TECHNIQUE

STALEFISH GRAB TIPS

F-One’s freestyle Swiss army knife, Paul Serin, offers up the key body movement pointers for one of the more accessible grabs in the text book

WORDS: Paul Serin PHOTOS: C J Coetzee / @cjcpixels

Some grabs are really quite difficult to reach. They not only require good flexibility, but also a really powerful pop to give you the time in the air and slackened line moment to be able to reach the grab correctly. The hooked-in stalefish can be done relatively easily and the way I do it most often is with a high kite. That means if you’re comfortable sending floaty transitions and popping front rolls then you’re basically ready to try. To get into the grab position I always initiate a front roll because I find it’s easier when my body is already spinning forwards. As soon as I start rotating forward I begin to bend my front leg and slowly raise up the tail of the board. If you can do that with your legs then, even if you’re not the most flexible person, you should be able to reach the centre of the heelside edge of your board with your back hand. The really key element is to bend your front leg and the rotation of your front roll naturally brings the board up towards your hand. As soon as you lock the grab position, try to relax and let yourself spin slowly.

One important focus you need to have throughout is not putting too much pressure on your front hand which remains on the bar when you make the grab. If you can ensure that you only apply very light pressure with your front hand (while keeping the bar sheeted for lift), then even if you don’t manage to time your rotation correctly at first, you will land softly in the water with the kite overhead, rather than having it pull you forward in the power zone because you’ve put too much pressure on the front of the bar. Start off with just a small jump by putting the kite at 12 and begin to play with tweaking your leg position; bending the front one and raising up the tail. Then start trying those same leg movements while you pop a floaty front roll. Once you’re getting the sensation, then start taking your back hand off the bar for longer until you can comfortably reach the grab. This really is one of my favourite grabs. The position feels so good and I try to hold the grab as long as I can, sometimes even adding in a second front roll. This grab will look good anywhere, not just in Tahiti...

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