Making handle passes easier

Cable or Boat: 

Master your handle pass without needing super strong arms. Getting the body position right can make the pass a lot easier.

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How to - Making handle passes easier

When learning a handle pass, a lot of emphasis is placed on pulling the handle close to the body, this video however, shows you a different perspective. Using body position rather than arm strength can make the pass a lot easier.

Riding 'cuffed'

The first step to master is riding in the 'cuffed' position, in both your regular and switch stance. Put simply, the 'cuffed' position is when a rider has their back pointing towards the pull from a cable or boat. You would be looking in the opposite direction from the rope with your arms behind you - imagine a policeman putting handcuffs on you behind your back and you've got the idea.  Most people don't realise that whilst riding in the cuffed position they are actually practicing a major part of the movement required for a handle pass.

To get into a cuffed position, whilst riding straight, release your back hand from the handle and put your arm out behind you so there is a stright line from one hand along your arms to the other hand. Now point the handle down to the water to make it easier to grab.  Now turn your head so you are looking away from the handle. Ride in this position for a moment to get used to the strange feeling of riding and looking back. Be sure to keep the nose of the board pointed in the direction of the pull and not angled to one side.

Once you are feeling comfortable with this position slowly bend at the hips moving your upper body down towards the water and away from the boat or cable tower. As you bend at the waist the handle will turn further and be brought closer, not by pulling, but more by the leverage created by your body bending. This is the handle pass motion we are talking about. As you bend over allow your back hand to swing up from underneath and grab the handle with both hands behind your back. You are now in the cuffed riding position.

Ride with both hands behind your back for a while, this may feel strange at first, but this is the main purpose of the drill, to be comfortable facing away from the handle during the handle pass. You should also try riding this position in a switch stance

When a rider spins on an axis, no matter how far or in which direction, if there is a handle pass involved they do this motion which makes handle passes much easier.

For the second phase of the pass you need to practice sliding the board (and body) round. Whilst riding in a cuffed position push the board 90 degrees into a slide, be sure to lean on to your toes to avoid a very nasty crash if you were to catch your heel edge. Hold the slide for a second or two and then turn it another 90 degrees into the opposite cuffed position, repeat this movement plenty of times until you are comfortable with the sliding of the board.

In the air

To get the feeling of spinning the board in the air you should try the above with an ollie motion. Get into the cuffed position with the board pointing towards the pull of the boat or cable and start a slight bouncing motion. Once you feel a good bouncing rhythm try to pop an Ollie 180 to the opposite cuffed riding position by spinning the board just like you did for the surface 180.

With plenty of practice and repetitions, this technique will make your next 360 attempts much much easier.

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