“This is a half grab — not Tail, not Indy, but Tindy”
Perhaps you have previously heard the often-hated term Tindy? How about Napan, Tailfish, or Nelon? These are the four spots to grab on your board that exist between your tail/nose and your feet (Tindy = Tail + Indy, Napan = Nose + Japan, etc.). But I can literally count on one icy pole the number of times I have seen a good version of these tricks.
Surely you’ll agree that a Stalefish just looks way better than a Tailfish. It doesn’t matter if you are spinning 9s or straight airing; Tailfishes just look like a missed grab. Right? ‘Haters!’ you might say. Defining style is the goal here, not hating., but sounding like a hater is a regrettable echo that follows taking a stand. Union has no desire to create a world of fear, but we do desire to understand the standard set for stylish riding. Don’t you? So we must educate ourselves. Firstly we must appreciate why we even bother to grab our board. It’s not going anywhere, we are literally screwed down to it, so why does grabbing it even matter? To answer that question we have to look back at wakeboarding’s original inspiration—skateboarding. Grabbing a skateboard was necessary because it was the main way to keep your board under your feet while in the air. Skateboarders progressed their grabbing techniques and added style to it by switching up their grabs, tweaking out their body while grabbing, even experimenting with taking their feet off while grabbing. Wakeboarders took inspiration from the style and look of skateboarding and translated it onto the water. So grabbing was adapted to add the style points that we all love. But if the only reason we grab our board is for the purpose of style then shouldn’t we beware of unstylish grabs? Damn straight! Grabbing in-between your bindings or out on the nose and tail of your board forces you into positions that create artistic style in photos and on video. Tindys and their cousins are lazy grabs that are much easier to do, but they look shittier for that exact reason. They are a half grabs—not Tail, not Indy, but Tindy. Good grabs require a great deal of flexibility, and are often more difficult than spinning multiple rotations. Take my favorite grab, the Japan, as an example. Grabbing between your binding and pulling your board back behind your head as far as you can creates one of the best looking tricks around. But when the rider is grabbing somewhere between his boots and the tail it just makes the trick look wrong and ruins everything that was beautiful about it, in my opinion. I probably hate the Napan more than any other because of how much I love a good Japan grab (and don’t even think about claiming a boot grab!). Why does this need to be mentioned? Well, in the quest to push the sport in a more ‘measurable’ direction, grab understanding has been left behind in favor of the more easily quantifiable 720s, 900s, and 1080s. In a contest, judges, spectators and riders know that a 1080 is harder than a 900 but it is not as easy to define which is harder—a tweaked out Japan, or a tweaked out Crail? And what happens when you add spins? Is a perfectly stomped 900 Tindy slap for .00001 seconds better than a 720 with a tweaked tail grab? I don’t really have to answer that, do I? If anyone thinks measurable numbers are more important they should maybe think about getting into jump skiing instead. Style should always come first. When it comes down to truly defining good style we don’t really need words like Zeaching, Tindy and boot grabs… style is subjective, and thus shouldn’t we just see the trick and instantly know whether it is good enough or not?
So regardless, if a trick inspires you, go out and ride. Grab Tindy all day long if you want, and have fun with it but (don’t shoot the messenger here) it does not belong up on the same podium as legit grabs such as the Indy or the Tail. Nope. The fact remains that to move forward we need to understand what is and isn’t legit, and we do this by taking the lessons learnt from our board sport brethren. We do this by taking the harder road to a more stylish future. To make our sport look as good as it really is. Head to thetobloggan.com for more of what Alex thinks.