Go Big and Sketchy or Go Smaller With Style?

OK – so it’s not so black and white as the question in the title suggests. Some people go big with style. These things aren’t mutually exclusive…

…But what if they were – what do you prefer? Do you like to see riders going huge, with a compromise to style? Or are you more in favour of smaller scale tricks that are done to perfection? Silky. Flawless.

Your own riding?

Perhaps the question is more relevant if we consider our own snowboarding. For the average rider the time available to invest in honing technique and learning new tricks is limited. Do you look to constantly expand your repertoire, or polish what you’ve got?

Add more tricks that are sketchy or have less tricks with good style?

For example, let’s say you’ve just learned 360s. Do you keep working on the 3: maybe add a grab, go bigger with it, get it more floaty? Or do you look straight away towards the 540? “I can spin a 3 now so the next logical step is a 5”?

Spin to win or style it out?

When we consider the pro snowboarders out there, that do go big and have great style, the “spin to win” approach asks a similar question. What’s your favourite – a massive 1260 or a supper slow backside 180. How about a boned-out 5?

What’s your view?

I’m definitely biased towards the smooth operators. Styled, effortless runs. I still appreciate the big, technical spins or the difficult combinations on rails. But my preference would be a top to bottom run with good flow and packed style – with the odd technical/big trick thrown in.

For my own riding, I want to take what I know and get it on lock. Yeah, I want to add to the repertoire, but I’ll add new tricks at a slower rate so that I can spend time smoothing out the kinks.

Over to you…


  • Reply November 19, 2011


    I’m with you. Small and perfectly executed is much more impressive than big and sketchy. Big and perfectly executed is obviously best, but those guys are in a different league!

  • Reply November 20, 2011


    I’d take a stylish BS180 (think there was a class one in lame or afterlame over a little hut) over a sketchy looking 1260.

    I see a lot of youtube clips of dome kids doing some crazily technical stuff on rails…but does it look smooth? Not particularly (some of the time anyway). Super tech rail tricks are all well and good, but no-one wants to see a pair of “Andrew Marr” arms flailing all over the place to achieve pretzel in-pretzel out technical steez.

    I think it’s important as a rider not only to learn a trick, but also to get it down stylistically. I’ve been able to BS boardslide for years, but its only recently i learnt how to style them out a bit and the trick just looks so much better.

    There is a lot of emphasis on trick bag rather than trick quality it seems to me, at least in UK fridges…

  • Reply November 22, 2011


    Ok, how about the average punter?
    what about small n sketchy, or big n smooth? Y’see plenty of people going with trepidation, underpowering the trick/line and getting sketchy. If they went bigger the trick would be smoother. Going bigger doesn’t always=sketchy

    Looking towards the more skilled riders
    there are definitely smooth riders and sketchy riders, but then smooth doesn’t always = style. Sketchy can be the stylish option. The sketchy rider can be the person right on the edge of their ability, just about holding it together who is pushing to achieve the trick/line and can be far more entertaining to watch than the smooth-makes-it-look-easy-guy

  • Reply November 23, 2011


    @Cat and @James – that’s my opinion too. I like to get the style on lock down rather than moving on and being sketchy with the next trick. But…

    @Alf I like where you’re coming from, and I hadn’t thought about the average punter working on a trick and not actually going big enough. Obviously, I’ve seen that happen loads of times, and do it myself too, but hadn’t thought about it in the context of this topic.

    Average rider:
    – sometimes you need to go bigger just to complete the trick/clear the knuckle etc.
    – sometimes although going bigger might put you outside of your comfort zone, it takes you closer to how the trick is supposed to be done. A hip is a good example maybe. You can go smaller and in control and “cut the corner” of the hip. But if you ride it properly, get right up to the top and take air as its designed for – even if you flap a bit, there’s probably more kudos in that.

    As for your comments on the more skilled rider, I can see where you’re coming from. Each trick/line should be judged on it’s individual merit, but I will say that I’m in a phase at the moment where I like the smooth-makes-it-look-easy-guy…


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