Ride the rails and ramps at your cable park

Level: 
Beginner
Cable or Boat: 
Cable

Hitting any obstacle at your local cable park can be pretty intimidating. Learn a few of the basic principles and you'll be riding them comfortably in no time.

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How to - Ride the rails and ramps at your cable park

Hitting any obstacle at a cable park can be a pretty scary prospect. However, learn a few of the basic principles and you'll be riding them comfortably in no time.

Let's start with the rails, the wider it is, the easier it will be to maintain your balance and avoid sliding off the edge. Taking this into consideration It makes sense to begin your obstacle experiences with a rail that is as wide as possible then you can progress on to the longer, steeper or skinnier ones.

Sliding positions

There are two basic sliding positions, 'boardslide' and '50/50'. If you are riding with your board perpendicular to the direction you are traveling then this is a boardslide, a 50/50 would mean your board is pointing in the same direction you are heading.

Many riders feel uncomfortable with a boardslide on the rails when beginning because they feel they're vulnerable to a face plant in this position, when in reality it will actually give you greater balance. It is easier to balance your weight between your right and left foot than it is balancing between your heels and toes. Although the 50/50 will probably feel more natural, you are more likely to be pulled off the edge of the rail.

Riding in either of the above positions, it is important to remember to keep your weight centred over the board rather than leaning back, as you will do when out on the flat water. If you are leaning onto your heels your board is likely to slip out in front of you. This is the cause of most riders new to obstacles falling onto their bums.

Line tension

Now you understand positioning and board balance, lets look at 'line tension'. The approach you take towards the obstacle will directly affect the amount of tension in the cable. If you edge out with a short progressive edge and then flatten off quickly, your speed will match or even pass the speed of whatever is towing you. When this happens you will have a small amount of time where your tension is at a minimum. You need to allow the right amount of time before hitting the obstacle giving you the chance to ollie or slide up onto the obstacle without any additional pull from the cable.

Exciting inclines

Once you are comfortable with a simple flat box, you can progress on to an obstacle with an incline such as a ramp or kicker. Using the principles we have discussed, you can apply them slightly differently here. If possible, for your first few attempts, you should try a small ramp with a subtle incline or transition. Approach the ramp much like you would a rail as we discussed earlier. When you hit the ramp, absorb most of it with your knees and then absorb the landing with soft bent legs. As you become more comfortable, you can begin resisting the transition by standing taller and eventually adding a good hard push with your legs for extra height.

Faster and higher

The line you take on the ramp will also affect your line tension, speed and ultimately the height you get off the obstacle. If you travel diagonally up the ramp, away from the cable, you will keep the line tight and land further from the cable. If you travel diagonally up the ramp towards the cable the line tension will be reduced and the landings will be softer and slower. To begin with, a straight line up the ramp would be advised.

Now you understand the basic principles you are ready to go and have fun riding the obstacles.

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