When the legendary “Freestyle Comic” Charlie Holcomb (seriously – give him a follow on Instagram, if you don’t already) found out that I was going to do a tricktip for the crossfoot impossible to casper, he said – and I quote – “This has to be the most consistently worst done trick in all of freestyle, right?”
Sadly, he might be right.
This is by no means a hard trick, but it is an easy trick to do badly. There’s a few board setup notes at the bottom which will help, but as long as you follow this guide – and keep your feet off the floor! – you should be doing them pretty well in no time.
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 – standing on your back leg to begin – 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’re going to want to start with your front foot on the tail end of the board, and the back leg – not shown here – hanging in the air. Note that my foot is slightly angled in relation to the board.
This oddly framed shot shows the most important element – the angle of the deck. My body is facing the same direction as my front foot, which is pointing the same direction as the white line. The deck is approximately 30º off that alignment.
With the board in that position, you should be able to reach across with your back leg and hook under the nose. Make sure that foot is as deep under the nose as possible, though – don’t just stick your toes under.
I begin the trick by lifting the nose with my back foot. I’m unweighted here – the sudden straightening of my front leg has taken my weight off the board – but notice my front foot is still solidly on the tail.
And now I can start pulling the board into an impossible. If it wasn’t for my crossed legs, you might think this was a nosehook impossible; my back foot is pulling the board vertical, and my back foot is pushing through the tail to lift that end of the board.
The board gets past the vertical position very quickly as my front foot drives through the board, and my back foot is following the underside of the nose as closely as possible…
…but eventually the nose starts to drop away as the front foot continues to lift the tail up. This is where things can rapidly go wrong – if the front foot lifts too far and/or my back foot is too late, the nose will be too vertical for me to land on.
You can see here that I was moments away from losing this one. The board is veering back towards vertical again – but luckily my back foot is hovering in position, ready to get the board under control.
Like all caspers, your choice of deck will have a huge influence over how easy (or difficult) this trick will be – but the addition of the cross-legged start means you’ve got an extra factor to consider.
Firstly, a steep nose is not your friend on this one. The steeper the angle of the nose, the harder they are to stand on for the casper, and the more likely it is that it’ll be too vertical to put your back foot on after it’s spun through the impossible. 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!
A flat nose also has another benefit – you’re less likely to have your back foot shoot out from under it as you pick the board up for the impossible. Griptape and a skid plate under the nose will give your foot additional things to anchor itself on as you start the trick, too.
Another thing to look at is the shape of the deck itself. Rounder kicktails are likely to roll around as you try to get the board vertical; if you’re using a heavily directional board like Denham Hill’s pro model, you’ll find the squarer end helps you keep the impossible under control (and more vertical, too).
Longer wheelbases aren’t going to be your friend here; the further away that front truck is, the further you have to reach to get the back foot under it. That’s alright if you’re a long-legged beanstalk, but for the average human being, you’re going to want something relatively short – especially if you want to keep these as vertical as possible (which you should).
Another setup/deck issue which you might run into is the initial angle of the board. A steep kicktail combined with a tall truck will result in the nose being much higher when you’re in your starting position. This translates to less of a stretch as your cross your legs and a far greater likelihood of keeping the trick vertical. I did the sequence for this trick on my pro model (which, despite being a relatively tall setup, has a very mellow kicktail), but it’s much easier on my Kill Your Idols setup due to the steeper kicktail (and the fractionally shorter wheelbase, flat nose, squarer tail… yeah. That setup works a lot better for this trick than my usual one). You can see a comparison of the two on the right; that small difference in angle translates to a huge difference in how the trick feels to do.
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.