Ah, the 50-50. This is the standard go-to trick for freestylers everywhere whenever a camera comes out, and for good reason – they look flashy, are relatively easy to balance, and don’t take a lot of effort. Also, once you’ve learned them, they open up a whole new school of tricks which some freestylers happily spend hours exploring and mastering.
There’s a lot that comes from this relatively simple idea, so grab yourself a freestyle board (we highly recommend something with skidplates, at least) and give it a go.
You want to start with your feet in this position. Most people start with their front foot on the end of the board, and the back foot ready to land on the truck; if you prefer doing it the other way around, it’s not big deal. Just reverse the instructions.
Meanwhile, my back hand is gripping the nose, ready to lift it up. The back foot hovers in the air, ready to land on the truck; the less you have to move that foot, the easier this trick will be.
Now I’m starting to pick the board up, my back hand is in position to catch the board. I’m also getting ready to jump – although, because my back foot is already in position, I only really need a tiny hop.
I’ve zoomed in a bit on this frame as it’s really the key to make the whole trick work. At this point, my front foot has left the floor, and this is at the peak of my “jump”; my back foot, as it started next to the truck, is already hovering over it, ready to land. At the same time, the board is transferring from my back hand to my front hand. You never want both hands on the board – you have to lightly transfer it from one to the other, or you won’t get the board to the right angle to balance.
Now my foot connects with the truck, and my front hand has taken over control. I’m still not in a balance point, though – the board is still moving. This is the moment where you’ll either commit or fail – stay loose and relaxed for the next moment or two, and keep that front foot off the ground!
I’m almost to the 50-50 here. My front foot is lifting up behind me to help me balance, and my back hand is coming away from the board for much the same reason. I’m also starting to straighten my back leg and stand up on the truck. Not too far, though – you need to stay a little compressed to be able to hop out.
And here’s the textbook 50-50 shot. Note that while I’m having to bend over, I’m not leaning too far forwards, and my front leg, extended behind me, is helping to counterbalance my weight. Also, look at the angle of the board – this is the best position for balance. Any higher than this and you’ll fall off, any lower and you won’t be able to hold it up with your front hand.
This is what that position is going to look like from above (barring the front foot on the floor, obviously). The front hand position is important – you want to grab the nose the same way you were setting up for the tailstop fingerflip as that’s how you’re going to return to the wheels.
Okay, time to get out. At this point, I begin pressing onto my thumb, and the board starts rolling around the slight curve of the end of the tail. I’m also straightening my back leg back out, and bringing my front foot back in, ready for the hop back to the griptape.
If you’ve already learned the tailstop fingerflip, this will feel very easy, as the board is inherently unstable. And like the tailstop fingerflip, I don’t need to move my arm much, if at all. This whole flip comes from the fingers – push the thumb down and pull your fingers up, hop up slightly from the truck, and the board will more or less fall back to the wheels on its own.
In a similar fashion to the Casper, your front foot is likely to connect with the griptape first, so it’s important you’ve bought that leg back in from its balancing position by this point. You’ve got to push that nose back down to level the board out.
Providing you’ve not swung your arm when you were flipping out, your back foot will naturally land bolts – it was just standing on the other side of them, after all. Just focus on getting that front foot where it needs to be, and get ready for your next trick.
In theory, you can do 50-50s on basically any board, but they become significantly easier on a squarer tail, as it’ll help stabilise you when you’re standing on the truck. If you’re using a popsicle-shaped street board, consider flattening off the end of the curve; I used to use an orbital sander when I was 14 or 15 years old, but I’m sure you can find something better than that!
If you’re using a single kick deck, consider having the board the “wrong” way around for this one – so you’re standing on the flat nose. It’s much easier to balance that way.
It’s also worth picking up some skid plates before you start working on these. Razortail and truck tricks don’t mix; standing on the end of a razortailed deck is an easy way to totally ruin your board.