There’s no way around it: the crossfoot casper is one of the most awkward casper tricks there is. It borrows heavily from the frontside casper, but with the additional fun benefit of tying your legs into knots.
Your board setup, initial foot placement and rolling speed are all going to play a significant role with this trick – much more so than most other tricks we’ve covered on this site. Once you’ve read the step-by-step below, pay extra attention to the Additional Notes section at the end.
Start by rolling at a slow speed, eyes focused on the nose, and your upper body twisted away from your back foot. The more uncomfortable you feel at this point, the better.
Unwind your upper body, pressing down on the front foot and pulling the board into a casper with the back foot as your shoulders start to come into line with the board.
Keeping the front foot so far behind feels weird – the first couple of times you get to this position, you’ll probably move the front foot up towards the nose. Resist that impulse and keep guiding the board to a crossfoot casper.
This is the make-or-break point. My front foot needs to be far enough away from the back foot to keep the tail off the ground – while also being far enough under the board to avoid sliding out from under it.
Now I’m settled into the crossfoot casper, and am focused on holding it through the spin. You want to be looking into the spin, if that makes sense – fix your gaze roughly 45º away from the line of the board. That’ll help keep you spinning.
Because you’re spinning blind, you can’t really see the end of the trick – you have to feel it. You don’t want to exit too late, because the flip out will generate some extra rotation. I’m probably about 90º through the spin now, and I’ve got to think about coming out already.
I start to hop upwards, pushing onto the toes of my back foot and rocking the board forwards. I don’t have to consciously flip the board – simply getting out of the crossfoot casper position should bring the board around.
If you’ve already learned the frontside casper this bit should feel familiar. The toes of my front foot are knocking the board over from underneath; the big difference is I also need to move the front foot towards the nose to return to a regular riding position.
I come out of the crossfoot casper very quickly, and end up leaving the board behind as I hover above it. The motion of uncrossing my legs as I jumped upwards is knocking the nose of the board forwards, rotating the board slightly.
The front foot is probably going to catch this one first, which can be good – it’s rare you’ll manage a totally clean 180º with this, so the front foot coming down slightly before the back foot means you should be able to pivot round a bit further if needed.
I land very front-heavy – not too uncommon for this trick in my experience. I should now be rolling backwards, but realistically, I’m going to want to go straight into some footwork to smooth out the exit.
Warning: there are a lot of variables which will make this trick far harder than it needs to be.
Firstly, the crossfoot casper is very picky about your rolling speed. I have a tendency to roll too fast into everything; this trick needs to be done at a slow crawl or you’ll fly off the end of the board. It isn’t like a fakie casper where going a bit too fast will just mean you exit the casper faster – because your legs are tangled up, you won’t be able to fight the sudden shift in momentum.
Similarly, going too slowly (or trying to do it stationary) will make it harder to keep the tail off the ground, and the spin will become laboured. You’re more likely to have the board slide off the front foot this way, too.
Once you’ve got the speed right, you need to make sure your feet start in the right position. If your front foot is too close to the front truck, you won’t be able to hold the board up, and the back leg might stop the front foot from going far enough under the board. Start with the front foot too far back and you won’t be able to get your body weight in the right position.
All this is somewhat moot if your board is making this harder on you. You really need some griptape under the nose or your front foot will slide right off; a skid plate alone isn’t enough to stand on, especially if the nose is overly steep. And because of the weight distribution and angles involved, concave can be a very painful experience during this trick.
Another thing to think about with the nose angle is that the steeper the nose, the more extreme of an angle your front foot needs to be at. You’re going to be bending your back foot the wrong way, so a super-steep nose is going to make this very uncomfortable! My board has super-mellow kicktails at both ends and my foot still has to bend at a weird angle. A flat nose would be the most comfortable option for this trick.
One last thing. No matter how tempting it may seem, don’t put the front 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”. If your foot hits the floor, the trick isn’t going to flow smoothly through the 180º, and it won’t feel – or look – as good. Avoid getting into bad habits now that you’ll only have to fix later.