I always feel like the casper to casper looks a lot harder than it is. There’s something quite impressive about watching someone balance on the tip of the tail, flip the board around, and catch it back in a balanced position, but if you’re doing it correctly, the board will almost do the casper to casper for you. Just be prepared to split your shins open a few times while you’re learning it!
Before you begin, it’s worth learning the nose casper to casper, as while that is a more difficult starting position, the technique needed to get the board to flip into position is considerably easier.
Note that I, like many freestylers, prefer doing my caspers on the tail. If you tend to do your caspers “switch” by default (i.e. you find nose caspers more comfortable), start this move on the nose instead, and reverse all the instructions below. It really doesn’t make much difference which stance you prefer to be in – it’ll work the same either way.
You need to make sure that your back foot is solidly on the tail to begin this trick. Hang the toes over the side slightly, but make sure your foot isn’t hanging off the end of the tail.
The front foot position isn’t as crucial. As long as it’s deeply under the board, somewhere around the front truck, and not touching the ground, you’re fine.
I start in a regular casper position. Note my back foot – it’s solidly on the tail, nice and snug, close to the truck. This is important for reasons I’ll explain later.
This frame might not look too different, but notice that my hips have moved out past the end of the tail, and I’m hanging out the back of the board.
Now I start the trick in earnest; I begin by lifting the front foot and bringing the board up to a higher angle. This is why my foot needed to be solidly on the tail – I’d lose the board if it wasn’t.
This is the single moment that makes the whole trick work. My back foot is going to push through the underside of the tail on the toeside edge, both lifting the tail off the ground and creating a half flip motion as it does so.
Here you can see the board starting to whirl around through the classic casper to casper motion, and I’ve got my back foot out of the way of the nose as it starts to swing around.
And by this point, my front foot is out of the way too. I can’t move it out too far, or I’ll never catch the board again. The trick’s almost over already – my back foot is already swinging into position.
This is the second crucial part of the trick. It’s all too easy for the board to bounce off the ground – you’ve got to start getting that front foot underneath it as soon as it returns to an upside down position to control it.
Now you can see clearly that we’re returning to a casper. The board still hasn’t totally settled on my front foot, but the back foot is about to stomp down onto the tail to lock it in.
Like all caspers, your choice of deck will have a huge influence over how easy (or difficult) this trick will be.
Firstly, steep kicktails are not your friend on this one. The steeper the angle of the tails, the harder they are to stand on, and the more difficult it will be to catch the second casper. As such, a single kick board is the easiest option by far; if you start on the kicktail and land on the flat nose, the catch will be much simpler.
However, not all single kicks are made equal on this one. A board with a super-short nose like Mullen’s Chessboard leaves you with very little space to stand on. It’s still easier than a steep street board would be, but it becomes very difficult to catch cleanly if you don’t have a lot of room!
Another thing to look at is the shape of the deck itself. Rounder kicktails or noses will roll through the trick easily. A board which is square at both ends like Marius Constantin’s Cirus board will lock tightly into place on the landing, but it’ll be much more difficult to get it to flip cleanly out of the original casper. If you’re using a heavily directional board like Denham Hill’s pro model, definitely start out on the rounder end of the board for this trick.
Finally, whatever deck you’re using, do yourself a favour – put some griptape on the underside of the nose. Without the griptape you’re going to slide off a lot, as the board has to be near-vertical before you jump off it. If you’re still using the same board for street skating and freestyle, now is definitely a good time to consider setting up a separate board for freestyle use.
One last thing. No matter how tempting it may seem, don’t put either foot on the floor at any point in this trick. Don’t try to justify it to yourself by saying “you’re getting a feel for it” or “I’m only learning – I can tidy it up later”. Not only is doing a casper with your foot down completely missing the point – it’s like doing a wheelie or manual with your tail scraping the whole way through the trick – but it totally changes the technique. Avoid getting into bad habits now that you’ll only have to fix later.