A shuvit in freestyle is a bit of a different beast to the way most other skaters would do one. For one, freestylers tend to do their shuvits off the nose, as this reduces the amount of sideways travel created by the rotation and allows you to convert forwards energy to rotational energy without slowing down. Also, it’s rare you see a shuvit pop in freestyle – we’re not trying to get miles up in the air, just generate as much rotation and/or be as smooth as possible. As such, 180º shuvits are rare outside of footwork at the professional level, but everyone has to start somewhere – and this little backside one is where you want to begin.
Your starting position for this one is a bit odd. Your front foot doesn’t have to be facing perfectly forwards, but try not to have it more than 30º off parallel with the board. You also want your shoulders and upper body facing the nose, so it won’t feel as weird as it might look.
Here you can see the starting position from the side – very forward-facing. You can’t approach this with an ollie-style stance.
As I start to jump, the back foot is pushing the board behind me, but the rotation for the shuvit isn’t entirely generated at that end – if you just use your back foot, you’ll kick the board away.
Here, you can see the approach and takeoff from a different direction, and you’ll see the real secret – and the reason the front foot is facing forwards. I’m dipping the toe on that front foot to lift the back wheels, and twisting the heel outwards to help keep the centre of the shuvit’s rotation at the front of the board.
As I let go of the shuvit, you can see how close it is to the floor. This is a fast trick – you don’t want or need a lot of airtime. Keep it low and keep it snappy. Hopefully you can also see the angle of the front ankle here – it’s followed the board through the first 45º, and stays with it fractionally after the back foot leaves the deck.
Obviously, as the board isn’t coming up very high, neither am I. The jump is very small, but I have to jump slightly forwards to meet the board; as the shuvit is spinning around the front truck, the board will end up almost a full board length ahead of where it started, so I need to meet it there.
There’s not much in the way of a “catch” on this as it’s already so close to the floor – just extend your legs and put your feet down when it’s finished the rotation. It’s worth getting into the habit of catching it with the back foot first – you can use this to wind the last bit of rotation on the bigger shuvits later.
The key to making this work well is getting the front foot in just the right position, and that’s going to vary based on the nose angle and length. Play around with how far forward you have that foot – if you’re popping, it’s too far forward. If you’re not lifting the back wheels up enough to get a clean rotation, you’re probably too far back.
Generally speaking, these feel much better on a flatter nose, as having your toes forced upwards by a steep kicktail is really uncomfortable. If you’re riding a street board, it might be better spinning your shuvits in the other direction – which requires a very different technique.