August 9, 2009: New Lessons

Methven, New Zealand – Today was our second day off and after a light jog, I sat down with Lindsay’s coach, Nate Emerson, to look at video taken from two days ago in the course. We analyzed my run as well as the fastest run of the day by one of the guys on the team and he had a lot of valuable input.

We noticed that my arms were staying relatively quiet, at least compared to how I rode before. So progression – yay! But he also pointed out that during the transitions, I’m not moving forward on the board (my front leg looks almost locked straight and not bended at the knee putting pressure on the front of my board). And then I tip the board on the new edge way too early and since my weight is mostly on my back foot the board pivots on my front leg with the back leg and back of the board washing out, like the ‘tail wagging the dog’. Then the direction my board is pointing is too much down the hill so if I were to pressure the board at that point I would go through the gate and be disqualified. As a result I have to keep drifting until my board is past the stubby and then pressure the board, resulting in a lot of spray, unclean carving, and time lost.

What I need to do is be more patient before I tip the board over to the new turn by letting the board ride flat a little longer. Then in that time, bend my front knee to be in a more fluid position while putting pressure on the front of my board so that when I initiate a turn I use the whole length of the board, and not just the back part of it. I need to move with the board and not let the board go out in front of me, leaving me in the backseat. Then when I’m on top of the turn crossing the panel I begin tipping the board to the edge and let the sidecut start turning the board, not me throwing my back leg out to turn. At the apex of the turn I put pressure on the board (offsetting the camber), allowing for a deeper, tighter turn. Then I release prior to the passing the panel at the bottom of the turn and start letting the board go flat while moving forward on the board. Then repeat 24 or so times and I’ve got a clean run!

Of course that’s easier said than done, especially in the steeps. But tomorrow I’m going to focus on two things: 1) Letting the board run flat longer so I’m not starting the turn too early (waiting until I pass the pane to start), and 2) During that flat section moving forward on the board by bending my front knee to put pressure on the front of the board and not be rigid. Hopefully I have it ingrained in my head to keep my arms down.

One thing I noticed when watching the fast guy’s run was that there’s a sort of whipping around the gate and then a calming period when the board runs flat. So whip, calm, whip, calm. I need to visualize a lot tonight before getting into gates tomorrow.

So it was a big lesson today, one that I’m sure will take a while to implement. But I know what to do so it’s just a matter of doing it. A few key points from Nate:

  • Tip the board before turning the board
  • Change edges before changing directions
  • Combine the sidecut and the camber to your advantage
  • Move with the board before moving against it

And there you have it! Thanks for the awesome analytics Nate!

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