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Forward Stance


cbrkid1981

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Hey,

I just was looking for thoughts on the forward stance that we use.  I ride relatively low angles on my two alpine boards, and also use a forward stance for soft boots.  I ordered a custom board from Gilson, and posted a picture of the board with my bindings on it.  This turned into a huge discussion about stance, and it appears that many people in the soft boot world don't use, understand, or agree with a forward stance.  I didn't argue with them I just responded with my opinion, and a photo of what a forward stance looks like.  I guess I'm just looking for opinions, and thoughts on if you guys use a forward all the time with all types of boards. 

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My uneducated opinion is "Why use duck stance if you're not going to ride switch?"

I only ride one direction, so a forward stance just makes sense to me. Of course, it helps with biomechanics too - a stance that is forward enough means that turning can be more side to side motion vs. front to back. Those duck stance heelside turns can often become the ugly "sitting on the pot" heelside - much less of an issue with a forward stance. 

No surprise that softie-focused riders don't get it, and if they're riding a lot of freestyle, duck makes more sense anyway. Also, I suspect that many of them don't want to do something different and look "weird". 

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Ride what's comfortable. I don't ride park, but I will ride all mountain and bumps on carvers  I started 45/15 soft  24cm board (28 years ago)  moved forward as boards got narrower.  Now ride 68/60 on 19/20cm boards.  In less than  a foot of powder I ride a168 Burton ulta prime or 171 Colier VSR 20cm 68/60    1.5 feet +  168 Osin 4807  25.5cm or 185 Rossi Undertaker 25cm Only then do I drop stance to 60/56.  Most people now are saying to set bindings closes to edge without overhang

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2 hours ago, cbrkid1981 said:

it appears that many people in the soft boot world don't use, understand, or agree with a forward stance. 

I've found, in my experiences so far, many who say that... havent even tried it. Those that I talk to that have tried it, say it's not that bad.

People dont like things that are different is what I'm starting to conclude. The fact I wear hardboots makes most of the softbooters I know very uncomfortable and they think I'm weird and crazy.

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It's hard to explain to a softbooter so I usually don't explain. At most I'll say "Yeah, its strictly for carving and it sucks riding switch".

Anyone - softbbooter, skier, sightseer, anyone - who sees a carved heelside turn made with full aggression has an immediate understanding more vivid than any explanation could offer.

I still remember the first one I saw. I was on a Burton Cruzer 165 (with center fin removed and the stance tweaked forward to maybe 35/0 btw) in 1987 or '88, following some guy on a Hot Logical down Wachusett one evening, and keeping up pretty well. Then he made a left turn and was GONE. I was at Madd Mike's buying a used Logical the next day, and really haven't ridden softies , or any angles under 57/54 since.

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Consider elite BX riders.  They don't ride switch or do freestyle tricks in competition, but their average stance is probably something close to 18/-6.  Duck foot.  Jump off a chair or something, land naturally and look at your feet.  Duck foot right?  18/-6 is an excellent all mountain soft boot stance, good for landing jumps, going fast, absorbing impacts and carving too (but not great for the kind of low perfect semi-circular heelsides that we all strive for on corduroy days).

I ride this stance on my powder and backcountry boards, though I rarely ride switch.  I find it gives me very solid and versatile positioning.  Jump turns on steeps or moguls are more awkward with a forward stance.  My boots overhang too much for real carving on stock width softboot boards anyway, so I ride the stance that suits the conditions and terrain best when I ride backcountry or resort  powder: 15/-3 for me.   Don't knock it until you've tried it.

Of course, when there's corduroy I'm all about the forward stance.   27/12 or 30/15 on my soft boot carvers, 60/55 for all my narrow alpine boards.  45/30 for the wider "all mountain" alpine boards.

Yes it's true many snowboarders don't understand the carving potential of a forward stance, but there are a lot of hardbooters who poo-poo the duck thing too.  As long as people don't try to pass on my backside, I don't care what stance they ride.

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I think alot of it comes from when they are taught + mental rental equipment and the fact park gets so much media attention. Almost everyone i see gets taught in duck stance to help them work out if there going to be regular or goofy and as a result they'll probably continue to ride duck as they progress purely because it is what they are used to.

I started off riding 18/18 duck and i still do ride duck on my twins but on my two dedicated craving boards i ride what i refer to as mild duck 33/3. I have ridden full forward angles a number of times but i'm fairly flexible so i don't gain a massive advantage from doing so i keep a little bit of duck just encase i need to ride switch for a couple of turns. I do ride full forward when riding hards though.

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48 minutes ago, crackaddict said:

 As long as people don't try to pass on my backside, I don't care what stance they ride.

Amen!

As far as hardboot carving angles go,I always followed the “put your toe and heel as close to the edges as possible. This makes sense from a leverage point, but I’ve recently in creased my angles to 65-68 front and 60ish rear ( used to be 60/54 )with some underhang on the front heelside to eliminate bootout (20 cm board).These angles have freed up my ability to angulate and eliminated front leg knee pain. Just saying sometimes a little experimentation can really make things work. My heelside was always very strong, but toeside not so much. Especially transition from heel to toe. Now with new angles , transition has become more seamless. Angulation is much better on toeside- more powerful toe turns. Could always dump speed on heelside but not on toe. To be able to dump some speed on toeside is great now able to keep a more steady speed Not pimping any specific angles, but just saying if things aren’t working great, might pay to change things up a bit. It’s only taken me 13 years to figure this out:).

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22 hours ago, cbrkid1981 said:

Hey,

I just was looking for thoughts on the forward stance that we use.  I ride relatively low angles on my two alpine boards, and also use a forward stance for soft boots.  I ordered a custom board from Gilson, and posted a picture of the board with my bindings on it.  This turned into a huge discussion about stance, and it appears that many people in the soft boot world don't use, understand, or agree with a forward stance.  I didn't argue with them I just responded with my opinion, and a photo of what a forward stance looks like.  I guess I'm just looking for opinions, and thoughts on if you guys use a forward all the time with all types of boards. 

I use only hard boots, on all types of boards and conditions. I ride the angles that are appropriate for the board width (toes/heels to the edges). On twin tip or freeride boards I sometimes ride duck too, depending on what I wanted to do. So, my angles can vary from 0/0 to -15/+15. 

In general, for the people that don't have a huge variety of board widths, if it feels right for the application, don't change it. 

Thoughts on forward vs duck: 

Forward: Way better heel side carve, generally better for carving. Better absorption of the of the forces aligned with longitudinal axes of the board. Better straight jump landings. You can see into the heel side better. Better powder ride (but this is highly subjective). 

Duck: Better for freestyle, teaching the beginners and switch riding (for most). More agility in tight situations, easier to rotate and slide the board. Easier to do very tight finished turns and make them look round and symmetrical. Possibly better in the tight trees. 

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15 minutes ago, BlueB said:

... Duck: Better for freestyle, teaching the beginners and switch riding (for most). More agility in tight situations, easier to rotate and slide the board. Easier to do very tight finished turns and make them look round and symmetrical. Possibly better in the tight trees. 

😉 I'd argue with the very last point there, but you did say "possibly". To me, trees (which I ride quite a lot) are a kind of slalom, and y'all know what works best for that and why. I've ridden with some extremely good soft boot people, and never felt disadvantaged by my set up. That said, long time guides aside, I've probably done more deep trees than even those guys.

Of course I don't care what people ride, and I'd actually ban everyone else from using my stance (45/45) in order to ensure I'll still finish first. 

If I ride switch, it's the real deal though - a trick worthy of the name. If you cheat with your angles before you even start it doesn't really count as riding backwards, in my opinion.

I would not use a forward stance when:

  1. Riding with soft boots. It doesn't really work, they're not designed to be pushed like that.
  2. Riding a no-board or a surf board. I'm still working on perfecting both of those so I may have missed something, but one's back foot at least needs to be there for pushing one side or the other, the action is different from hard boots.

So a bit like choosing the right handlebars for one's bike, it's entirely up to the rider. Try it all, go with what works for you. That's 100% what I did after all.

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7 minutes ago, philw said:

😉 I'd argue with the very last point there, but you did say "possibly".

That "possibly" comes mostly from the ability to easily go into emergency switch, if and when needed. Might also be easier to slow it down, for mortals. 

9 minutes ago, philw said:

I would not use a forward stance when:

  1. Riding with soft boots. It doesn't really work, they're not designed to be pushed like that.
  2. Riding a no-board or a surf board. I'm still working on perfecting both of those so I may have missed something, but one's back foot at least needs to be there for pushing one side or the other, the action is different from hard boots.

Depending on how much forward are we talking about... Mild forward seems to work just fine for most of BX riders and for some good big mountain riders. I think they work up to 30-35 deg, then the support of the highback disappears. 

I can't comment on Noboard. I suck at surfing, but it seems that I don't go full sideways. 

13 minutes ago, philw said:

Try it all, go with what works for you. That's 100% what I did after all.

That's where it is! ^ Well said. 

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Opened a thread about forward stance and hoped to read about how madd and virus were the first manufacture's to move the inserts more forward on the board to make for very aggressive carving.

And then a discussion about different reactions of boarfds with differnt placement of the front bindings.

No, it's a thread about ducks.

😉

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I have raced up to WC level, and still ride in hard boots, with appropriate angles.  But because I teach, I switched to riding duck, when in softs, so that I effectively demo for my goofy, visual-learning students. I do sometimes go double positive, but still keep them as flat as I can, dependent on board width. I find it helps with stability at all speeds (66mph on my Oxess), and balance on rougher or unpredictable terrain. If I go too steep on softs, I lose the support of the full high back.

So far I’ve avoided the ‘butt out’ on heelside. I’m riding 21F -9R in the video, and actually raced SBX using that stance. It feels pretty natural to me, although when I Sk8 Slalom, I have both pointing forward for edge to edge quickness.

I try to ride whatever board, stance etc, that suits what I want to do at the time. 

 

Edited by Emdee406
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Oh it was on a Gilson ad, and some lady started going off about the forward stance, and you could see the ad with a bunch of people from softy groups. And a lot of people feel some sort of way about those boards. I actually love them a lot because it's about as close to my alpine board as I have use with softy boots. 

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i guess I'm a throwback to a bygone era. My first rental board was set up 25-ish front/10 or so back foot. So my learning experience was always duck-less.(Bwahaha) Freeride twin tips I am 45f/30r. Carve boards 58f/53r and softies back around where I started 25f/10r give or take. Fakie was never an issue in soft boots/strap bindings, fakie in hard boots on twin tip boards only some harder. No issue in steep chutes, either, hard or soft boots. So, you learn and adapt, I guess.

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I'm a throwback too.

forward always felt more natural to me, probably because I was a way better skier than skateboarder in the 80s,  hardshell boots, toes pointing the direction of travel were normal and gave me way better control than the crappy softboots of the time. I cut the highback off my 1st bindings in '89 and replaced the heel loop with a piece of cable and used merrel supercomp tele boots to great advantage at angles near what I ride today 45/30.

don't know why everyone thinks you can't go fakie/switch/backwards in an alpine setup??????

that's like telling a park skier he can't go switch because of his boots:smashfrea  maybe if he put laces on them like the revolutionary:freak3:  deelux ground control

 

p.s. learning to ski backwards was easy after learning to ride fakie in alpine stance

Edited by b0ardski
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  • 1 year later...

I ride very forward . Both when racing skateboards and snowboards . 
 

I’ve made it a point to ride angled on boards that were designed to ride duck just to show the performance increase in edge hold ,stability , speed and well its own radness. 
 

I also believe forward angles can be too much of a good thing for the equipment you are on. I’ve ridden at about 85/80 on Teleboards, 75/60 on narrow alpine boards ( sub 18cm) 65/58 on 18 cm madds (later 60/55 with Gilmour bias) and flatter on 19.5 cm boards 52-45 front and about 8-12 less rear depending on sidecut  ( the preferred  alpine width for me that gives me the most power for a men’s 9.5 US).

For a teleboard angles above 70 are a great idea to make it work , for a snowboard, not so much. Same thing goes for slalom skateboarding where I can ride high angles offset parallel in tight gates but never found parallel to be much of an advantage because you sacrifice so much front to rear balance recovery ( if I had size 15 feet it might be different ) . In slalom skateboarding I often change my stance within the course to suit the upcoming gates but that’s nothing I would recommend to anyone without a lot of riding experience in tight technical skateboard slalom gates.

IMHO those riding alpine with very high stance angles may find benefit Only  if they have very large feet over size 12. And only because going to a wider board feels too sluggish edge to edge  for the carving feel their brain is after.

Adapting to lower stance angles ( 55 and under) was a fight for me, but going lower to a slightly wider board gave me more power at the slight expense  of quicker turn transition and more lateral upper body effort .... which if you look ahead two or more turns was well worth the trade off.

Snowboards and high end audio are  a series of selected trade offs .

Duck or as I refer to it “ Paper Doll” because of how it makes men look on the hill.  “Paper Doll “ has benefits when riding choppy conditions , unpredictable surface grip, park, and when on a small hills with not much speed for hacking around,  as the speeds if a small short  hill and low speeds don’t benefit from more edge hold . urban snowboarding should never be done with a forward stance .
 

Paper doll is also good if your skills are low. Not knocking it as it’s great for Shaun White too. While being an American I should look to Shaun as Duck  but feel Terje rode best with a forward stance, the dude has it figured out , it’s not just that he is a stronger rider. 
 

For myself, a lot if the time in Aspen Colorado ( which is good carving snow)  I ride a powder board ( currently a Jones Hovercraft because I enjoy versatility of a terrain when riding powder and yet  I ride close to 45 front on it and I think about 26-30 rear so I can carve aggressively on steeps at 50+ mph  speeds on firmer snow ) I find I can follow my tree powder seeking friends and ride with Alpine hardboot carver guests  without feeling horribly disadvantaged by my gear choice and stance even if they are really good riders.

To make that work I need a true articulating cuff firm soft boot, and a binding with excellent shock absorption and adjustable sliding length heel cup like The Union Force.

I ride the Jones Hoover craft ( non carbon ) 156cm (Carbon was too much “ twitchy chatter”) 

I would like to design a better version with better nose if any one offers . 

Boots are 32 Binary Boa ( which I feel have slightly too much forward lean) But the flex is excellent as is heel retention and warmth . I don’t have to crank down in the inner boot lacing to achieve a performance fit like a Hardbooter and yet the bias give me enough tension to evenly distribute  pressure Without cutting off circulation . I have a EE width  foot.

Bindings are Union FC carbons which I don’t recommend to people that ride frozen granular as the Union Force is more forgiving . The FC just gives me slightly quicker response and stability over 45 mph laid out. And frankly I could be just as happy and more comfortable with the standard Union Force for soft boots . I have not tried the Jones pivoting bindings .

The TRUE reasons I bought the FC was because they were on sale for 40% off and made it lighter to carry my board and bragging about having carbon bindings which is lame.

 

Would I buy them again ?

 

Only for the weight when carrying the board as there are days when I miss the less chatter on the standard Force bindings when it is scratchy . If I wasn’t on Aspen or Beaver Creek snow I would ride the Union Force and never consider the FC.

Riding with high forward angles enables me to ride far far far better than if I were paper doll. In fact I look very much like an average or below average rider when riding paper doll or riding in choppy scratchy conditions . I’d probably look at myself and think I ride pretty lame when paper doll and not getting air. 
 

And if conditions are scratchy  I just take fewer runs and consider it a “rest and recovery lighter day” because in season my legs are always so jacked most of the time with muscle soreness that I actively look to avoid stairs and seek elevators 
 

But if the snow is carveable I don’t look like many other riders , don’t leave similar tracks, and have no problems setting off the lift with cheering or getting a round of applause at lunch at Bonnies restaurant after ripping a few runs on Ruthie’s run. Which for me is simply impossible to do when riding paper doll.

If I could ride Duck well like say Ryan K. Of Donek without the crazy coffee can style super high modified highbacks  and without the knee pain .. I probably would go Duck. But for me going Duck makes me feel average and not able to get any thrill out of snowboarding the way I want to feel and I do Not get the same fitness benefits (weight loss) riding Duck. I use every muscle in my body riding a forward stance - every thing gets a full workout. With Duck just my calves and anterior Tibialis gets worked maybe a little quad workout.  I drop 3 inches off my waist and 15 lbs in the first 20 days of riding . 

 

That’s about as thorough as I could be in this and feel it’s necessary so people understand the honest benefit I feel from a forward stance that is aggressive .


 

ps. One caveat , adjustments ( set back, stance width, binding straps, bias, and appropriate board width for your foot size  ) must be MUCH more precise at these angles to get those benefits .

Edited by John Gilmour
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On 1/31/2019 at 7:49 PM, scottishsurfer said:

I think alot of it comes from when they are taught

I am transitioning my 12 year old daughter to hard boots.  She was in a lesson yesterday with forward stance on her soft board and boots and the instructor immediately wanted that to be changed to duck.

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OF COURSE ...Then she will have to race Duck stance in hard boots in the future  .

Are  you able to have more children ? Have you upped her life insurance ? 

But before you let this happen ...
 

Just make sure the instructor can prove they know what they are doing .


I suggest you make the instructor ride Duck in hardboots on a 195cm stiffer race flex Donek with 20 M side cut and  a  lot of camber  with Catek bindings appropriately Duck  at + 65 -55 to avoid overhang  then ask them to carve Aztec on Ajax in Aspen to show how great the edge hold is with the superior modern Duck stance using no can’t or lift   . Or  alternatively he could shoot The bowl at Aspen Highlands in the bumps and the Increased effective edge will help him with its icy thin cover - he will be slicing through tree roots like butter .

 

You may be sure he will perform at his Personal competency level and demonstrate how to make your daughter faster . He should accelerate to terminal velocity very quickly and then show his superior ability to run trees

As a tribute to his skill you might want to get a policy on him too so he isn’t afraid to push the limits to impress you.

I only wish I could have gotten enthusiastic kids for Alpine when I was Teaching at “The Wa”  . I think myself and TJ Saotome were the only people on plates teaching . And that was in 1992-1993. Wa- Wa -wa-uh wa...wachusett big mountain skiing minutes away!

 

to stay on topic :

This year , not a single day of riding (uh just on day 7) has going by without some snowboarder ranging from great pro rider to learning liftie telling me they want to go full directional and angle up their bindings . And I have seen a lot of riders doing just that , and the deeper cleaner nicely  placed carves left in the snow are reflecting a more forward stance .

People are reverting to 1980s stances .

 

 

 


 

 

Edited by John Gilmour
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