Once you’ve ridden forward on a wakeboard, there’s only one thing left to do: ride backward. Yet that’s kind of a misnomer, since riding “backward” is really only switching your foot-forward. Thus, the term switch-stance.
The most difficult thing about performing switch-stance tricks is getting over the awkwardness of being in the reverse position. The best advice is to think about what you do when you’re riding forward – where your weight is, how your body is positioned, etc. – and then apply it to switch-stance. Here are some basics.
The first – and most obvious – trick is getting into the switch, or fakie, position. Make sure you mount your bindings symmetrically, so you have the same distance from your front foot to the end of the board as you do with your back foot. This will make the board ride the same whether it’s forward or fakie. Slow the boat speed significantly (about 5 mph slower than you’re used to). Keep even weight on both feet and bend your knees. When you think you’ve bent them enough, bend a little more. Now pull the handle into your belly button and rotate your trailing hip to the handle. Try it slowly first to get the motion down and then quicken the pace. If you are truly pulling your hip into the handle and turning your shoulders away from the boat, the board will turn.
Another way of getting into the switch position is doing a bunny-hop 180. Start outside the wake with your knees bent. Quickly extend off both feet evenly, “hopping” off the water. Don’t try to lift the board off the water with your feet; your board will release best if you merely extend your body upward. Once you reach your peak, simply rotate your hips to accomplish the 180. If you’re leaning sideways and getting water in places you don’t want it, then you’re trying to rotate the board, not your hips. If you rotate your hips enough so your rear hip points toward the boat, the board will follow.
The key to riding switch-stance, whether you’re just learning to ride fakie or you’re going for a switch-stance roll, is to not lean away. As hard as it may be, keep an even weight distribution over both feet and try to steer with your leading hip.
Heather Lee is managing editor of Wake Boarding magazine and is perfecting her switch-stance mobius.