12. The pump

 

OK today we’re going to learn to pump.

Required building blocks

The building block you should have completed before trying this is – learning to push along on the flat. Yes, that’s it. All you need to know how to do, is stand on your board and push to start learning to skate ramp. You could learn to ride out fakie on a flat bank first, but the feeling of going fakie on transition is fundamentally different. If you want to learn to drop in you should first learn how to pump until you are a decent way up the ramp.

Steps to learn to pump

Approaching the transition facing forwards

Pumping technique is the same as how you gain speed on a swing. As you ascend, you lean back, as you descend you lean forward. You move your centre of gravity behind the direction of travel. The key to getting this right is to shift your weight at the right time – at the apex – just when you reach the top and before you start coming down again. If you get it wrong, you end up killing your speed. Which is also a useful technique to know to reduce your speed when setting up for a trick.

OK, when you’re on the flat your centre of gravity should be basically in the middle with your shoulders level. As you hit the transition facing forwards load your weight up over your back leg, leaning back towards the flat. Moving weight off the front leg will allow your front end of the skateboard to proceed up the wall unimpeded. Your back shoulder will drop as you do this and swing your front arm up and out to gain more speed. Film yourself if you want to check you are doing this right.

When you’ve reached the top and run out of speed – at the apex – this is the time to switch your weight, you should lean towards the transition, loading up the leg closest to the coping, moving your centre of gravity behind the direction of travel. The shoulder nearest the transition should drop when you do this and swing your rear arm out behind you.

When you get this right you will feel yourself gain speed as you come out of the transition. You need to be careful performing this manoeuvre, if you shift your weight too much you will lose control, so try exaggerating the motion a little more each time to increase speed little by little.

Level your shoulders as you come back onto the flat to prepare to hit the transition fakie.

Approaching the transition fakie

Reverse the technique as you hit the transition facing backwards, or fakie. Take the weight off the leg going up the wall. Lean toward the flat, and swing your back arm up, throwing yourself up the transition. Again, wait for the sweet spot, the apex, at the top of the tranny before you switch your weight back towards the transition. Notice the way the arms move as the centre of gravity is shifted to behind the direction of travel.

Learning to pump on your skateboard takes some time. Don’t give up straight away if you can’t do it. Add a few pushes to keep your speed up while you’re learning. It’s definitely not a months-long process like the ollie and can be learnt in a few hours.

Next steps

Once you’ve learn to keep your speed up you should then learn how to kickturn and maintain your speed, or if you can pump to the lip (top) you’re definitely ready to learn to drop in or to rock fakie.

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