You don’t have to be ambidextrous to ride your snowboard fakie. Although it may feel awkward at first, riding fakie, also known as riding switch, will feel like second nature after a lot of practice and a few minor adjustments to your stance.
Learning to ride fakie will allow you more comfort in your takeoffs, landings, and butters, and will also open the door to tons of new trick combinations.
Your dominant foot is usually in the rear and in control of the board when you snowboard. To ride with your recessive foot in control will feel like throwing a ball with your recessive hand at first, but as you get more used to riding this way, you’ll notice that you’ll be an all-around better rider.
Set Your Stance
The first step to learning how to ride fakie is setting your bindings in a stance that will make it feel as comfortable as possible. You don’t want to ride fakie with both of your bindings facing the same direction, such as a carving stance, because you’ll want to be able to alternate between your regular and fakie stance often as you progress.
Stand on the center of your board with your feet over the screw holes. Make sure there is an equal distance from your front foot to the nose of the board as there is from your back foot to the tail of the board. Your knees should bend comfortably, and your feet should be slightly more than shoulder-width apart.
Place your bindings on the board exactly where your feet were, and locate the mounting disk in the center of the each binding.
Rotate the mounting disk on the front binding to a positive angle, and adjust the rear binding disk to a negative angle. This will cause your bindings to face away from each other - in a duck stance - so you can easily look downhill when you’re riding regular as well as fakie. If you’re unsure about a comfortable duck stance, try rotating the front binding to 10 degrees and the rear to -10 degrees.
Stand on your bindings in this new stance and make small adjustments until you find comfortable angles that don’t strain your calves or knees. Screw the bindings tightly in place with a Phillips head screwdriver or snowboard tool.
Hit the Slopes (A Small Slope)
Like learning to write with your recessive hand, snowboarding fakie takes a ton of practice, so try not to lose sight of your goal when you catch an edge.
Head to the bunny hill or a small slope in your yard, strap in, and start sliding downhill with your dominant foot forward. Always keep your body in an athletic stance with your knees and ankles slightly bent. Your shoulders should be parallel to your feet and your eyes should be directed downhill.
Apply pressure to your toes and heels to turn just as you would when snowboarding in your usual (not fakie) stance. Think about the motions as you perform them; you’ll probably feel like you’re learning how to snowboard all over again, and that’s OK.
Keep your weight and balance centered on the board. It’s easy to apply too much weight to your rear foot and slide out or catch an edge when learning to ride with your recessive foot in control.
Practice riding fakie down the small slope or bunny hill until you feel comfortable enough to hit a larger run and increase your speed. Spend a whole day riding fakie or ride fakie a little every day. It doesn’t matter how you go about it, but you need to practice often to feel and appear as comfortable in a switch stance as your favorite riders do on TV.
Practice your butters, spins, switch takeoffs and switch landings. Once you’ve mastered riding fakie on the regular slopes, take your new skill to the park. The biggest perk of riding fakie is the bag of tricks you’ve opened up for yourself, so just keep practicing.
- Keep a snowboard tool in your pocket when you ride. You never know when you’ll want to make slight binding adjustments or change your setup entirely.
- Wear a helmet when practicing new skills like riding fakie. You’ll probably take a lot more spills than you would when riding in your comfort zone.
- Keep your front and rear binding angles within about 20 degrees of each other to help keep strain off your knees and prevent injury.