The front flip is an ‘air raley’ (ray-ley) based trick. A traditional air raley – which is the one that makes the rider look like Superman – is the basis for many off-the-water air tricks. It is a complex trick to learn, requiring excellent core, arm and back strength, but once mastered unlocks many possibilities. The raley is quite technical and you need solid board skills before you attempt it.
The front flip, if you get it right, will feel pretty similar to doing a cartwheel on the ground. Alternatively, if you have access to a trampoline, you can get the feel for the movement by practising front somersaults.
Straight front flip – step by step
1 To set the trick up you need to begin with a progressive heel edge cut under the cable.
2 As the tension builds, ensure you keep your arms in and lock the hands in a fixed position, at chest height, arms bent. When the tension is at its highest, scoop your front foot behind you (a bit like kicking a football behind you with your heel).
3 The scooping motion will cause the board to naturally leave the water. As you release off the water, pull your right knee (if you’re goofy footed) to your right elbow, at the same time looking under your left armpit.
4 As your upper body rolls sideways, the board should begin to cartwheel.
5 As the board comes over your head you will start to see the water again.
6 Once you have got the board coming in front of you, ‘spot’ your landing.
7 As you hit the water, make sure you bend your knees to absorb the impact of the landing and ride away.
Variations on a front flip
Add a grab: this adds style, releasing one hand to ‘hold’ the board, for example on the tail (back end).
Go to ‘blind’: you add complexity by doing a backside 180 degree rotation and you land opposite foot forward but with the handle behind your back instead of in front of you.
Add a spin: there are riders who can complete a full front flip and then add a flat frontside or backside 360 degree spin. For this you need to make sure you go big to gain maximum height!
Name: Charlie Hay
Regiment/Unit: Army Air Corps
Biog: Commissioned into the Army Air Corps in 2009. Deployed in Afghanistan with 1LANCS. Qualified as a pilot in 2012 and was selected to fly the Lynx helicopter. Has operated in the UK, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Canada in a variety of aviation roles and is currently waiting to start the Qualified Helicopter Instructor course on the EC135.