Tutorials : Rev Master Class : No trickery involved!
By Eric Allen
I'm going to focus on more "conventional" and advanced Rev moves and some training practices. The thing about Revs (and quadline in general), is that the moves you can do are only limited by your imagination. Because of this, anything I write will exclude your favorite move. I'm going to be talking about the ones I use-and I'm coming up with new ones fairly often.
First off, a definition of a "move". It's either one thing you do with a Rev, like a dive-stop, or a sequence of things that fit together as one thing, like a ladder. Finally, a move can contain moves. Most of the moves I'm coming up with lately have been variations of a move I already do. For instance, variations on the ladder or the clock. The other way I come up with moves is to take more standard Rev actions and combine them. For example, a snap stall. This is a pretty standard dual-line trick. For a Rev, it's a stop, quarter turn move. The same thing applies to a tip stab-it's a dive-stop quarter turn into the ground. The third way is to increase the difficulty of a standard move. A full turn is pretty standard. I'm now trying double turns at full speed. Radically slowing down a standard move or doing it in a difficult part of the window or reverse or on a different orientation can also provide variations on a move.
OK, let's get into the moves themselves and how they're done. One thing to note here-practice is the key to getting any move solid.
I'll begin with reverse circles and move up from there. It's pretty easy to fly reverse, but circles are another skill entirely (so is flying good straight lines and corners reverse, too). Normally when you reverse, you pull down on the handles and the kite reverses. At its simplest, circles are pulling one handle down more (or less) than the other. In practice, it doesn't work like that. Revs have a tendency to lose altitude on a turn. This is counteracted by applying a little slide towards the center of the turn as the turn is made. For reverse circles, you also need to "guide" the kite as the circle is made. One thing that helps is to focus on the inner tip and make sure it points towards the center of the turn. There's also a point in the circle where you need to quickly switch slides from one way to another-usually it's close the 3 & 9 o'clock position. Doing reverse corners and straight lines are similar to doing circles in that you need to adjust slide positions at various places in the move. With straight lines, if they're across the window you need to adjust slide continuously as you move towards then away from the center-you start out with lots at the edges and less and less as you move to the center and towards the edge again. Doing this smoothly is the key to a straight line. Going up and down the window is more an issue of controlling downforce. Down is very easy-the kite does it easily- you need to make a smooth down motion and only very small adjustments the left or right handles-more and the kite starts to wiggle. Up is more difficult to control smoothly-you only need tiny adjustments-more and you wiggle. The move has to be deliberate-no wavering in applying downforce makes for a smooth up-walking slowly backwards can assist in this. Making reverse corners crisp and clean is tougher than it looks-some directions are easy-others less so. You can't really "snap" a corner like forwards. It's more of a deliberate "pull" with a little push of the other handle then a quick release & reapplication of downforce in the new direction. Corners going downwards are easiest, up hardest-especially at the edges of the window.
Some of the coolest moves mix forward and reverse. A key to this is the transition between the two. One way is the snap turn from forward to reverse-I like this best as a half turn, so you're going in the same direction before and after the move. Also cool but more difficult is a full turn so you're reversing the way you came-it's tough to get the full turn and reverse flight to look smooth (I'm still working on this one-and it's easier starting off in reverse (all of them are)). I like the quarter turn as well-you make a corner but exit it going the other way. There are other types of transitions as well-I use one that's more of a small circle around one of the ends-this move is an elegant transition from forward to reverse.
Snap turns are dramatic and offer a lot. Essentially any sharp corner is a snap turn and a good foundation for snap type moves. The one I use most often is a snap stall. I've described it above, but I'd like to go into more detail and expand the moves that come out of it. The key to a good snap stall is the hover afterwards. You can make the stop & turn sloppy but if the hover is bouncing all over the place it's not really a stall anymore. I find that a step or two forward during the stop and quarter turn and a step or two back during the start of the hover help out a lot. To make a clean snap stall the stop and quarter turn have to be simultaneous. I do this by snapping both wrists hard in the direction of the turn (for a right turn, right down, left up, snap, snap) and stabilizing the hover. The cleaner the snaps, the better the hover. This move can be done in any direction. You can expand the snap stall by adding turns to it. I've just put the half turn into my ballet routine and and working on the full turn. These moves require a strong down move to get the kite around. Another way to expand the snap stall is to add something at the end, like a tip stab. You do a dive snap stall then a sharp slide to stab the tip. If you do this one too close to the ground you'll get a broken frame or a side landing. If you get the distance right the turn will stab the tip. Too far away & you need to slide more & more to get the stab. Another bit I like is the snap stall, beat, sloooow reverse. One thing I just put into my routine is a snap turn into a ladder and snap turn out again at the bottom. This is pretty easy, except for the snap turn has to be very clean, or the ladder doesn't set up properly. Basically, snap turns can be used anywhere you need a quick change of direction. They can be done as a pivot, as in the ladder, or as a spin, as in the stall.
Next up is ladders. Basically a ladder is a series of half turns up or down the window. But it doesn't have to be! You can use quarter turns, which looks more like a staircase, or quarter turns on the diagonal. You can do ladders diagonally, or across the window. You can do them reverse-this is difficult-you need to quickly reverse-slide every time you pivot and the ones at the top require some walking backwards. You can alternate forward and reverse turns. Clock turns lend themselves to variations much like ladders do. You can do eighth or half turns instead of quarter turns. You can do the clock around the tip rather than the center (this can be done in reverse, too.) You can do a "walking clock", which combines a horizontal ladder so you do quarter turns and move left or right at the same time. Some of these can be tough to transition from the side to reverse hover cleanly-I try to guide the wing going reverse as I'm making the turn. Slides and slide combinations can lend themselves to good moves. The thing with slides is to start the slide firmly so that it stays straight with as little input as you can do. Corrections lead to wavy slides. I like and use slide circles. The key here is to make the exit point of the circle the same as the entry. You'll need to do some corrections to get this right. I also like slide corners and half turns. You can treat the slide like forward and reverse-transition between them. Remember that an upright slide is like a reverse one. Uprights are more difficult-it can be hard to keep them going on the "wrong" part of the window. You'll need to tug and walk backwards to start them. The same advice applies to turns into a slide at some positions in the window. One move I use as well is a reverse, half turn, upright, half turn, reverse slide. For this you need to quickly switch slides on each half turn.
Well, I've spent a lot of print talking about moves, and in some respects I haven't even touched the subject! I'm going to change directions and talk about training practices now.
I have two young children, and don't get to spend the hours I used to at the beach. Because of this, I have to focus on getting the most out of the time I DO spend there. To this end, I've come up with a training routine that works out pretty much every Rev skill. After getting a feel for the breeze and limbering up my hands a bit, I start with forward flight. I go up, half turn, down, half turn from one edge of the window to the other. I do this at medium speed a few times, then really slow, then as fast as I can. I do the same thing across from the bottom to the top of the window. I'll usually put some corners in there as well-up, down, across. I usually take a short break between exercises to keep my hands limber. Next I do circles. I start at one edge and do medium circles across the window. Then I do them halfway up, then at the top. I do them up and down as well and try to vary the speed, too. Then I do huge circles, then tip circles, then spins. The spins I do excruciatingly slow, slow, fast, medium speeds. Then I do snaps. eights, quarters, halfs, full circles. I'll do some doubles and 3/4's as well. Then I do the same thing reverse.
Next I do slides-close reverse ground passes, upright, then halfway up the window. Then I do up and down slides, corners and circles. I try to vary the speed here as well. I do a few ladders here as well, and pivot turns, some snap stalls and snap turns, dive stops, some hovering, too. After that I do some groundwork-tip stabs, somersaults, stab to launch, reverse position to tip, etc. Next is trickery. I'll usually start with axels, trying to get good flat spins. I'll do them at varying locations and angles in the window, from a tip launch, etc. I'll usually do a few upright ones as well (it's one of the new tricks I'm working on). I'll do floats from either side, then float to axel. I'll usually put a few spin pops also (spinning, heavy slide, popping the back hand hard (this can look cool if you're popping at the right time). Next is turtle practice, both from upright and reverse positions. I'll try some fades and side turtles as well, and put some flik-flaks in too. All this takes about an hour or so, depending on how much walking goes on during the turtle practice! Next I'll do the figures slated for the next competition. Then I start on the ballet practice. I usually do each part of the ballet over and over until I don't want to do it anymore. After that I'll put on the earphones and run through the routine a few times. This winter I'll probably be developing a new routine, so the practice will be more like putting moves in place in the music and refining everything.
Well, that's all for now-I hope that this little essay has been some help. See you next time and good winds!