Quite possibly the most stylish trick in all of snowboarding - more stylish than the McTwist and the double cork 1080 - is the basic handplant. Style doesn’t come easy though, and that’s the reason this seemingly simple maneuver is so tough to master.
While it may look like you need killer biceps to pull off a handplant, flexibility and timing are the most important factors. This trick does not require a halfpipe. It can be done on a quarter pipe, spine, natural incline, or even a boulder, and you’re sure to be praised for your unique maneuver.
The following is a basic guide on how to perform your first handplant. Once you've put this stunt in your bag of tricks, and you’ve opened up the door to countless other inverted maneuvers like the eggplant or lay-back air.
The handplant has been around for well over 30 years. It’s uncertain who performed the very first handplant, but skaters argue that it was Bobby Valdez, Greg Weaver or possibly Jay Adams. While the argument of who stomped the first handplant continues to rage, we do know that handplants came onto the skating scene in the late 1970s.
Bobby Valdez was the first skater to pull off a handplant during competition in 1978 at Ride-On skate park in Newark, Calif. At that time, the maneuver was still called an x,” which was soon shortened to “invert.”
Although it is sometimes still regarded as an invert, the trick is now known among riders as a “handplant.” And despite the maneuver’s skateboarding roots, snowboarders have taken this trick, tweaked it and made it their own.
Difficulty: Moderate - Difficult
Time Required: 1 Hour
How to Handplant:
- Practice your handplant on flat land first. You need to get the feeling and motions of the handplant down before you take it to the mountain. Strap into your board and practice sliding into a tail press. This will feel much like the beginning of performing a butter.
- Practice that same sliding motion, but place both of your hands on the ground and let your tail slide out from underneath you. Stand the board on it’s tail edge with both of your hands on the ground in a push-up position. Slowly set the board back down on the ground and practice that same motion a few more times.
- Head to the mountain and find a gentle transition or quarter pipe where you can practice your handplants.
- Come at the transition/quarter pipe with your board flat on the ground and your weight balanced. You’ll want as much speed as you would need to get a little bit of air off the jump.
- As your ride up the ramp of the jump, transfer your weight to the back of your board (much like you did when practicing on dry land). Pop your board off the ground at the lip of the jump, and slap both of your hands onto the lip as close to where your board took off as possible.
- Always look down at the transition or quarter pipe you’re hitting exactly as you would watch the landing of a jump if you were getting air and allow your board to arc slowly through the air as though you were doing a kartwheel.
- Once you're comfortable getting inverted with two hands on the ground, it's time to try for some extra style by throwing in a grab.
- Repeat the the above steps, except this time, when you're inverted, bend your knees and pull them up toward your chest while in the air. Keep one arm planted and reach for a grab with the other. Grabs can be a big help during handplants even if it’s your first attempt at the maneuver. A simple melon or indy grab will help you stay balanced and compact until you descend back into the transition.
- Keep your knees tucked until your board lands on the snow. Land with your weight centred on the board and ride away smoothly.
- Practice your handplant many times until you feel comfortable on that transition. Take it onto new transitions or mix in a variety of grabs and tweaks to add difficulty and style to your handplants.
- Wear a helmet when attempting inverted maneuvers.
- Don’t reach for the lip of the transition as you approach it. Simply place your hands down exactly where your board took off.
- Always look toward your landing during the handplant. Don’t look at your board or the deck of the quarter pipe, or you may end up face-planting on it.
- Try your handplant on a quarter pipe before taking it to the halfpipe. It’s easy to learn a handplant while coming at jump with your board flat on the ground. The halfpipe forces you to be on edge as you approach the lip.