The frontside casper is a weirdly addictive trick. It takes some getting used to; you’re physically dragging the board through the rotation with the front foot, which is a vastly different feeling to most other casper tricks. However, once I got this one down, I didn’t want to go back to backside rotations on my caspers. There’s something very satisfying about the upper body twist involved in these.
Before you begin, it should go without saying that you’ll need to know how to roll into a casper. This trick relies on momentum; don’t expect to do it without rolling into it.
Your foot position for a frontside casper should be much the same as any other rolling casper trick. The front foot points at the nose near the front truck, and the back foot hooks over the side of the tail.
I begin the trick by rolling backwards while staring at the nose to anchor my body. I wind my shoulders in the opposite direction to the intended rotation, creating tension which will create the turn mid-trick.
As I unwind my arms and upper body, I start flipping the board over into the casper, just as I do with a straight rolling casper. I want to time this so the flip begins as my shoulders face the nose.
While the board drops into the casper, I continue the rotation of my shoulders, twisting around in a frontside direction. The legs – and the board – will follow shortly.
Now I’m settled into the casper, and there’s a good distance between the board and my front arm. My front shoulder is going to lead me through the trick.
This is the textbook position for a frontside casper. My front leg is locked straight to hold the nose up, my back leg is bent for balance, and I’m staring at the nose as I twist around. Meanwhile my front arm is behind me, keeping the spin going.
At this point, my torso has almost finished the frontside turn, so I can stop pulling my shoulder back. I have to let the board catch up with my upper body, otherwise the flip out won’t be clean.
As my board completes the frontside casper, I start to think about flipping out. I dip the toes on my back foot on the last part of the rotation, ready to tip the board back to the wheels.
The flip out for this is very mellow – I basically stand on my tip-toes on the back foot, and hop upwards, letting the front foot knock an already unstable board into a half-flip as it lifts up.
Because the board isn’t spinning or flying end-over-end, I really don’t have to jump very high. My front foot barely leaves the board at all as it rolls over.
Here you can see how the board has basically rolled around the tip of the tail for the flip; the board is still in a (somewhat extreme) casper position, despite being grip-side up. This is why the front foot needs to stay close to it – that foot will push it back to the ground so you don’t lose control.
With the wheels back on the ground, I can normally roll into a piece of footwork quite quickly after this one. Alternatively, because my shoulders end up facing the nose when I’m finished, it’s relatively easy to hop into a kickflip variation once my feet hit the griptape.
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, a deck with no concave 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.
This trick really demands the standard griptape and woodscrew modifications for caspers. Put some small strips of grip on the underside of the tail and small woodscrews into the top of your board, along the tip of the tail. This will not only protect the deck and help your back foot stay on it during the twist, but the woodscrews will bite into asphalt and stop the board sliding away from you. That said, if you skate on polished concrete, leave the woodscrews out, as they’ll just make the board slide out even easier.
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