The 360 fingerflip is one of the most iconic rolling freestyle tricks there is. There’s something really satisfying about ripping the board into a 360 flip with your hand, and it always gets people’s attention. I’ve seen a lot of sloppy and terrible techniques for it over the years, but if you follow the tips below, you should be able to pop them as quickly and as cleanly as Rodney Mullen himself.
Obviously, you do want to make sure you can do a clean varial/180 fingerflip first, though. Don’t run before you can walk!
The front foot position is much the same as for a 180 fingerflip; position it pointing straight at the nose, close to (or even slightly hanging off) the heelside edge of the board, perfectly central along the length of the deck.
The back foot should nestle in the pocket of the tail at about a 30º angle. Stay on the ball of your toes, and push the ball of the toe into the curve of the kicktail, right on the toeside edge.
The hand position should be the same as for any other fingerflip, only using the back hand. Thumb on top, fingers underneath, and in the centre of the nose. Leave a small gap between the thumb and index finger. You don’t need to preload the flip by pushing into the deck – just make sure you have a good grip.
I start off for a 360 fingerflip by crouching into a tight ball. Squat low with the knees bent to avoid having to bend the back too much. Personally, I find this an easier position to take off from than a front handed fingerflip, but your mileage might vary.
The take off works the same as a rolling fingerflip; you shift your weight backwards rather than trying to just jump straight up. Imagine you’re just going to go to tail while holding the nose – that’s the real key to this trick.
As the tail hits the floor, I straighten my legs and start exploding upwards. I’m going to need to create enough space for the board to move through the 360 fingerflip without interruption, so I have to make sure I get a good clean take off.
A fraction of a second later, the board has already moved into the 360 fingerflip. My back foot has given it a slight push as I jump, and the back hand has pulled the board into a spin as my body straightens up. Note the position of my fingers; as I pull the board round, it’ll feel very natural to pull the fingers up and a thumb down to get a clean fingerflip.
This is the textbook 360 fingerflip photo. I’ve sucked my knees back up into my chest, my back hand has let go of the board and moved far behind me, and the board is whirling around beneath my feet. Notice how little my front foot has moved, though. I’ve just pulled it straight up and out of the way – no ollie-style flick needed.
As the board completes the rotation, I’ll extend my front foot back down, ready to catch the board. Although I’m looking at the deck, you don’t really “spot” the landing – you have to know the timing and trust the board will be there. This comes with practice and experience.
This moment is where you find out whether you flipped it correctly or not. For me, it’s very easy to over-flip these, putting in too much energy at the very start of the trick. If you get it right, the flip and the rotation will finish together.
As such, you definitely want to catch these before they hit the floor, rather than just falling onto them. Here I’ve straightened my legs, and my front foot has successfully caught the board slightly before the back one, stopping the board from continuing to flip.
Thanks to how compressed I was in the air and how much I straightened my legs to catch the board, I can bend my knees a bit to soak up and smooth out the impact without it looking too awkward. At this point I can stand up straight and roll off into my next rolling trick.
Back handed fingerflips – whether 180, 360, or bigspin – are a bit of an unusual beast. They’re the only fingerflip trick where I really recommend using a double kick board; reaching down to a flat nose for this makes it feel much more uncomfortable.
Board length, ride height and kicktail angle will all play a factor here, too. The longer the board, the more you’ll have to bend over, and the less comfortable you’ll feel. A taller setup or one with steeper nose and tail will be at a steeper angle before it leaves the floor and will feel heavy to throw. No matter what you use, this trick should work – it’s just worth trying it on multiple different setups if you have an opportunity to see how the setup affects the way the trick feels.
The other thing to consider is tail shape. Any trick which flips and spins in this style will feel unusual on a square tail – the corner of the tail will make the take off feel clunky and awkward. A popsicle shaped tail will roll through the first motion cleanly – maybe too cleanly, in fact. You can end up over-flipping the board very easily on a rounded tail. That can work in your favour, though; if you learn to do these on 80s style square tails and then move to a modern tapered or round tail, 360 double fingerflips will seem incredibly easy.
As mentioned in the video, this trick really needs some speed going into it. The take off will stop you dead if you’re rolling too slow, and it becomes much easier to break through the friction between the tail and the floor if you’re travelling at speed. For similar reasons, they’re much easier on smooth surfaces than rough ones.
It should go without saying that you probably want to have skid plates before you start trying this. I learned 360 fingerflips on street boards in the mid-2000s when freestyle equipment was hard to come by; trust me when I say that tearing the fleshy underside of your finger open on a razortailed nose is not a fun experience.
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