In 1817, kids in Germany, using wooden two by fours, first cobbled up a version of the present-day scooter The micro scooter was invented by Wim Ouboter in 1996. The Razor scooter, a compact folding scooter, was launched in 2008 and in 6 months sold 5 million units. The mini Micro scooter is aimed at kids from 3-5 years of age who are eager to give their emerging balance and coordination skills a go. These facts are not merely trivia but a testimony to the huge popularity enjoyed by scooters. A pro scooter is used for daily transportation but also for executing tricks that we will explore here. Without further delay, let us get to know how to tailwhip.
How To Tailwhip On a Scooter?
A simple tailwhip is done by putting the weight of one foot on the front tire and pedal and leaning forward causing the frame to spin around. This move is credited to Brian Blyther in 1986 and was basically a bike trick adapted for use on a scooter.
Your lead foot should be placed at the front of the deck. Your back foot is placed just in front of the rear wheel. Your stance should feel solid with a sense of being well-balanced. Knees should be kept bent slightly in readiness for the jump. Most right-handers adopt a regular stance which is front foot forward. Left-handers would probably prefer ‘goofy’ which is right foot first. Your take-off and landing depend largely on your foot placement, so get it right and things will be a lot easier.
How to Place Your Handgrip?
The handgrip is important as it stabilizes the scooter and your body while imparting a fluid motion to the trick. They will stay at the bar until the trick is done, so it’s important to keep them in place in an easy way. Raise and lock the handlebar first to a comfortable and natural height. Stay loose and do not hold the bar too tight. It will make your arms rigid and this will stiffen the entire body impacting the jump and timing.
Push off a few times with your rear foot to get some speed going. You should be moving at about a slow jog. If you go too slowly, maintaining your balance will prove difficult. Going too fast and your control is affected. Experiment with the speed till you are comfortable. Once up and steady look ahead. Practice in an area with sufficient room.
The Bunny Hop
The Bunny Hop is the preparatory move to master before tackling the Tailwhip. With sufficient speed, you jump, pop up the scooter deck and let it hit the ground flat before you land on it. Do this on the curb. Just get those airtime counters ticking practicing this till you are satisfied. Remember, the catch is in preparing sufficiently. Take your time and perfect this. Your tailwhip will be a song.
Get the feel step by step. Practice the tailwhip when stationary. Standing next to the scooter, kick the tail of the scooter away and at the same time using your arms to lift the tail off and rotate in the direction kicked. Get used to the force required and the feel of the response. Once easy, do not kick the tail with your foot anymore, just use your arms to spin it around. Now we will try a running tailwhip. Some terms that are commonly used first. A barspin is when the handlebar is spun through 180 degrees with both wheels grounded. A kickflip is the same thing s a barspin only the hands are off the bar. You stand in front of the scooter using your feet to kick the bars around. These are basically bike tricks adapted for the scooter.
- The higher your leap, the better.
- As you jump, lift the scooter up and try to get as much elevation as possible. Keep your knees flexed and increase the clearance between the board and ground to maximum possible. The higher you are, the more time you have to spin the deck around.
- At this stage, your feet are still on the board.
- Do not let your feet come up before the board as then you will not be in a position to figure out where the board is.
Performing The Tailwhip
- At the peak of your jump, flick the tail with your foot to start the spin. This is the whip part of the manoeuver.
- Use the fuller side of the body to push against instead of the thinner part of the tail.
- The arms should be used to assist the spin.
- With feet airborne, tilt the handlebar slightly in the spin direction and pump your arms tilting the other way. The board starts swinging in the opposite direction faster. The movement of the arms is subtle and can take a while getting the hang of. Early on before this incorporation, spin using arms only. Your hands should always be on the handlebar.
- Watch the deck closely as you complete the spin. You need to arrest the spin or catch the deck before landing.
- Synchronize your movements to that of the board. This will help in anticipation and the transition to a perfect landing both feet in position.
- Arrest the spin movement by bringing both feet down on top of the deck.
- Both feet should be approximately close at the finish to where they were on setting up.
- Bend your knees to take up most of the shock of the landing. This also increases the stability and hence balance.
Whenever you’re planning to perform scooter tricks, the following tips will come in handy.
- When initiating the tailwhip and kicking the tail, do not get your feet crossed as this will throw off the landing and you will most likely, take a nasty spill.
- If you are scared of a misfire, practice close to a patch of grass as otherwise the fear can jeopardize the entire move by cramping you up and rigidity creeping in.
- Try to land on the balls of the feet in preference to midfoot or toes.
So how does it feel getting that first tailwhip? Great, I’m sure. A tailwhip is a tough number and once you have the ropes right, it’s continuous practice and you can do it blindfolded. The more you practice, the higher you will be able to complete the rotary motion. This will give you the time to expand your repertoire with other tricks thrown into the tailwhip. So for now, keep up the practice going.