The jaywalk is probably best described as a series of endovers in opposite directions, alternating between one foot and two foot movements. You’ve probably seen it in videos of Kevin Harris before – it’s not that common, but it is a lot of fun to do.
Make sure you can do endovers well before you begin, and take it slowly – it takes some time to get everything looking smooth (and to stop falling over backwards). Rushing will make this ten times harder. Also, I do these with the one footed turn on my back foot. If you find it more comfortable doing the one footed pivot on the front foot, just reverse my instructions.
This is my recommended starting position, assuming you’re regular stance, and plan on doing the one footed turn on your back foot. You want to be very forward-facing throughout this sequence – even though you’re travelling backwards.
This is what the foot you’ll be doing the one-footed turns on should look like. You want the heel past the truck, just far enough to put pressure on the nose or tail, and the toes past the truck in the other direction.
The sequence begins midway through a series of jaywalks. You can see my feet have shifted from the optimal position, but the key thing to notice is my shoulders are completely at a right angle to the board. I’m rolling backwards here, and about to do the one footed 180.
I begin by lifting my front foot up, keeping my weight on the toes of my back foot to stop the nose from snapping up towards me. I’m leaning forwards slightly, but am mostly upright, keeping my balance – leaning backwards is the worst thing you can do here.
As I pull my front foot backwards, I switch my weight slightly to the heel of my back foot, allowing the front wheels to lift and follow the front foot as my lower body rotates. My shoulders still want to stay facing forwards as much as possible.
Although I’m looking down, the nose of the board – and my front foot – is totally behind me by now. I can’t see the nose at all, so this next part is going to depend a lot on how familiar you are with your board. Having a wheelbase which isn’t much longer than your shoulder width will help here.
With the first rotation complete, I bring my front foot back down and reconnect with the nose. As you can see, it wasn’t perfect – but that doesn’t matter too much. I’m comfortable enough with endovers that I can compensate for the awkward foot placement.
Now it’s time for the second part of this sequence. I swap my weight to my front foot, and begin unwinding for an endover in the opposite direction. This is why my shoulders have been fixed in one position – this twist in my body allows me to unwind easily for this step.
I find this frame interesting because it shows how centred I am as I turn through the 180. If you saw this out of context, you might think I was rolling in a light nosewheelie towards the camera. This is what you want to aim for as far as body position goes – upright and relaxed throughout.
I continue pushing my back leg round through the rotation, with the wheels very close to the ground at this point – I’m basically sliding the last part of the rotation as my weight begins to shift.
With the rotation finished, I switch my weight back to the back foot to stop the board from rotating further; at this point, I’m already primed for the next one footed turn to continue the sequence.
And now the sequence simply loops around. You could, in theory, keep going forever – until you collapse due to exhaustion, anyway.
Whatever you do, don’t rush. This move is about fluidity, and becomes very choppy and messy if you start going too fast. Focus on good clean 180º turns rather than speed. This also applies with rolling speed – if you roll into it too quickly, you’re more likely to lose your balance and fall over backwards.
At the same time, don’t go too slowly, either. If you don’t roll into this, you won’t have the momentum to transfer into the rotation. There’s a definite “sweet spot” for this sequence, and that will vary from person to person. Experiment and see where it is for you.
As far as board setup goes, you want to make sure your trucks aren’t too loose (a wobbly truck often leads to a wobbly skater where footwork is concerned), the board isn’t too long (as you need to reach both ends without stretching), and your kicktails aren’t too steep; the steeper the kicktails are, the more effort you need to put in to the 180º pivots, and the more laboured and jerky this will look.As such, if you’re using a single kick board, consider using the flat end of the board for the one footed part of the sequence, as it’ll require much less effort to spin on that end than on the kicktail, and might make this a bit easier for you.
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