I thought I'd write this thread for those riders who think it's never gonna happen because it finally clicked. W2W with pop no problem. It took me about 14 or 15 times out to actually get it. Yesterday was it.
I've read all the threads, watched the tapes, etc.. and wasn't getting it.
Here's the pathetic part. I'm 42 and marginally athletic. I'm a natural at the beginning techniques but require a lot of work to master intermediate or advanced stuff.
Up to yesterday, I had been riding frequently. Have my own boat, etc... and people are using my equipment (including my board) and seeing improvement.
When I first started riding (end of last season, 5 or 6 times) I could see myself doing basic tricks in my mind (grabs) as early as the following season. WRONG!!
Now I had to learn to get air. Man... I took forever. I literally had to learn each stage individually then put it together. I tried to put it together of 3 or 4 different occasions and even cleared the wake with good pop and air. But each time, it was that "oh crap" feeling and if I cleared, it was out of sheer circumstance as opposed to repeatable technique. In fact, I took two particularly hard crashes which gave me whiplash that scared me pretty bad. All in all, I went out yesterday feeling pretty emasculated.
Since there are folks out there who feel the same, I’ll share some experience with you. Maybe you can relate and this will help you “get it”.
Basically, I’ll bulletize a list of the problems I encountered, what I did at each “stage”. Since there are good threads on the technique of progressively edging, I won’t describe the technique. Just my approach on practicing till I got it to work for me.
1. Making the cut. This was tough. When I would go out to make the cut, the rope seemed to lose tense and I would lose energy. I could never seem to regain the energy back especially because I was “standing up”
Once I realized I needed to “sit” with bent legs I would do this immediately and cut hard. The cut would be so aggressive that I would do one of two things:
a. Sketch out, get scared and flatten my board
b. Over cut and wipe out severely before even getting a smidgen of air.
2. To fix that, I went out only half way. I still cut hard and “sat” immediately. So I was able to hold a good edge without feeling out of control at the wake. At this point I started applying a "progressive edge" because going right into the cut was still causing me problems with control. I start to create an angle then gradually sit back giving me better and better edge. The angle I chose got more acute as I got better. The idea here as to actually be able to ride my edge through the wake (cut through rather)
3. Now I began to work on the pop. There were a couple of problems I encountered here. Each one I worked on as someone watching would tell me what they observed. Some of the really good observations came from guys who didn’t know anything. Unbiased I guess.
a. Not pulling the handle to my waste caused me to roll over the board and not get a decent “pop”
b. Standing up at the wrong time
i. Before reaching the crest of the wake. This caused me to lose all my energy and land in the middle of the wake
ii. After leaving the crest. Once in the air, I would stand then compress my legs immediately. Again, losing energy and land in the wake.
c. Whether I stood at the right time or not, I would ALWAYS look for the landing and put my legs down to soon. Usually reaching with the forward leg. You can only imagine what a disaster that was.
4. Once the “pop” felt good I moved back out for more speed. Here’s where I think being “fearful” came into play. All the sudden the wake came to fast and was not comfortable performing the “pop” when I hit the wake. This really bothered me, because it took me 5 or 6 times more days of riding to be comfortable. I think the big problem here was I would immediately get on the board and “go for it”. I wouldn’t even let myself get comfortable riding. I would go out and immediately make a cut, ending in a huge crash. Of course I would feel more and more like a chicken crap effecting self-esteem and confidence (I mean in terms of riding)
Yesterday I just went out and made the cut without trying for the jump or the pop. 3 or 4 cuts so I know where the wake would be. The another couple stiffening my legs to get air. Zoom, wake to wake with about an inch or two clearance. That’s when I felt comfortable with the “pop” and went large (for me). Good pop, pulling the handle into my waste as my body rose. Tip slightly up and landing into the flat. “EUREKA”
Here’s the feeling I had. Everything happens as a transition. It wasn’t 1. Cut, 2. Pop, 3. Pull handle. That’s how you learn it, but one transitioned into the next.
Once I felt the transition, I was actually able to experience the “jump” as opposed to experiencing just the take off/landing and missing everything in between. In the air, I actually was able to look forward and to the sides with time. Not much time, but it’s a start.
Anyways…. Long thread, but I’m stoked. Though this might bore the crap out of the good riders, I’m sure someone out there grasping at the elusive air might appreciate it.