The casper to casper is probably one of the most iconic freestyle tricks there is. Appearing in many influential street/freestyle hybrid video sections, the allure of juggling between caspers is a strong one for many new freestylers.
Unfortunately, the regular casper to casper is pretty tough to get right and do well. That’s why I recommend starting with this version, the nose casper to casper; unlike the regular casper to casper, you don’t need to flip the board much, and it’ll just roll around one end of the deck while you transfer from one end to the other.
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 tail instead. The idea is to start on your weak side and land on your strongest one as practice for a regular casper to casper.
I highly recommend you start this trick by going from rail to casper. That’ll give you a much more solid and consistent starting point than rolling into the trick. Obviously you’ll have to learn to do it at the “wrong” end of the board, however!
When you drop into the nose casper, you have to make sure your front foot is solidly on the nose. Have it as close to the truck as possible – that’ll lock the nose in place and limit the amount it can move as you start the transfer.
To start moving from nose casper to casper, you just have to lift your back leg as you shift your weight slightly to the toe of the front foot. All the front foot is really doing is holding the board still at this point.
Once the board gets near-vertical, your front foot won’t be able to stay on it any longer. Jump up slightly and start moving the front foot outwards, ready to catch the casper. If you dipped the toes of the front foot correctly as the board was lifting up, it should start rolling through a flip at this point.
Here you can see how little the board will actually move. It doesn’t feel like it leaves the floor at all – the deck will basically roll around the nose as it moves end-over-end and should just fall down towards the casper quite easily.
This is the hardest part of the trick. You need to have your front foot ready to catch the board, but if it’s too high, the board will bounce clean off it and you won’t be able to land in a casper. Have it too low, however, and you risk dropping it and putting your front foot on the ground – a definite no-no for casper tricks.
As the board lands onto the front foot, the back foot has to land on the underside of the tail to stop the board bouncing away. Timing is everything here, but you can make it a bit easier by staring at the nose as you begin the trick so your back foot instinctively lands on the right spot.
This is a good, clean catch, but I’ve not quite relaxed into it yet. Notice the angle of my legs and the position of my hips, however – I have to shift my weight backwards before I land fully or I’ll drop the casper.
Like all caspers, your choice of deck will have a huge influence over how easy (or difficult) this trick will be.
Firstly, a steep nose is not your friend on this one. The steeper the nose, the harder it is to stand on, and the more difficult it will be to catch the second casper. A single kick board is the easiest option by far.
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 nose itself. Rounder noses will roll through the trick easily. A square nose like Marius Constantin’s Cirus board will lock tightly into place on the landing, but it’ll be much more difficult to get it there. If you’re using a heavily directional board like Denham Hill’s pro model, definitely use 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.