How to control your crash landings
Nathalie's Tips & Tricks
Big Air is going off the charts now (literally!). The level of dedication and commitment of riders in this discipline has reached a whole new level. With the extreme nature of Big Air, the risk of injury is, unfortunately, somehow part of the game.
Knowing how to control your crash landings is crucial not only for our top athletes to stay in the game. But also for you to advance your own Big Air game with minimal risk and maximum reward.
Thus, we wanted to hear from one of our top Big Air shredders, Nathalie Lambrecht for her tips and tricks on crashing. To help you push your limits in Big Air more safely and successfully!!
Initially competing foremost in freestyle, Nathalie has been fully embracing the new era of Big Air. Showing off some gnarly kite loop board-offs in Tarifa, Balneario and pushing her training harder than ever in preparation for the upcoming BAKL and GKA events.
Hey, Nathalie! How long have you been focusing on Big Air? Why did you become so interested in this discipline, and what has been your best result in a Big Air competition?
I have been into old-school kitting since I was 12 years old. However, loops used to scare me a lot, but it was a fear that I wanted to face. I enjoy it so much to push myself out of my comfort zone! When I learned I was preselected because of my GKA world ranking to participate in the Big Air World Championships Tarifa 2022, there was no better time to fully get into my Big Air training. I’ve been properly practicing making loops for a bit more than a year now, and the adrenaline rush is something I will chase for the rest of my career! My best result so far has been 3rd place in the GKA Tarifa 2022, the Lords Of Tram 2023, and the BAKL Cape Town 2023.
You must have had uncountable crashes and potentially also some injuries. What would you consider the most severe one you’ve ever had?
The worst impacts in the crashes in Big Air are, in my opinion, on your chest. You lose all the air in your lungs, and for a few seconds, you can barely breathe. It is more mentally scary than painful. My most severe one was after a backroll kite loop late back, where I was not high enough for the second rotation. I took the whole impact straight on my chest.
Unfortunately, injuries are somewhat part of the game. However, as a professional Big Air rider, can you tell us your best tips on controlling your crash landings and precautions for hitting the water to minimize risk and injury?
Learning to crash is a very important part of the game, and I still have much to learn. I try to land tricks even when I see that it will be tough, especially during competitions. However, I try to kick away the board when I realize it’s impossible to land a maneuver. Also, I would recommend always thinking about possibly saving yourself with a down-loop to land more softly. As well as when preparing for the crash, trying to dive with your feet straight down.
What’s your advice for riders who want to get into Big Air? And how would you train most safely to get better in this discipline? What are your pointers to send it bigger and higher and, at the same time, hopefully, start nailing more landings?
No matter how scary it may seem, trust yourself and push as far as you feel comfortable with your skills. The safest way to train Big Air is step by step. Also, always consider the conditions on the day!!
You might have been able to do a backroll kite loop in 25-30 knots; however, doing it in 40 knots, the timing will be different. My best tip to send it bigger and higher is to work on your take-off. All the little details, like edging hard and how you’re sending your kite to 12, as well as doing that just when a good gust hits matter. The landings are all in the down-loop of your kite, and the timing is crucial. Just before you initiate the down-loop, your kite should be more towards the left or right to make the down-loop bigger, which will, in return, catch you better and make your landings softer.
What’s your favorite trick in the Academy App, and what are your top tips to learn and land this trick?
Ohh, there are so many good ones to choose from; the one I have been looking at the most lately is the inverted front roll in particular, as this trick will help me make my boogies more inverted. It’s such an awesome basic trick to have in your bag; step by step, you can make it more stylish by adding a grab. Personally, the mental part of learning a new trick has always been a big factor, to really believe and visualize yourself doing the trick.
Obviously, you also have to just keep trying it. However, as soon as I crash a trick too many times, I take a step back, try something else for a while and then come back to it when I feel ready for it again. My best tip is: to analyze how Reno is doing the inverted front roll in the App and compare it to a video you have of yourself. Really pinpoint the differences and then go back out and try again. Saying that, always add your own style to it too! Your execution of a trick will never look exactly the same as someone else’s, and that’s exactly the beauty of it.