For Brannon (full speed): The Raley was my 3rd major trick and I never fell learning it, not even once. I did hit my bootie a couple times and it slapped pretty hard, but I stood up the trick. If you want to learn it, you can learn without falling but you have to have patient and respect each piece of the puzzle. I actually learned it on accident by trying to jump the wake as big as I could. One jump got behind me a little and I managed to recover. The rest was just repeating it and understanding the wake dynamics of snapping the board behind you. It’s like that first time you jumped the wake, only faster and higher.
A full detailed breakdown would take too long to write but here is a shorter breakdown of how to learn it without dying.
Baby step 1: You must have a super solid wake jump down, into the flats, staying in good form the whole time (standing tall, board slightly in front of you, handle by hips, looking for the landing, fairly relaxed in the air). The more you do this, you will naturally learn and understand what happens when you leave off your back foot too much (stargaze or big backroll) or leave off your front foot too much (back flip to back and bootie, or head/face plant). Doing this enough times will teach you to weight your feet equally into, through, and off the wake. (I actually think getting this down is much harder than the Raley.)
Step 1: Build up your heel side jump way into the flats. Get this down super solid. Go as far and as big as you can, but work up to it. Take an entire day or two if you need to and build up to the speed and distance…as far as you can. Don’t do anything else. Repetition is key. In all honesty, I could stop here because most people don’t have the patience to get this down….but just in case you are different…
Step 2: Repeat step 1 until you are seriously sick of it. To the point where you don’t give it a second thought and you are irritated to move on.
Step 3: Start thinking about standing as tall as you can and pointing your toes as you jump. Not a lot, just a little at first. Again, work up to it. The board will get behind you just a little as you build up each jump. Let it go.
Recover (after the peak of the jump) by pulling the handle with both hands (evenly, steadily, and strong) right to your thighs. This is called the safety position. Do this after you feel the big tug at the peak. As long as you recover correctly, the board will land in front of you and hit the water first EVERY single time. This will save you EVERY single time. Worst case if done correctly; when the board hits the water, sit down, collapse, and abort to the outside by doing a tumble turn / fall. You’ll slide out on your back with no fall at all.
Once you start pointing your toes on every big jump, you will naturally build up to the point where the board gets snapped behind you and you feel the “tug” at the peak of the jump. Not quite a full Raley yet, but you are on your way. DO NOT go to step four until this is comfortable for you. Spend another day if you need to. Take your time… or you’ll get worked.
Step 4: Once you start feeling the board snap behind you off the wake, you will naturally relax your body and let the board drift back and up, while you stretch out your arms. I don’t know why, but everyone seems to do this without thinking so go with it.
Wait…wait…wait…until you feel the tug of the boat/rope and then recover to your safety position, and look for the landing. BOOYA, you’ll land your first Raley.
Some people will say to try this off of a wakeskate. I actually tried a few this way but it was more for fun than anything. Some will argue that it can teach you the snap and recovery and it’s probably right so that’s another option to try. Just watch your bootie on the reentry into the water. Everyone learns differently so find what you are not afraid to try and build up to it.
Another one of my favorite tricks because of the drift is the 911 or Indy Glide. It’s a little scary but once you can do a Raley, you can learn the lookback and drift for the 911 or Indy Glide. We were a little jittery at first, but Brady Sammons and I learned the 911 in one night with zero falls. We broke it down, talked about it, and just guinea pigged a few. Get a buddy that’s learning the same tricks you are and it will push you and give you someone to figure things out with.