Even the best wakeboarders in the world need to understand the fundamentals of a move to land it clean and be consistent. It's not about just going bigger or throwing something technically more difficult, it's about understanding each step in the process and focusing on the little things that really allow you to master a trick. This applies to everything from spinning to inverts.
We asked pro tour rider Andrew Adkison to share his insight on invert fundamentals. The first invert the former world champion landed on a board was a tantrum. He chose the trick because he learned how to do it first on a trampoline, developing what he calls “air awareness,” or the ability to pick certain focal points throughout the move and spot your landing. Basically, always knowing where you are in the air. Here are the fundamentals of inverts, according to Adkison.
Use the handle
The handle becomes a point of reference. When you're upside down, you always know which way is forward from the pull. There are a lot of different handle positions you can use, but you always want to keep it near your center of gravity.
Repetition is key
Air awareness comes through repetition. I never go out and force a trick to try to figure it out. I try to understand each piece of the trick first, whether that means starting on a trampoline or watching others and studying their movements.
If I'm coaching people, I try to make sure they can jump both wake-to-wake and into the flats. You have to have that foundation before you are ready to try an invert. Usually, when a rider has a strong wake jump they are ready to try a back roll or a tantrum. But most people start too hard and too early on their edge. Start slow, and let your edge build progressively toward the wake.
Watch your takeoff
I can watch someone cut in and know 2 feet before the wake whether they're going to make the trick or not. Most inverts require a very progressive edge, and most people have a tendency to start the trick early. Make sure you ride to the top of the wake before executing your trick.
Make the landing
Part of getting to a proper landing is to follow the previous steps. You always want to absorb the landing with your knees, and keep them at least slightly bent. I tend to absorb some of my lower back as well to spare my knees. Remember to go with the landing, and if you're landing in the flats, don't try to just power through it.