Casper to rail is a combination that I struggled with for years. It’s not difficult, but unless you know the key to making it work, you’ll probably miss it every time and end up back on the griptape like I did.
Although you can do these from any casper, I recommend you learn them by dropping from rail to casper first. It’s much easier to get your feet in the right place that way.
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.
The biggest secret to the casper to rail is the foot placement. Unlike a regular casper, where I tend to want my front foot as far under the board as possible, with this I only want my toes under the board.
From the side, you can barely tell this is different to a normal casper. I still start in the same solidly balanced position, both legs straight, with my hips far back enough to keep myself balanced. My weight is focused almost entirely on the toes of the back foot, which are positioned right at the side of the tail.
I start lifting the nose with my front foot, but as I’ve only got the toes under and the back foot is so close to the side of the tail, it pulls the board up at a slight angle, and it starts rolling over towards my toes. That’s all the back foot is going to contribute to this trick – don’t try to scoop the board with the back foot or you won’t get the right rotation.
Here’s what the takeoff looks like from another angle. This is fractionally after the last frame, so I’m starting to hop upwards, but the toes of the front foot are guiding the board up and over from one side of the board. They want to stay in contact with the grip for as long as possible.
Back to the regular angle, and you can see the board is rolling round in the air, slightly-off axis, and my front foot is still very close to the grip. I don’t want to jump too high, or I’ll never catch it at the right time to land in rail.
This is a crucial moment – the board will keep tumbling over towards the rail, but it’s very easy to put your feet down too quickly and stop it. Also, the back foot has to get out of the way by this point, or the nose of the board will hit it as it falls towards the rail.
If you’ve got the takeoff right, the board should come down like a clapperboard; one end of the board will hit the ground before the other. This means the catch has to be done by the front foot; if you wait until the back end comes down, the board will bounce away from you.
This is the reason the front foot has to stay so close to the board throughout the flip. Catching anything to rail always requires perfect timing, but this landing is so sudden that the foot needs to be in the right place – you can’t rely on being able to see the landing.
With the board caught solidly in rail, bring your back foot in and place it casually on the back wheel. You can relax now and think about the next part of your combo; why not move down to one end of the board and pop up the truck with a butterflip?
The board I’m using here is railstand, you really want to pick up some freestyle wheels for this one. Not only will they protect your axles from damage, but they’ll make it much more comfortable to stand on. It’s also worth making sure your trucks aren’t too loose; wobbly trucks mean wobbly railstands.
A taller setup will make catching a casper to rail much easier. Consider using some big wheels, tall trucks and/or thick risers.
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, especially if you’re using a street board with steep kicktails. Having half of your back foot on the floor is not a good look.