The Anatomy of An Aerial
1.Approaching the wave at an angle makes it much easier to land back on, or in front of the wave after doing an air. Also important (as always) is wave choice. You want to pick a wave that you can get to with a lot of speed. You will need a lot of speed in order to get up into the air. Be sure that you time your run so that you arrive at the wave a split second before it breaks.
2.As you get closer to the wave begin turning so that you are approaching the wave from the side rather than straight on. Pick out the exact place on the wave where you plan to launch into the air. As arrive at the bottom of the wave, make sure you are in a crouched position, as if you were getting ready to jump (because, essentially, you are)
3.Jump right when your board hits the lip of the wave. You don’t want to jump as hard as you can. The idea is to just jump a little bit, and very controlled, so that you keep the board under your feet. Also, do not jump with both of your feet equally. Apply a lot more pressure on your back foot so that the nose of the board lifts up.
4.You should now be up in the air, and hopefully your board is still under your feet. Sometimes it can be helpful to slide your front foot up your board (like an Ollie in skateboarding) to keep the board under your feet, but it is not always necessary. You can see that Chris slides his foot forward ever so slightly in the picture sequence. He has also rotated so that the board is “sideways”. This is an integral part of the rotation. The wind against the bottom of his board is helping to keep it pressed against his feet and he is rotating so that the nose is pointed towards the shore. At this point you will have very little control. Try to keep the board under your feet by absorbing its upward motion with your knees. You want to maintain pressure between your feet and the board throughout the entire maneuver so that the board never gets away from you. Notice how Chris’ knees are completely bent in the picture as he is at the apex of his flight. He has bent his knees to allow the board to fly up closer to his body throughout his upward flight. He is now well positioned to land the trick.
5.As you start to come down from the air, you still want to keep the board on your feet. But the board is now going to be falling. In order to keep the board on your feet, and to prepare for landing you need to begin extending your legs again. You want to do this so that you will be extending them all the way until the point when you land. Right at the moment you land, your legs should become fully extended. At this point you should also know where you plan on landing, and if its going to be safe (i.e. if there is a big rock in the way, bail!).
6.The landing can happen in many different ways. You can on whitewash, back on the wave, even back on the sand (not recommended, its a good board breaker). The main idea is to keep your weight centered over the board during the landing. You need to try and maintain as much balance as possible. Make sure that you absorb the landing with your knees and that the board lands as flat as possible on the wave or whitewash. This will make it much easier to ride away stoked…