The Follwing Appeared in Union Wakeboarder Magazine (AU Edition) Volume 01 Issue 03.
Hater or Realist? My thoughts on pre-spinning. By Mark ‘Turtle’ McNamara.
So, if your reading this, chances are you have heard the term “Pre-Spinning” before. It is quite often a much questioned and talked about topic in the land of wakeboarding the world over, and thanks to forums such as facebook and the like there of, the breeding ground for such debates on the subject is further exacerbated with the multitude of web edits or sequence shots uploaded to cyber space on a weekly basis.
If you haven’t heard of the term before, it is, in simple, the act of attempting a spin based trick off a kicker, but starting, “said trick”, before actually leaving the kicker.
Does it really matter you may ask?……. In my opinion, it does, and here’s why.
As we delve deeper and deeper into the future, not just the future of wakeboarding, but the future of life in general. I find that we are becoming a society of, “close enough is good enough”. A society where everyone wants something for nothing and we are prepared to so easily sacrifice the meaningful, for the quickest result possible, and I find so many of us seek the noise of praise from the masses, than the silence of seeking perfection in ourselves. Now when I say, “perfection” I don’t mean as in doing no wrong, I mean learning from our mistakes and truthfully asking the best of ourselves.
With that said, let me just dissect this elephant a bit and run through how we got to where we are.
With gratuitous compliments and pedestals thrust up to new tricks claimed, onlookers, local and world wide are keen to get a glimpse of what all the fuss is about when they see the heading and the claiming, “900!!!” “1080!!!” attached to a clip that is being re-posted numerous times on the book of faces, or the latest web edit that consists of stomping hammer after hammer. Quickly following this, there is a barrage of comments from stoked and supportive friends, family, fans and sponsors alike. sounds fair right? to be super pumped for someone that’s achieved a goal that many aspire to….. but wait….. there’s that portion of onlookers that want to make sure it is what it is meant to be before they give their congratulations… and if, at a closer look, it isn’t what its claimed to be, then wouldn’t it be fair to call this claim??.. on a large scale, apparently not.. and so with this call out, a supposed “hater” is born.
So firstly lets take a look at the basic fundamentals of doing any form of aerial based trick of any sport that uses a land object to project the person into the air……. First and foremost – The object is there to allow you to get in the air …… actually, its the only reason its there. Everyone uses them, from Skaters to snowboarders from BMX to motocross. they all need some form of jump, ramp or kicker to execute a desired aerial trick. But none of these sports start any of their tricks until after they leave the kicker.. So why do some wakeboarders??……. the answer is, because they can, and because they can, it makes us a little lazy at times… the reason for this is that the surface that a kicker is made out of gets very slippery when its wet and will allow you to spin very freely once you are on them… So, just because you can, does that make it right to do so??….
I recently saw a wakeboarding meme, that was a screen shot from a web edit. The photo was of a guy 3/4 of the way up a kicker and had already spun 90 degrees, the text at the top read, “Landed a 1080”, followed by the text “No you didn’t”… Now this one meme created quite a stir amongst the crowd and seemed to ruffle some feathers, and the much used “hater” statement came out.. Many liked the meme and many didn’t.. And from reading and hearing responses to it, I think a lot of the people that didn’t like it, actually missed the meaning behind what the meme was saying.. I read comments like, “people that cant do 1080’s are just hating on this guy” and “people would be stoked to be able to do half the things this guy can do” “even if he did pre spin, its still a sick trick and he’s still a rad rider”……Now I think people see the word “1080” and instantly fixate on that, but the fact is you can clearly see the trick has already begun before its meant to. It wouldn’t matter if it said “Landed a 360”, the purpose of the statement remains the same. In actual fact the trick this screenshot/meme was created from was actually a 900, not a 1080, thus reiterating the fact it doesn’t matter what spin is being done, its the fact its not being done correctly, which on a whole is how a lot of people spin. Basically as I see it, no one is trying to call any one rider out but just trying to progress things in the right directions and at no point is anyone saying this person is not a talented wakeboarder.
Lets look at it from a slightly different angle.. Say someone is trying to learn a back mobe 540. They do a clean back mobe, land and then do a surface 180.. Can that person claim they did a back mobe 5?.. or if someone did a 720 off a kicker and after landing, instantly spin a surface 180 on the water.. can this person claim a 900?… and if they do claim it would it be ok for someone to point out the obvious?… so why is it ok to do it at the start of a trick?
It seems to be getting even worse with the next generation. Its become so widely acceptable to pre-spin that we are starting to see groms spin almost full 360’s on the kickers and if you say something to help prevent the pre-spin and improve their riding, rather than being seen as helping, your being demonised as a hater or having a bad attitude…. So rather than working on doing a proper 360, they want to learn a 720 or 900 and its no wonder they don’t want to learn it properly because its what they are seeing everyone else do, not to mention how much easier it makes things. I think when people are learning the proper fundamentals of wakeboarding they should be taught not only the correct body/handle position and how to edge but they should be taught just as importantly the correct way to hit a kicker.
So where to from here?.. We all have grand aspirations of seeing wakeboarding growing to be one of the major sports of the world in the future. Where people want to see it back in the X Games and even maybe in the Olympics and we want to be taken more seriously. But do we actually take ourselves seriously or on the flip side do we take ourselves too seriously?… We are trying to walk down the similar path to the sports that actually built the path for us. Sports like skateboarding, snowboarding & surfing have all been around a lot longer than wakeboarding and are the grass roots of what we do, yet unlike wakeboarding on a large scale they pride themselves on the legitimacy of what they do and how they do it. Is it any wonder why people question wakeboarding’s legitimacy when they watch a competition and see un-grabbed pre-spun 900 beating a super styled grabbed (in the correct place) legitimate 540 or 720?.
So again I ask, hater or realist?
In my eyes its constructive criticism. A constructive criticism that will help the progression of our sport.