Hero mode engaged! The 180 Degree slide is both delicate and brutal, requiring precise timing and bodyweight motion, with the application of throttle many motorheads love.
Breaking it Down
Sliding a stand up, like most things in life, is not difficult on paper. Turn one way, add throttle while turning the other, chop throttle, lean forward, slide, add throttle for recovery. Done, end of article!
If only it were that simple. Ski design and set up changes the nuances of this flatwater trick, but the overarching steps remain a standard. Follow them, with tweaks to support your riding style and particular ski, to lay the foundation for this skill.
- Try to find flat water, any kind of chop can lead to a high side if the hull catches traction moving sideways.
- Start in a straight line with ample room all around you. This trick can take up a lot of water. Speed around 10-15 mph, or what feels comfortable to you with the ski stable.
- Have your feet in split/surf stance with your preferred leg at the front of the tray (for this article we’ll call it the left leg) and your rear foot (again, for the article this will be the right foot) all the way at the back facing perpendicular to the tray.
The next steps will happen very quickly, some basically at the same time.
- With steady throttle, slightly turn the ski to the right and lean a little right with your upper body. Keep your lower body’s weight centered over the ski. This will feel like you are initiating a toe side turn.
- Chop the throttle to help begin breaking traction, but just a blip. You will need to add in throttle to help steer for the next step.
- Abruptly turn the ski with throttle to the left to start what would be a heel side turn.
- Lean forward onto your left leg while turning your upper body toward the left. This naturally gets the rear of the ski to lift and break traction.
- Add throttle. The amount of throttle depends on how much power you have and how easy it is to get your hull to let go of traction. At this point the hull should be starting to slide instead of turn with traction.
- With the momentum of your upper body twisting left and the weight off of your rear leg, press the energy outwards into the slide through your rear leg. Almost like you are kicking a ball with your rear leg, but not separating it from the ski at all. The rear end should pivot around the nose of the ski, with nose coming around to face against the direction you were originally traveling.
- Chop the throttle as the ski pivots around to face the other direction. You don’t want the pump gaining traction mid-slide and the jet blast to start propelling you in whatever direction the nose is pointing.
- Once the hull seems to be losing slide momentum, add and remove little weight onto your rear leg while adding in throttle to recover from the slide. The quick press of weight onto the rear leg will help the hull/pump get traction. Just have to remove it quickly if you do not want to initiate a tail stand – that is for a future article!
- To begin moving forward for a full recovery, shift your weight onto your front leg, lean your upper body over the bars, and add throttle to plane.
Things to Consider
Even though the slide implicates the brutal idea of more power the better, the real skill lies in the finesse of bodyweight motion and timing. You honestly do not need a ton of power for this trick. Sure, the heavy application of throttle with the bars turned to initiate your turn is important to upset the hull and force the tail of the ski to pivot. However, the throttle chop before application of throttle is just as critical.
The throttle chop causes the pump impeller to quickly stop turning, but the ski’s momentum forward has not equivalently slowed. That throttle chop causes the impeller to act like a ‘wall’ that the water cannot get through, and the pump loses traction with no water flowing through it at speed. Once throttle is applied with the bars turned, the hull is primed to slide.
Work on keeping your body loose for both mid-slide balance adjustments and injury prevention. It is easier to pull muscles when they are overly tense and cannot absorb a bump or jolt. Always preform these in an open are free of debris and traffic. There will be times your hull will gain traction when you are not ready.
Most of the time this will result in a high side, but if you stay loose and drop your center of gravity down you might be able to save yourself from flying through the air. Always be cognizant of keeping your knees at least a little bent for better balance when riding a stand up, especially so when learning new skills.
Some hulls are easier to slide than others so don’t fret if getting yours to slide seems impossible. Hull design, sponsons, ride plate, impeller pitch, scoop grate, and even steering speed can change how easy or hard it is to slide a stand up. The guidelines above will get you part of the way there, but actually learning the skill in the real world may require setup tweaks, different timing and body movement for your personal ski. As always – practice, practice, practice!