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Cable S-Bend

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David Ngiam

David Ngiam


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Cable S-Bend

Author : Mark Griffin

The cable S-Bend is a really fun trick that should be part of every serious cable riders arsenal. This is the first of the advanced air tricks most people will want to try after having mastered the basic air inverts. There is a learning curve to this trick and even more than the air raley you really need to commit to it 100%. The trick basically consists of an Air Raley combined with an overhead two-handed BS 360 spin

In order to achieve this trick I would recommend that you first are completely comfortable with your air raley. You need to understand edge control and be able to throw a nice floaty air raley consistently and comfortably. If you cannot do this, do not even THINK of trying and S-bend. It is not necessary to learn backrolls prior to learning the S-Bend however I would suggest you do so you can get comfortable with the feeling of rotating in the air.

Approach this trick in exactly the same manner as you would your Raley. As you get the snap and move into your regular stretched out raley position immediately tuck your head under your trailing arm. Ie. if you are throwing the trick right foot forward you will look under your left arm, and vice versa for left foot forward. This action will start your rotation. You will very quickly rotate upside down; at this point it is absolutely critical that you continue to look under your arm! Keep your head position fixed right until the moment you spot the water. As you maintain your body and head position you should rotate all the way back into your original starting position, at which point all that is left to do is spot your landing and pull in just like your regular raley. After you land feel free to scream in delight and let all your buddies know about it!

Common Mistakes

1. There is a tendency when learning this trick to pull out early. Meaning as soon as people get upside down they remove their head from the looking under the arm position. What this does is completely kill the rotation, leaving you at the peak of your trick facing skywards. At this point unless you are a ninja and you are going to take a pretty meaty fall. Bracing for impact is about all you can do.

2. Not pulling in at the end of the trick. If the s-bend is too low, or too slow there is a chance of not pulling in the handle in time and catching a front edge, this is very painful and is the reason many never even try the s-bend or give up after a few painful attempts.


1. Keep your head locked under arm, I like to think of it as looking through the V of your armpit as the keyhole, do not lift out your head until you spot the landing.

2. Stretch your arms above your head during the trick, this will increase the speed of your rotation and give you more time to spot your landing.

3. COMMIT COMMIT COMMIT!! This trick even more than the raley is a total commitment trick. There is no half s-bend, or trial s-bend. Give it everything you’ve got from the very first time you try it. This is the safest way to approach this trick.

Photo : Max Christian

Video : Max Christian

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It took me 10 months in total to learn the s-bend, but that's because (beside from it being a dead-scary trick) I'm a slow learner and didn't try it very often

here's what I went through on both short and normal rope:

here's the result on the normal rope

It's much less scary on the short rope, since your vertical speed is lower (=softer crashes) and you're kind of flying in slow motion.

I like to break things down into smaller pieces and before I tried the actual mid-air spin I learnt to edge and launch with straight arms. then I made sure I had enough air time to really tuck my head in between my shoulders and look down on the water for half a second before pulling in and landing. From a spectator's view this looks like a rather ugly. big unstylish raley

the feeling between short and normal rope is very different because on normal rope everything happens in the blink of an eye whereas on the short rope you can feel how the board releases from the water and you have plenty of time to initiate the rotation in the right moment.

to me the trickiest thing is still initiating the spin at the right time. If you start too early you'll crash on your back before the board has even left the water. If you start too late you'll still be spinning when you hit the water, which could lead to some really nasty "I'll never try this trick again" crashes.

turning only my _head_ to look under my rear arm wasn't enough for me. I had to force the rotation all the way from the stomach, up through the shoulders and out into the hands

keeping the eyes open didn't work for me, because as soon as I saw the sky swooshing by I'd freak out and let go of the handle. When I initiate the spin I close my eyes and hope for the best.

except for the opposite directon of the spin, to me this trick feels like throwing a back roll really aggressively with a split second's delay between the release and the twist.

a lot of pushing and cheering from your friends is almost also a must

kind regards

Edited by Eric, 10 July 2011 - 10:48 PM.

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