Spinning in wakeboarding used to be clear-cut. The edge was either Heelside or Toeside. The rotation was either frontside or backside. And the axis was either on or off. For a few years now, there has been a strong momentum towards blurring the axis of spins. In other words, you can't tell if the spin is on or off axis. Before I go any further, I want to say that these spins don't have any special name. They aren't blurred axis 540's or anything like that. I'm just using the word "blurring" as a verb describing what it is doing to the trick, not as an adjective, describing the trick itself. If you are confused, just remember, a 540 is a 540 is a 540.
OK, so what exactly am I talking about here? Look at these clips. Obviously Robert's rotation on the left isn't anywhere near the off-axis rotation happening on the right side. This becomes equally apparent when viewing these shots from a side angle.
Now, let's compare the traditional on-axis spin to Robert's 540. When you take a look at the nose of the board in both sides, you can easily see that the rotation is different between the two tricks. When they are at 180, Robert on the left has his nose slightly dipped, where Chad on the right always keeps the board in front of him and has his nose pointing up. Once again you can see this happening from the side angle.
So as you can see the 540 spin that Robert is throwing really blurs the axis between on and off.
OK, so why would someone want to blur the axis on their 540? I can think of two good reasons off of the top of my head. The first is because it makes it easier to spin higher rotations. Besides the handle pass, the two most important factors in making big rotations is spinning fast, and setting a good axis. With these blurred axis spins, the beginning acts like an off axis spin, which sets up your axis easily. But, you flatten off just enough in the air, to where you can really crank up your spin revolutions. The other reason is because it just looks cool. There is always something about the minimalist approach that always looks impressive. Less is almost always more.
I'll end off with a few tips on how to pull of this type of spin. Usually it helps quite a bit if you already know how to do an off-axis spin. From there it is easily accomplished by just mellowing out your axis. Focus on letting the board out slightly behind you, but keep it in tight, don't let it get way out away from you into off-axis land. Another method would be to try and do an on axis rotation, and maybe put a bit more weight on your rear foot and your toes at takeoff. This will throw you in a slight off-axis tilt. But, remember, if you don't know how to do off axis spins, then you might not be able to utilize this off-axis momentum, and you might just go off axis onto your face.
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