If you have learned how to do a toe side boardslide congrats you are 90% of the way to a learning a slash. A slash shouldn’t be confused with a snap. For more on a snap read here>.
Just like with a boardslide we aren’t sure if people even realize that they are doing this trick. For some riders it’s the easiest and most natural thing to try. If you’re not one of these people again, don’t freak out. It’s not uncommon. While some find it an extension of carving others struggle, and anywhere you fall on the spectrum is fine. Once again we are here to help.
Let us introduce the toeside slash. A slash is done at the top of the wave. Typically, for a slash a rider will be carving around, and to add some variety go up all the way to the top of the wave, open their hips up to the boat and unload, slamming their board sideways to 90 degrees or more in relation to the direction of the boats travel, breaking their fins or tail of the board free over the top of the wave. They will then recoil, straighten out slightly towards the boat and come back down the wave. Think of an ocean surfer blowing their tail out over the top of the wave.
The slash is a great trick to add to your arsenal and adds some aggression to your riding
How to perform a slash.
1 – Start anywhere from the rear to ¾ of the way back on the wave. You will want lots of forward momentum (speed) for this trick.
2 – Start your approach to the boat. Speed is your friend on this trick. Because you will be essentially slamming your board sideways you will quickly loose any forward momentum you have gained and instantly scrub your speed. Approaching this trick to slow makes for a difficult release of your fins.
3 – As you start to move forward towards the boat look and spot the top of the wave one quarter to a third of the way back from the very front. This is the spot on the wave where you will want to do your slash on.
4 – As you make your final approach initiate a bottom turn. Most of us do this naturally without even thinking or knowing that we are doing it. The bottom turn will act as a quick speed check and also increase your angle into the wave. While it might seem counterproductive to turn away from the boat only to turn in at an increased angle from the boat as you go up the wave this will actually help you in having your fins release and getting your board into that final 90 degree position.
5 – Rise up to the top of the wave. You want to get almost all the way to the top. Right before you get to the top put the majority of weight on your front foot. Yes, that is correct your front foot. You will be rotating on your front foot. This is also one of those tricks that looks different than it feels. Being so closely related to the board slide, the trick also looks like you would come to the top of the wave and push on your back foot as hard as you can. Once again, looks can be deceiving. While that is the look of the motion you are going for if you put all of your weight on your backfoot the fin or fins will dig in. There will be no release. They will grab, and you will go splat. So rather than a push on your back foot, weight your front foot and extend your back leg. This will allow you to maintain control of the tail and not lift your rear foot.
Another analogy that can be used is kicking a soccer ball. Your weight goes on the opposite foot that you are kicking with. Just like when you do a slash.
6 – Now that you are at the top of the wave, your front foot is weighted, you have aggressively released your fins, and your back leg is extended (straighter knee) you can pause. The best way to feel and extend this pause is to press into your front foot. The more you press and bend that front knee the longer you can hold it sideways. You want to hold your board at least 90 degrees to the boat’s direction of travel.
7 – When it’s time to finish and come out of the board slide you only need to correct a little bit. A common mistake is for a rider to come up to the top of the wave, slam their board 90 degrees, hold it….. And then over correct on the way back down. Remember we want to ride down the wave. We do not want to point our board at the back of the boat part of the way back down the wave. On a skim this usually results in a lost edge to face plant while on a surf you will either tip over backwards or your fins will grab and give you a bit of a bucking sensation. None of these are desirable outcomes. So that being said you want to be somewhere in the range of having your board point halfway back to the boat or 45 of the 90 degrees you had your board at the apex of your slash.
8 – Celebrate. Backflip, Tiger Woods fist pump, we don’t care how you celebrate. The important part is you learned a new trick and hopefully we helped you learn it safely.
*The immediate sibling to this trick is the board slide. There are a few nuances but fundamentally on a wakesurf and due to the size constraints of our waves they are extremely similar. The main factor is how aggressively you release the tail of your board. A slash should really be a power trick that you carry a lot of speed into the maneuver and for lack of a better term “lean” into it.
Similar to a lot of these tricks you can practice the motion on land, boat, etc, etc, before taking this to the water. It should help give you the feeling that you are rotating on your front foot and your back leg is being extended.
Once last food for thought and helpful tip is to use your front foot for refernec. It is fairly common for people while learning this trick to go to low on the wave. We all hate flying over the top of the wave and having the boat come get us.