Most riders are familiar with the Heelside Back Roll because of its reputation for being the first invert or flip that riders learn on a wakeboard. The problem for some, however, is the fact that the rotation can be somewhat complex. This is because most people are familiar with backflips and front flips, not sideways rotating flips like that of the Heelside Back Roll. Well, hopefully this video can shed some light on the Heelside Back Roll by taking you through some on land steps to help you get more comfortable with the rotation.
For the first part of the drill you will need a big piece of card board box. In this case we used an empty wakeboard box. Open the box at the seem and lay it flat on the ground so you can stand on the box in the middle. Now grab a friend or riding partner so they can pull you through most of the steps. Last you will need a wakeboard handle and rope or two wakeboard handles. If you use your riding rope and handle give the excess rope to the person while you hold the handle. You helper will need to get a good grip by wrapping the rope a few times around his or her hands. If you have two normal length handles you can just connect them together end to end so it is easier for your helper to pull you around.
Ok, now that you have everything you need to start, let's go through the process step by step so you can easily execute the rotation properly. With your helper standing in front of you holding the rope tight without slack, move from the center of the cardboard box to the front of the box and widen your stance so you are stable. Moving to the front edge of the box will allow you room to sit down and lay back on the box. Now that you are in position, sit down to the ground on the box. Your helper should keep enough tension to guide you down to the seated position easily. Once seated lay back on your back. Again your helper will keep tension allowing you to lay back easily. After laying back look over your lead shoulder. In this case we will be executing the rotation for a regular stance back roll, so you will look left over your shoulder to simulate the movement you would do as you leave the wake. Now lift your feet off the cardboard and move your upper body to the right by titling your shoulders. Your helper should now pull aggressively to spin you around on your back so you rotate a full 360 degrees. You will spin easier if you are wearing a t-shirt. As soon as you complete the rotation plant your feet back on the ground into the same wide stable stance you started with and stand up. Repeat the steps separately a few times to get a feel for how you should move through the drill and to get your timing down with your helper. Move to the front edge of the box, sit, lay back, look over your lead shoulder, then tilt and move your upper body to the right as your helper pulls you into the back spin. Plant your feet when you complete the rotation and stand back up.
Once you feel comfortable with the steps separately try to do the steps all in one fluid motion. Move to the front edge of the box and when your ready sit and go through the rotation smoothly, but quickly. Sit, lay, look, spin and stand up. For these practice repetitions try to finish the rotation standing wide and stable, but with your shoulders leaning back against the rope, your knees slightly rolled forward and looking left to simulate the back against the rope Heelside landing of the flip. Repeat this with your helper a number times to get comfortable with the timing of the pulls and position before moving to the next step.
Next, we move on to the trampoline to repeat the same drill. Stand a little forward of center of the trampoline to give yourself room to lay back into the rotation. Go through the steps smoothly just as you did on cardboard box to feel the rope pull and rotation as you helper pulls you through the drill attempt. Make sure you look over your lead shoulder and look left as you finish and stand up into the landing position during each repetition of the drill.
OK, now that you are comfortable with the rotation laying and spinning around on both the cardboard and trampoline it's time to add the bouncing side flip into the equation. Repeat the side flip on the trampoline without the handle a few times to get comfortable before you add the rope and the back spinning rotation style. If you don't know how to do rope-less side flips on the trampoline refer to our Trampoline Training: Learning Side Flips instructional video for all the steps needed to accomplish them easily. When you are ready to combine the rope-less straight side flips with your newly engraved back spinning style rotation you should now have a much better idea of how to accomplish the rotation on both the trampoline and on your wakeboard.