Spacewalks are one of the most under-appreciated tricks in freestyle. It seems that a lot of skaters treat them as just a way to link tricks together, keep a wheelie going or fill some time, but done well, a good spacewalk will really highlight someone’s style.
The spacewalk is one of those tricks which you really have to develop a feel for – I can describe it and show you some video and photos, but you need to go out and try them over and over again until something clicks. It’ll take a while, but stick with it. When you’ve learned to spacewalk well, put your own style into it and make it something amazing.
Like all wheelie tricks, this foot position is a guideline – consider it a starting point. Play around and find the position that works for you. Some people prefer to have their front foot much further back than this, for instance.
I’m starting this sequence mid-spacewalk, as there’s countless different ways to start one. Here I’m winding up for the backside turn; I could just as easily have my front wheels down at this point, but my back leg is locked straight, with my front leg controlling not only the rotation, but the angle of the board.
As I come into the backside turn, I move my weight to the toes of the back foot, and start pushing my front hip towards my front shoulder, unwinding from the contorted position I started in.
Before I finish the backside turn, I’ve got to start preparing for the frontside one. My lead shoulder is what makes the spacewalk work; I twist at the hips and pull my front shoulder back, past my front hip.
This is the peak of the backside turn. My front shoulder is as far back as it can reasonably go, and I stall for a second in this twisted position.
Now I start pulling into the frontside carve, letting my body unwind. Notice two things here; first, my weight has noticeably shifted to my heel, allowing the toeside wheel to move forwards. Second, my front shoulder is already moving round, ready for the next swing.
Here’s the crossover point where my shoulders and hips meet. However, my weight is still on my heels, and the board is still swinging, so I have to keep pushing the shoulder forwards.
Now I’m basically finished with the frontside turn, and I’m already twisting back into position for the backside part of the spacewalk. At this point, you can just cycle back round to the start of this sequence, and repeat forever (or until your thighs give out).
This shot is obviously from another spacewalk. I included it only because it shows just how contorted you can get with these. In this frame, I’m over-twisting, preparing to rotate further than usual in the backside direction so I can spin round on the spot. It’s a particularly fun way to do these.
There’s a lot you can do with these, but don’t think of them as just another trick. Go and watch some of the spacewalk masters – Stacy Peralta, Bob Schmelzer, Lillis Åkesson. See how each of them puts their own take on the basic essence of the move, and how each of them use it in a routine.
Then head off and look at some other variations – Guenter Mokulys’ dropknee nose spacewalk, Erwin Schuijtvlot’s hang ten spacewalk, Takashi Suzuki’s backwards ones. Although the stances are different, the same basic concept – the shifting of weight to create momentum – is the same.
Once you’ve absorbed all that, play around. See what you can come up with. Spend the time getting so comfortable with the spacewalk that it becomes second nature, and then your own style will start showing through.