Grapevine

  GRAPEVINE WALK

Grapevine walk
Reverse and cross step
The back cross step up the board
Grapevine
Frontside reverse turn
The back cross step

 

Grapevine walk

The grapevine is an intricate series of steps in which the legs cross in front and behind. It's used in most latin dances like tango. This switching cross directions produces a turning of the hips clockwise and counterclockwise as the walk progresses up the board. The shoulders turn a little less. If it's done right, the momentum of winding up in one cross step carries into the next cross in the other direction. It is hard to do, looks cool, and is functional, because every step is a turn that makes the board slalom down the hill.

Although backing up the board is very common in advanced longboarding it's rare to mix back and front steps. It's very functional as you can swerve turning right and left through this footwork. I have tried here to invent walking tricks by mixing elements from surfing and dance movement.

There are several ways of walking a grapevine. "Grapevines" are common in ballroom dance. They involve crossing your feet behind then in front of one another in an alternating sequence. When you do a grapevine on a board you cross and backpedal up the board.

 

Reverse and cross step

To get a feel for the grapevine, start with a reverse turn, then replace your left foot in a side by side stance. Now just take a normal cross step, right over left (not shown).

That's the essence of a back cross step followed by a forward cross step. It's a very basic and short grapevine. Real grapevines are three or more steps and are difficult to do with any flow.

The harder grapevine includes a back cross step. When you take a step backwards up the board it takes great concentration and balance. You may also need to be turned out, or stretched out a bit.

 

The back cross step up the board

This picture shows a back cross step moving toward the nose. One way of walking backwards up the nose is to turn until your back faces the nose and backpedal forward up to the nose. This is different. You face up the board and cross step behind instead of in front. There's more control, you can see where you're going, and it's more functional than the back walk. When you mix a back step with a front cross step it has a lot of turn and natural momentum. It looks stylish and intricate.

From the ready position the skater turns his back foot out and brings it forward up the board, only on the other side from where you'd usually cross it. He has to keep his balance right over the stringer or slightly frontside to balance the foot crossing back. When the foot is set down, both feet are very turned out. It resembles a ballet or tango dance position.

 

Grapevine

The grapevine is a cross step pattern that mixes forward and back cross steps.

The skater's first step is a reverse turn. The front foot is backpedalled into a drop knee position. The turn goes to frontside, heading right.

The legs are uncrossed and a narrow stance is taken.

Next is a back cross step. The back foot is crossed behind the leg instead of the usual in front. This turns the board to the left.

After this the skater steps back side-to-side, then takes one more cross step to the nose. The board turns right, finishing the s-turn of the grapevine.

 

Frontside reverse turn

The first step in the grapevine walk is a frontside reverse turn. From a narrow stance (which can be set up with a half shuffle, back foot to front foot) the skater crosses his front foot behind the back foot, one backpedal step. He places his toe on the tail as in a drop knee turn, shifting his weight back. The toe goes way across onto the frontside rail. This tail and rail pressure causes a sharp turn. It is a drop knee turn with the legs crossed and fairly close together.

On this turn, the skater actually wheelies the board, making it a reverse kick carve. It's more of a challenge to kick carve it, but not necessary in getting the right flow in the grapevine.

Next the back foot is uncrossed and placed back in the side by side, close together position. The skater prepares for the back cross step by rotating his hips clockwise so his back begins to face the nose.

 

The back cross step

He crosses his foot behind the other and up the board. The front foot stays in its original position so both feet end up quite turned out. It's different from turning backwards and backpedaling up the board. It's more in control and it's easier to face forward. The hard part is finding the right spot on the board with the foot crossing behind. The foot must land on the stringer so the board is balanced, or on the rail so it turns. This turn is slightly to the left, since the last turn was a cutback right.

From the back cross, he uncrosses and once again the feet are placed side by side. There is now a shoulder turning momentum to counterclockwise, as the cross step is unwound. The next step will continue that momentum. The board on the other hand turns back to the right, continuing the slalom motion of the whole grapevine routine.

The skater takes a normal cross step, ending up in cross stance, hanging five.

From this position instead of backpedaling, he will pivot into a fakey stance in preparation for a nose 180. A cross stance at the nose leads very naturally into a pivot a half turn to the left, counterclockwise. In old school terms, it's a half spinner. This will put him on the nose in fakey stance.