Tail carves and kick carves

  TAIL CARVES AND KICK CARVES

Basic surf style turns are executed with the weight on the tail. The idea is to lighten the nose and make the turns loose, or maneuverable. This allows for any radius in the turn, rather than just that of the built-in turn of the trucks. Tail turns have two categories. When the nose and front trucks pivot and the tail wheelies, it's called a kick carve turn. When both trucks are on the ground carving but the tail is weighted, it's a tail carving turn, or a tail carve.

The turns have a similar technique and feel. The real difference is that kick carve turns come around much faster, as the two front wheels are off the ground. Both turns can represent a surfing bottom turn or a surfing top turn. The cutback in surfing is best represented by a kick carve turn, as it has a short radius and is best when a complete change of direction is needed.

Other turns with the weight farther forward are possible, and they will be covered in other sections. Carving turns from the middle of the board don't look like longboard surfing so I call them slalom or snowboard style turns.

Kick carve turn
Arching or counterleaning
Frontside kick carve turn
Frontside tail carve turn
Backside kick carve turn

 

Kick carve turn

The kick carve combines a wheelie with a turn. It's an old school "tic tac" done with speed. It can be done at full speed. I think it's the most basic turn in surf style skating. I couldn't even go around a sidewalk corner without it.

 

Frontside kick carve turn

This simulates the most basic turn in longboarding, the frontside bottom turn. Bottom turns are turns in surfing that are executed at the bottom of wave faces. In surf style skating, I think of a bottom turn as a kick carve or tail carve that turns across the hill then uphill. There is a feeling of g forces when the turn goes uphill.

When initiating the turn, the skater's weight is on the front foot, in the middle of the board. The tail stance leaves a full two feet of nose in front to walk on later. The skater's right hand is wound up in front of him. In a moment he will throw his arm to the outside to lead the turn.

The board is actually weighted on the heel side at this point, turning left. The skater "fades" in the opposite direction of the coming turn. When the frontside turn comes, it will be all the more positive for having changed strongly from rail to rail.

The kick carve is initiated. The arm and torso swings into the turn. The weight drops back fully onto the tail. The toe is placed on the right side of the stringer and the toe actually hangs off so it can drag on the ground as a pivot point.

 

Arching or counterleaning

You can see the skater is leaning into the turn but there is also a leaning away from the turn in the upper body. The body line is a "banana" shape with the legs curved under a straight upper body. It's a subtle arch turn.

Elsewhere on these pages are examples of turns that have more arch and others with lean.

The arms are like a balance pole held by a tightrope walker, in a level position, parallel to the ground. One trick to check your arm position is to look at your shadow cast on a sunny day.

The turn ends as the skater shifts his weight forward. The arms are held extended in a slightly rounded shape. Note how the elbows are not bent in a sloppy "scarecrow" position.

The turn ends facing uphill. If most of the speed has been lost, it can be regained with a push before the next turn. Being able to turn towards uphill then back down is important for speed control and style.

 

Frontside tail carve turn

This turn is tail weighted like the kick carve only the front trucks don't raise up and pivot around on the back trucks. The nose is light and the front wheels can graze the ground with a bit of pivot to aid the turn. Tail carves have a loose feeling that slalom carves from the middle of the board don't have.

As in the kick carve sequence, the skater fades the board left to the side of the road while winding up his upper body to prepare for a right turn across the hill.

He shifts his weight back and allows the nose and front trucks to become light. The wheels stay on the ground. He leans into the turn.

The skater uses the rotation clockwise in his upper body to drive the board into the turn.

As the board turns uphill the turn is finished. He has slowed by turning uphill and now must turn downhill to regain speed. He crouches to gain spring, weight slightly forward. The stance is pretty wide as he sets up to do a backside cutback. He has already changed rails and is beginning the left turn.

 

Backside kick carve turn

The frontside turn shown here is part of a combination of turns. The frontside turn leads into a backside kick carve. The shape of the two turns is an S that is similar to a surf bottom turn and cutback.

The backside kick carve turn is a little harder than frontside. It requires that your pivot point be your heel instead of the ball of the foot. On the positive side, the windup and release of the shoulders to backside gives great rotating power. It's more like a baseball or golf swing than frontside rotation.

He unwinds his shoulders counterclockwise and shifts his weight back onto the tail. The front hand leads the turn and the arm is pressed firmly back. The board pivots around to the left, balanced on the back trucks and still moving forward.

He drops the board, shifting his weight forward, and continues to turn to the left. His shoulders return to center over the board.

 

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