Once upon a time, the casper bigspin was a go-to casper trick for amateur freestylers everywhere. Now it seems somewhat overlooked, and that’s a massive shame – it’s a lot of fun to do. It helps if you’ve already learned to do straight caspers and a casper disaster before you give this one a try.
Note that I do my caspers on the tail, with my front foot underneath the board. Some people find nose caspers (with the back foot under the board) easier. Do whichever you find comfortable – there’s no real downside to either position – and just reverse the instructions below if needed. You will have to roll forwards while looking backwards if you plan on doing a casper bigspin on the nose, however.
The starting position for this is essentially the same as for a straight casper – the only difference is you want to be facing the nose with your upper body.
I start out by rolling backwards while facing the nose, twisting my shoulders frontside (that’s to the left if you’re regular footed) to wind up for the backside rotation.
It’s hard to tell in static shots, but the “unwind” to come back in line with the board has to be both smooth and fairly quick. I’m compressing here – bending at the knees – ready to pull the board into the casper.
Here you can see how twisted my upper body has to get to generate the spin. My upper body has continued rotating past the board, and I still haven’t lifted the wheels off the floor – although I am starting to unweight myself by straightening my legs.
Finally, it’s time to pull into the casper. Like with a regular casper, you don’t want to use the front foot too much – most of the trick comes from pulling the board over with the arch of the back foot.
This is why the back foot has to do most of the work – as it pulls over, it naturally lands on the tail, ready to spin. The front foot has to stay off the floor, and pushes the board into the casper bigspin as my torso continues to twist.
Now I’m solidly in the casper and spinning comfortably, using a straightened back leg as my point of balance. In theory, as long as I keep myself centred over the tail properly, I could keep spinning if I keep my upper body twisted.
This is the moment which kills the spin. I’m still pushing through the casper bigspin, but I’m letting my upper body relax; looking at the point you want to stop spinning at will help kill the spin and stop you over-rotating.
Finally, the board is coming back into line with my shoulders. I can’t rest now, though – without any momentum, it’s going to be hard to keep the nose up. I need to flip out before the spin stops completely.
In the dying moments of the spin, I start to take off for the flip out. This is much more of a rotation than the end-over-end flip you might get on a regular casper; like with the rail to casper, I start by dipping the toe on my back foot, scooping the back foot behind me and pushing the front foot forwards.
Here you can see the way the board uses the rotational momentum to come out of this trick, and if you look closely, you can see my back foot still pointing down. It’s this pointing of the back foot that makes the board flip over – the front foot just pushes it through the spin.
Now the board has left the back foot entirely, and the front foot is entirely in control. The side of the foot keeps pushing on the griptape, completing the bigspin rotation while I hang in mid-air for a split second.
If you’ve pushed through the spin correctly, the front foot shouldn’t have left the grip at all, and will keep the board controlled up to the last moment. Now all I have to do is straighten the front leg and push the board to the ground.
This is a clean landing, but not the prettiest. I tend to find that I want to keep spinning with these – it’s very easy to let the rotation keep going, as you can see from my shoulders. Normally I go with it, and flow straight into some footwork.
The board I’m using here is a double-kick deck I designed with caspers in mind. It has low kicktail angles to make it easier to stand on, and absolutely no concave, reducing the pain in the top of the foot. A good single kick deck with a decent sized flat nose and no concave would also be a good choice for this trick; although it will work with almost any setup, this will make your life a lot easier.
If you’re struggling to hold onto the spin, try picking up a deck with squarer tail; square tails will not work well for technical casper tricks, but they’ll lock into a stable spin much easier than the rounded tail of a street deck.
If you plan on doing a lot of caspers, it’s worth putting some griptape on the underside of the tail to make it a bit easier to stand on. I also highly recommend putting short woodscrews into the top of your board along the end of the tail. This will stop you wearing away the top of the board. Just don’t use them if you skate indoors a lot, as you’ll absolutely ruin a polished floor!
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