If you’re a snowboarder learning how to do a 360, you’ll know that one of the biggest issues is getting a smooth 360 rotation. It’s THE issue really.
There’s a lot of throwing your hands all over the place and twisting your body to try to force that 360 rotation around, but if you’ve been in the park you’ll know that a forced, ugly 360 looks nothing like the 360 you see the local pros doing.
You want that smooth, effortless 360 rotation, so today let’s tackle the biggest reason behind not getting enough rotation.
Okay, so first, what do we know about carving into a 360 spin?
The average beginner who’s watched a trick tip video knows this:
- Carve up the jump toeside to spin backside
- Carve up the jump heelside to spin frontside
That’s the basics of a 360, besides combining it with pop, a little bit of wind up and timing right? Okay, so here’s the thing…
The secret to an effortless 360 rotation
Honestly, getting a 360 rotation actually requires next to no effort to spin off a jump IF you get your carve line into the jump correct.
Now don’t get me wrong, you still need to learn to pop properly and you still have to put together everything with the right timing, but it’s your carve line off the jump that makes your board want to spin that 360.
Everything else is adding to that rotation, but it’s your carve that’s making you rotate in the first place.
I can talk about it forever, but a picture says a thousand words, so here is a bird’s eye view of exactly what your carve line should look like when you go for a backside or frontside 360:
Note: Please do not be intimidated by my amazing drawing skills.
Correct carve line for 360s:
ps – I’m a regular foot rider, so reverse the backside and frontside labels if you’re a goofy rider.
So, what do all these fancy lines and labels mean and how does this help me? Let’s explain this properly:
1) X marks your final carve
That yellow x is basically where I start my final carve up the jump.
So if I’m doing a backside 360, that x is where I swap to my toeside edge and toeside carve up the jump ramp. Similarly, if I’m doing a frontside 360, that x is where I swap to my heelside edge and start my final carve.
Okay, with that in mind, let’s look at my carve line even further.
2) Don’t approach the jump ramp from the middle of the run-in
Notice how in both my frontside and backside 360 I’m approaching from 1 side of the run-in? There’s a good reason for this and it’s to do with how carving works.
We know we need to carve to spin right? So for example, if we want to spin a backside 360, we carve toeside up the launch ramp.
Well, what happens if you do a toeside carve from the middle of the jump? Well, this is what a backside 360 carve looks like if I were to approach from the middle of the jump:
Obviously you don’t want to follow the above line because you’re going to fly off the jump sideways and miss the landing.
So this exposes the big mistake a lot of people make when trying to carve up the jump.
Being on an edge is not carving.
Many people think they’re carving, even though they aren’t really carving. There’s a difference between riding on your edge and carving.
For example, if you’re on your toeside edge, but not turning toeside, you aren’t carving toeside. You’re entering the jump on your toes, but that’s not a toeside carve.
A LOT of people do this when learning 360s and it’s the reason they struggle with getting enough rotation. They set themselves up for that final carve, then hop onto their edge and just ride off the jump thinking they’re carving.
There’s no carve and that’s why they have to force the 360.
How and when do I carve then?
Okay, so let’s look at the first diagram again. Up until that yellow X, I’m actually still on my setup edge.
So for example, if we look at my backside 360 carve, up until I’m already riding up the launch ramp, I’m STILL on my heel edge.
Here’s what’s happening:
- I’m coming into the jump on an angle from the right side of the run-in
- I’m coming in on my heel edge
- At the ‘X’ I’m swapping to my toes and starting my toeside carve
- My carve corrects my angle so I ride off parallel with the jump as I pop into that spin
That’s basically my ideal carve into the jump for a backside 360. If you were doing a carve for a frontside 360, it’s just about reversing the edges (toeside becomes heeledge) and I’d approach from the left side instead of the right.
The main thing to remember:
You can do whatever speedchecks and everything else you need before you reach the jump, but by the time you start getting close to the upslope of the ramp you should be on one side of the jump and approaching for your final edge swap and carve.
The carve is the key. Don’t just roll onto your edges. Get your approach line right and make sure you’re carving up that jump.