Handle Pass Tricks
If you’re here, chances are the heel front 3 is your first trick that requires a handle pass. If not, I’d love to hear what you learned before this. The handle pass is certainly the most difficult part of learning to spin on a wakeboard, and there are a lot of minor details to focus on to get it just right. Before trying this trick, you should be able to do heelside wake to wake jumps with ease, heel frontside 180s, and probably a couple inverts like tantrums and backrolls for body awareness and comfort in the air.
Learning the Handle Pass
The best way to get the feeling of a frontside 360 on a wakeboard is to first learn it on the water going as slow as possible. Have your driver slow the boat down to where you’re barely planing on the water, and a fall won’t hurt. Practice spinning full frontside 360s inside the wake on top of the water. Obviously this is a bit of a different feeling since you need to make sure to keep your edges up and alternate your weight, but it’s a perfect way to learn the handle pass with low consequence.
Before this step, if you have access to a trampoline you can also attach a wake handle to a pole or tree near the tramp. You can than practice jumping and passing the handle behind you as you spin a 360. I’d highly recommend getting these motions down before taking the trick wake to wake.
Heelside frontside 360s require a very mellow carve into the wake. When you first learn this trick, it’s best to just go wake to wake instead of taking it out into the flats. A lot of different movements go into this trick, so I’ll try to break it down into smaller bits. Take a mellow cut into the wake with your knees bent to about 90 degrees. Go into the wake with the goal of landing on the downside of the opposite wake.
Have your arms bent at about a 45 degree angle with your elbows closer to your side than they would be on most other tricks. You want to keep the handle as close to your body as possible so that it doesn’t go out of reach on the pass. As you hit the wake, pop exactly like you would on a normal heelside wake to wake jump. You don’ t do anything differently until you’re almost to the peak of your jump.
Performing the Spin
You’re nearing the peak of your jump, your arms and handle are close to your body, and you’re ready to spin. Drop your front hand and twist your head and torso behind you. Place your front hand behind your back and reach for the handle. As your back hand wraps behind your back, your front hand should find the handle. This is where you really need to focus on keeping the handle close to your body. If it starts to pull your back hand out, you won’t have enough reach with your front hand to catch the handle and finish the rotation.
Once you do manage to grab the handle, drop once again, this time with your back hand. At this point you’ll be finishing the spin. You can land with just your front hand, but it can often be tough to hang onto. Keep the grip clenched, or better yet, try to get your back hand up and land with both hands on the handle. Congratulations, you can heel frontside 360!
360s on a wakeboard are hard and scary. Frontside is easier than backside due to the nature of the setup. While the landing is a bit blind, the setup is way easier. When I first learned this trick, I was so close about 20 times where I got it around and the handle slipped out of my hand. The closer you can keep the handle to your body, the better. If you land with your arm or arms bent, you have some room for them to extend and make it easier to hold onto the handle. If you barely get your hand to the handle and your arm is straight by the time you land, it becomes really tough to ride away clean.
Handle pass tricks are scary, but once you land this is feels so smooth and so sick. Best of luck – leave a comment below with questions or comments!