The Scarewalk looks like a risky move, but as long as you’ve got a good spring in your legs and the ability to jump high, there’s not a lot to worry about here.
As the first grab (and the first ollie trick, too) on this website, it’s important to note before we begin that form and style are the most important thing here – simply tickling the nose with your back hand and rolling away isn’t the goal. We want a solid grab and a good position in mid-air, you hear me?
You want to start your scarewalk off in a position for a relaxed but high ollie. The most important thing is the back foot – you want the ball of your foot to be as central on the tail as possible. Your front foot should start here, but the position might need tweaking if things are going wrong.
As ever, I didn’t realise just how deeply I squat before this trick until I saw the sequence; I need to do this as I need to jump as high as I possibly can to make the scarewalk work.
There’s a fraction of a second between this and the last frame, but you wouldn’t know it – I’m exploding upwards and starting to pop the tail. Note my front foot looks like it’s about to slide for an ollie – old habits die hard.
In reality, I lift my front foot straight up and away from the griptape, allowing the board to rocket upwards. At the same time, my back hand is starting to come in to catch the nose.
If it wasn’t for the back hand, you might be able to pass this frame off as the start of a pop shuvit. It’s important that the back foot pops straight downwards, or you will end up doing a shuvit here, and you’ll have no chance of grabbing the nose for the scarewalk.
Now my front foot is high enough to clear the nose of the deck, I start kicking that leg outwards to get it out the way and get into the best possible scarewalk position. The last thing you want is to ball up in mid air – that just looks ugly.
And finally, the back hand has caught the nose with a solid grab, my front foot is kicked out nicely, and we’re in the classic scarewalk position. It’s important that you actually grab the nose and resist the urge to just palm the griptape; a grab looks better and allows for more board manipulation.
Okay, now it’s time to get down. You only have a split second in the air, so you have to start pushing the board back down underneath you and get ready for a landing very quickly.
You want to push as far as you can before you let go, but don’t hold on too long, or you’ll get in your own way; that front leg obviously has to come back to a landing position, so you need to remove your hand before you get tied up in knots.
Because of the extension of the front leg, there’s a good chance you’ll catch with the back foot first. This can lead to shooting out on the landing, so make sure you’re well-centred and not leaning back as you come back down.
Finally, the front foot has found the board again; this frame looks awkward as I’m landing heel-heavy, and any big jump involves a hard landing…
…so make sure you bend at the knees to soak that impact up as you roll away.
Remember what I said about the front foot position? Here’s the adjustments you might need to make:
- If the front foot is hitting the nose: try starting with the front foot closer to the front truck so that it won’t have to travel as far (or as fast) to get off the board.
- If the board isn’t going vertical enough: move the front foot further back so that the nose can rocket up more.
- If the board is flipping: you’re probably flicking out the side of the deck instead of lifting straight up. Keep your front foot central in the width of the board and make sure it isn’t too close to the heel side edge.
Also, I cannot stress this enough: GRAB THE NOSE. You want a good solid grab, ideally in the very centre of the nose and not off to the side. Not only does this look better than the 1980s palm-slap technique, but it gives you far more control over where the board is going (including the all-important “emergency exit” if something goes wrong) and opens up the door to shenanigans like the scarewalk fingerflip pictured here. You can’t do that with a slap, can you?
Well, you could, but it’d look absolutely awful. Been there, done that, vomited when I saw the footage. Don’t waste your time.
As a general rule, the flatter the kicktails are, the better a board is for freestyle. Mellow kicktails = sensitivity and easy of movement, steep kicktails = increased ollie height and power, but more perceived weight.
As such, this trick really feels a lot better with a steeper kicktail, and choosing to do this on my pro model – with some of the most mellow tails of any modern double kick – was a bit of a daft choice. My Kill Your Idols single kick setup (which has cropped up on a bunch of tricktips now) would have worked better, or I could have gone with something even steeper like Mode’s Tropics double kick.
That said, don’t take this as a reason or excuse to use a street board – while you can do scarewalks on street decks, the added length does mean you’re more likely to spear yourself on the nose if something goes wrong – if you don’t accidentally snag your foot on the nose as the board gets vertical. Deck length is always a balancing act, but there’s very little in freestyle that actively benefits from the 31″+ length of a modern street deck.
You’re also going to want to use skid plates for this one; not only does it give you a more solid anchor for the grab, but if something goes wrong and you do land on a vertical board, it’s much better for it to be something that’s been protected by a skid plate instead of being sharpened to a splinter-filled razor – trust me on that.