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Tricks Revealed: Demystifying the Snowboard Language Hot

shaunwhiteIf you’re anything like the average snowboarding enthusiast, deciphering the difference among the seemingly indistinguishable tricks can prove a challenging endeavor.

To complicate matters further, snowboarding analysts often use language that is, at best, foreign in nature – rambling off alien terms with a particular fluency unknown to many. In an attempt to clear the air of this ever-present confusion, here’s a list of the most popular tricks and a simple description of their basic mechanics. (A ring of the cowbell to the New York Times for their excellent video section and term glossary.)

Backside – The heel side of the board and/or heading into a jump with the heel-side edge leading.

Cab (Caballerial) The namesake of American skateboarder Steve Caballero. A rider takes off with their back leg in front, rotates 360 degrees and lands in their normal stance.

Cork – Resembling a flip, a rotation in the air off the vertical axis.

Frontside – The toe side of the board, and the direction the rider faces.

Japan Air – Rider takes off with the front hand grabbing the toe edge, the front knee tucked and the back arched while pulling the board level with the head.

McTwist – Rider approaches the half pipe wall headed forward, becomes airborne, rotates horizontally for a total of 540 degrees, meanwhile completing a full vertical flip.

Method Air – The rider bends their knees, grabs the heal edge of the board and raises the board to head level while in the air.

Mute Grab – While airborne, the rider grabs the toe edge of their board between the bindings with the lead hand.

Rodeo – The combination of a forward 180 or 360 spin with a 360 flip.

Rotations – Numbers, in the form of degrees, often accompany tricks depending on how many times the rider spins in the air. Here are the most common rotations:

  • 180: one-half rotation
  • 360: one full rotation
  • 540: one and one-half rotations
  • 720: two full rotations
  • 900: two and one-half rotations
  • 1080: three rotations

Ryan O'Leary

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