After learning to straight air off jumps, you’re going to start experimenting with tweaking your body and grabbing your snowboard, so let’s go over one of the most common tweaks, the ‘shifty’ and the big mistake people make when learning to shifty.
What’s a shifty?
A shifty is simply a counter-rotation with your body while you’re in the air. You turn your upper body one way and your lower body turns the other way, similar to how to lock in a frontside boardslide to regular.
Here’s what a standard shifty looks like (we’ll ignore his hand waving and bad style since I couldn’t find a better video example):
The video above is the most basic shifty which is done while doing a straight air over a jump. You can see his lower body shifts 45 degrees one way and his upper body turns 45 degrees the other way, then as he approaches the landing he shifts his body back and lands.
You can insert shiftys into more advanced tricks too.
For example, here’s a double shifty in the middle of a 360 (notice his body does 2 shiftys in the middle of his 360 rotation), this looks super stylish when done right:
Let’s ignore the double shifty today since it’s a pretty advanced trick, but I just wanted to show you what’s possible with styling out tricks once you really master the shifty and apply it to harder tricks.
The mistake when learning to shifty:
Okay, so the basic shifty while doing a straight air (video 1) is actually pretty simple, it’s just a simple counter-rotation of your body in the air, but everyone screws it up when they first try to learn the shifty.
The mistake they make is they start to shift their body into the shifty position as they ride up the take-off ramp of the jump.
This is bad because you need to hit jumps with your body squared up (hands over nose and tail) and pop correctly… you can’t really be balanced when you’re riding up the jump and trying to pop while your upper body is rotated in some random direction.
Thankfully, this mistake has a simple fix: Don’t rotate until you’ve popped off the jump and are in the air.
This is a very similar mistake to the common snowboard grab mistake because you’re basically doing the trick way too early and it’s screwing up your balance.
If you want to do a shifty, hit the jump like you normally would for a straight air. Your body shouldn’t rotate or move any differently until you’re already in the air. Only once you’re airborne should your upper and lower body counter-rotate into the shifty position.
This is a general rule you can apply to almost every tweak or grab trick off a jump. The tweak or grab should be applied IN THE AIR, never before the actual trick.
Think of the tweak or grab as a mid-air add-on to the current trick. Everything during your straight air is exactly the same except the airborne section where you’re adding your tweak/grab to make it more stylish.
By keeping your tweak and grab movements to only the airborne section of your jump tricks, it’s not interfering with your execution of the actual trick.
Good luck and I hope this helps you stomp those shiftys and tweaks.