Wake parks in the past decade have become significantly different to what they used to be like. New features and rail innovations have opened up a whole new way of riding. Whether you're a beginner or an advanced rider, these simple basics can help you improve your rail riding and take your skills to the next level. In this post, we'll cover some fundamental building blocks of rail riding that will make everything else a lot easier.
Tip #1: Hold On with the Front Hand Only
This one may take a few people by surprise! hold on with the front hand only, whether you're riding regular or switch. By doing so, you'll reap several benefits, including keeping your shoulders square and the board straight (very important when it comes to transfers). When approaching the rail with one hand it allows you to stay lower and maintain your balance.
Tip #2: Always Stay Low
One of the most common things we find ourselves saying as coaches is to stay low. Keeping your knees bent means that your centre of gravity is much lower, making it easier to balance. Standing tall on a rail will only make it harder for you to balance and react to any situation you find yourself in. By staying low, you'll be able to react faster, giving you more margin for error.
Tip #3: Avoid Pulling on the Handle
Another important thing to note when riding on rails is to never pull on the handle. While it may seem like a good idea, pulling on the handle can cause slack in the rope, which can lead to you slipping over. Instead, keep the arm strong, but not pulling. You should be doing majority of the work with your legs and hips and just using the handle to make minor adjustments. If you find yourself falling off of rails early try to adjust your line into it before resorting to pulling on the handle. This way, you can keep the body strong, keep tension in the rope and avoid any unnecessary falls.
Tip #4: Use Your Hips and Legs to Turn
When riding on rails, it's best to use your hips and legs to turn rather than pulling on the handle. By keeping your shoulders and chest facing the direction you're going, you can loosen up your hips to turn the body. If you've pulled on the handle to create any rotation, its going to be very difficult to turn back again! This is especially important when learning more technical board positions while on the rails.
Whether you're a beginner or an advanced rider, these tips will help you to take your rail riding to the next level. By holding on with the front hand only, staying low, never pulling on the handle, and using your hips and legs to turn, you'll be able to take any features with ease. It's important to practice these basics and incorporate them into your riding style to see a significant improvement in your rail riding skills.
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