It’s true, kickers scare me, I’m much more scared of hitting a kicker than I am of trying rails. I recently had a competition at Warmwell in Dorset, this is a snowflex covered slope which means no evil holes to get your limbs trapped in, and even better there’s padding under the surface so if you fall it’s relatively cushioned. Technically speaking this should have meant that I would have been happy chucking myself off the big air kicker and rather than sticking to my easy, old faithful grabs I should have been trying spins….but I couldn’t, no matter how hard I tried to do it I couldn’t bring myself to spin off that kicker.
I’ve been sitting here puzzling about why I preferred to do a 5 foot gap onto a wooden box surrounded by stairs (that’s really going to sting if you fall on it) rather than trying to spin onto a nice cushioned landing off a kicker half the size than the one I use to hit the airbag….all I can come up with is that it’s a control thing. I feel much more controlled when I hit rails, I think it’s because I’m in contact with the rail, I can jump on to it and position myself, and if necessary re-adjust my positioning whilst I’m doing the trick. I think with kickers I worry about the lack of control, the fact is on kickers I feel very much at the mercy of gravity, and I struggle to get my head round just how much speed I need to hit the kicker, do the trick and land in the correct spot on the slope. I hate flying through the air above the ground, there just seems to be so much more to go wrong, I know this is pretty irrational and most people deem rails evil and kickers good, but hey I’m a little bit weird anyway so I guess that’s why I think in reverse.
So last week’s airbag session was spent working on speed and height, going as fast and as big as I could in an attempt to get over the fear and to start feeling happier about being in the air. It did seem to work as well, I was going bigger than I ever had and actually felt for a while like I knew where I was position-wise at any one point. It’ll be interesting to see how tonights session goes, whether my confidence from last week will still be there or if I’ll be back to starting from scratch again.
J also has a theory as to why I constantly land on my ass off kickers, and I think he’s right…..the board I’ve been riding is too wide for my midget feet! So I’ve been landing and being slightly unstable and unable to get on a toe edge (my size 4.5s don’t extend over the board) I’ve been giving up and falling backwards. I rode my old narrower T2 on Saturday and it seemed to be easier to get on my toes coming out of the rails so hopefully we’ve solved that problem and tonight’s kicker session will be much improved. I like this theory of J’s as well, because it’s meant that he’s buying me a new board. My new Nitro Black Widow (last season’s for cheapness & graphics) should arrive today, I used to ride a Black Widow and loved it, unfortunately I killed it on a c-rail and it had to be retired so I’m really kooking forward to getting back on one again. It’s narrow enough for my feet and is nice and poppy, fingers crossed this will be the start of my kicker revolution!