if you can’t stop here and go back. Are you using a quad or a thruster on your wakesurf board? Do yourself a favor and remove the trailing fins. You can progress later and try it with the trailers back in, but let’s get you spinning like a top, first.
Now we’re going to move on to the next step and that is dragging your hand. You’d like to think this would be the same for everyone, but it’s not. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to adjust so that it works perfectly for you. As you follow along, you can also help your crew with their hand drag. Now the first thing to remember is that you’re just dragging your trailing hand. If you’re using two hands and that seems to help, it’s because you don’t have that turn down, go back and review the last post! When you use two hands, your upper body is no longer in alignment with the board and that will require you to “unwind” as the board catches up, typically stalling the rotation. So, I know it’s tempting, but it’s not helping!
Now everyone’s hands are different. Big guys with snow shovel hands plow a LOT more water than graceful fashion models, so there are two ways that you’ll adddress this. One is the length of time your hand is in the water and the other is pulling your hand through the water, like you’re swimming.
So, lets start in the middle, as you go into that turn, the one where you are turning the board 90 degrees, reach straight out and insert your hand into the water. Try not to bend over, or reach too far to get to the wake. If you really have to stretch, you need to start the turn a little closer to the wake. If you are super tall and have to lean way over to even reach the wake, well you can’t do this trick. No, try bending at the knees so that you are balanced over the board, just enough that your hand reaches the water.
Now insert your hand, just to the wrist, if you are plunging elbow deep, I guarantee you that you are all bent out of shape. Leaning over too much will make landing this trick tough. You want to use your hand mostly as a pivot point and NOT as a replacement for the wakesurf turn using your legs. Imagine for a moment that you are trying to walk a perfect circle around a pole, you’ll use your legs to help you turn around that pole, but grabbing it can keep your efforts focused and controlled. Are you ready?
Fade back to that spot that you’ve memorized, lean forward enough to gain some speed, wait for it, wait for it, turn up and in to the wake and add in the hand drag. It’s EASY to over think things at this point, there are so many steps going in, we like to tell folks to just do it, don’t try and think through the steps, just go out and try it as their first move behind the wake. Surprizingly enough, many folks come super close to landing it when they do it this way.
Here is a little visualization, I know the same stupid picture, but this is the most important part of the trick, the rest just happens if you get the entry right, so this is where you want to focus your attention. Now, we also want to introduce one final concept. In most tricks, you go where you look, so we need to be a little careful here…but you are going to be focusing on the peak of the wake. During the rotation, you are going to want to put your front foot on that peak and that will align you to finish the rotation perfectly. So just make a mental note of the riders eyes in this picture.
For all you right foot forwarders, here is the entry into the 360, by our good friend Dennis, wakesurfing the darkside. The timing of the picture is slightly different but you can see the hand drag, the turn and the focus on the peak.