Snowboard Spin Breakdown: Which Should You Learn First – Frontside Or Backside Spins?

Today’s reader question:

I’m just starting to learn jumps and 180s, should I be focusing on frontside or backside first?

Honestly, that’s up to you, neither is a bad choice, although I can give you a rough breakdown of the first 180s and how either direction will affect your learning.

Breakdown: Frontside 180

Snowboard Frontside Spin

Difficulty:

Probably the easiest spin to learn. You approach the jump and land while looking in the same direction the whole time. It’s easier because you never have to take your eyes off the landing and you only rotate your lower body.

How it will affect your early progress:

Frontside spins are arguably the more common choice simply because frontside 180s are easier than backside 180s. As well as this, many riders do find frontside spins a tiny bit easier due to the start of the spin being open (meaning you can see where you’re going as you spin the first 180).

However, once you move to frontside 360s, you’ll find that they’re arguably harder than backside 360s because you have to land facing backwards, meaning you can’t spot your landing until you’re directly above it.

Breakdown: Backside 180

Snowboard Backside Spin

Difficulty:

Backside 180s are tricky and a little difficult to get it to ‘click’ when you’re first learning backside spins. Unlike a frontside 180, you land blind, which means you have to look backwards as you spin and you’ll land while still looking backwards/down without a clear view of the landing.

Due to the difficulty, backside 180s are a highly respected trick, even among advanced riders. A slow rotating, stylish backside 180 can look and feel amazing.

How it will affect your early progress:

Backside spins are the less common choice because most riders don’t want to select the more difficult trick as their first spin. However, once you move on to backside 360s, you’ll find that they’re easy to learn because you’ll be able to spot the landing during the second half of the spin.

One upside of backside spins is that as you get more experienced and start adding ‘pop‘ to get more height and control from your spins, you’ll find it easier to control your pop on backside spins.

This is because backside spins are typically spun while popping from your toes and most riders find it far easier to pop off their toes compared to popping off their heels on frontside spins.

This is a little bit more advanced, so don’t worry if you don’t quite get what I’m talking about in regards to pop.

One more thing…

Don’t think you have to learn one or the other. I said most people learn frontside spins first, but personally, I actually learnt backside 180s before frontside 180s so don’t feel you have to do what most other people do.

You can also learn both at the same time (one after the other) if you want. In fact, I highly recommend you work on the other spin directions after you’ve mastered your first 180.

So after you’ve mastered frontside 180s, start working on your backside 180s.

Learning both directions early will really help balance out your riding early and make sure you’re a versatile freestyle rider that doesn’t depend too much on just one spin direction.

Happy riding!

- Jed

ps: more jumping tips below under related posts.

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