How To: Full-Rotation Alley-Oops With Josh Kerr
Some of the cleanest airs you’ll see nowadays are of the alley-oop variety. When done well, alley-oops—like this one by Josh Kerr—tend to have a certain gracefulness about them without the spastic flailing found in some other hucks.
Ideally, you’ll be shredding a wave with wind that is blowing offshore or sideshore into the barrel. While it’s bad for regular airs, for an alley-oop it helps catch the board just after you get above the lip, and it will push the board into your feet and help with the rotation.
You want a section that’s just starting to feather as you make contact with it. Don’t go into a really steep bottom turn. A mid-face bottom turn will usually do the trick in allowing you to maintain speed and keep a good angle when going into the air.
When you pop off the lip, you should try to air out toward the flats a little bit to keep from flying out of the back of the wave. While your board might be still pointing a little bit toward the shoulder, your eyes should already be looking back to where you launched from and follow that, turning from your head down to your feet to initiate your board’s rotation.
Rotate your hips to catch up with your upper body’s spin. Steady your upper body as you eye your landing spot and whip your board around so that it’s headed toward the shore. Your board’s rotation will come quickly, but try to stop your rotation just before reconnecting with the wave.
As you come down, keep your center of gravity low and your weight back. If you’ve transitioned well, eye your next spot down the line and replicate.
Alley-oops are great for down-the-line waves that allow for airs in transition. They can also be used for airs onto a shouldery end section, but the best way to showcase your synchronicity with the wave is by boosting a big one in transition.
Wind might play a bigger role in alley-oops than it does in any other maneuver. There is a lot more finesse than with a standard reverse, so any subtle amount of wind is felt when above the lip. Keep in mind, doing alley-oops on closeout sections that are coming at you is a recipe for disaster. The angle of the wave breaking when you’re going at the section is all wrong for the angle that your board needs to take to start the rotation, and you’ll almost always end up looking foolish or breaking a board—and sometimes both.—Nick Jiampa