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Skate Tips: Foot Drag Kickturns/360s

Okay, this is basically the same move that we've all come to know and love. The only difference is that you drag your foot as you perform your kickturn or 360. It's sort of like scraping the tail of your board to slow yourself down, but dragging your foot allows you more precise control of how fast you brake.

There are two ways to do this trick--frontside, turning away from the direction you are facing, and backside, turning toward the direction you are facing. This is exactly the opposite of what these terms meant, when I learned them in the 1970s, but this is the way they are commonly used today. I figured that for once in my life, I would change with the times.

On frontside, you drag your heel, and on backside, you drag your toe. It's really a simple move. You should be able to pick it up in no time. If you're having trouble, it's probably because you need to work on your kickturning. That's all it really is, only you have your heel, or toe, hanging over the edge of the tail, dragging on the ground. Think of it as a braking maneuver, but don't try it on a downhill run at speed unless your physician gives you special discounts on skin grafts.

Here's some examples of how to use it.

Say you're riding in a skatepark, one of the first things you're going to notice is that on 70-mm+ wheels, you're able to carry a lot more speed going up the bank than the kids on 50-mm wheels. Now if you were a kid and could ollie, you could just take that speed up and out of the lip of the bank and pull some major air. But if you're an old fart like me, you like having your wheels on the ground and you may be going too fast to pull off a normal kickturn. All you need to do is start your kickturn a bit early and drag your foot to slow yourself enough to pull it off. With practice, you should be able to do really long graceful kickturns, using the foot drag to control not just the speed, but to guide the turn as well.

This is also a great flatland freestyle maneuver. In some place like a parking lot where you have a lot of room to work, get up a lot of speed and do a very long 360. Try to imagine that you are starting on the edge of a circle with a 10 or 15 foot radius. As you start the 360, try to wind your way into the center of this circle, dragging your foot to slow and control the turn. With practice you should be able to do this on hills as well, but, as I said before, don't try it at high speed.

This can also be used for a dismount maneuver. Do a 360 at reasonable speed (you don't need to make this a long graceful one), and drag your foot so that the board comes to a stop after one rotation. As you are doing this, bend slightly so that you can grab the rail with one hand (if you are going frontside, use your back hand and your front hand if you are going backside). Then just pick up the board and walk away. The end result is that you do a 360, where you grab the board and walk away. The foot drag helps to keep you from over rotating, which might screw you up if you have too much forward momentum.

The variations on this are probably limitless. Once you've got the move down, play with it and see what you can come up with.

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Nose Wheelie, except where noted otherwise, was written and created by Chris Sturhann.
Copyright © 1997 Chris Sturhann