Published in Onboard Magazine Issue 120, February 2011
Victor De Le Rue is one of those riders who doesn't consider freestyle without thinking about the progression that goes naturally with it. We sat on the lift with him to talk about dreaming up new tricks...and then transferring these weird visions onto the board.
I’ve heard you a few times talking about ‘trick visualisation’. Can you explain what you mean by this?
Well in fact, the more I evolve [my riding], the more I need to visualise, or play out, new tricks in my head before I try them for real. But the weird part is that it also happens in my dreams…
So you dream about new tricks? How does that feel?
I think I naturally need to picture the whole move, step by step, element by element, and even more so when it’s a complicated tricks. This is common to a lot of riders. What is more special is that sometimes I can’t get my head round a move, but then it all comes together in a dream. It must be my imagination, I don’t know… The truth is I’m always willing to learn new tricks; it’s a constant quest. And since we pro riders are lucky
enough to be able to think about snowboarding 24/7, it’s kind of normal to even dream about that… I think.
A non-stop quest for new tricks, huh?
Well in a way, yes, but that’s not the goal in itself. It’s the excitement of progression in general that pushes me, and I think a lot of other riders. Like sometimes it’s just about trying a new grab. First you imagine what this will change about the trick itself, like the rotation axis or the speed of the spin, and this means every trick can evolve and have almost infinite variations. But the process to this is always the same: visualisation, then practice. If you don’t have it all in the head, you won’t have it in your legs!
Does this mean that when you try a new trick, you always do the same grab?
Most of the time, yes. But then certain tricks naturally call for certain grabs… In fact you choose a grab that seems natural with the trick, or the direction of the rotation. What’s then interesting is to try new grabs and see how it will affect the look of the trick as a whole. But, once again, most of the time you know that one particular grab is gonna slow your rotation because it counters [the spin], while another would accelerate it because it makes your whole body more tight and compact. And some other grab is gonna make you go corked a bit… For example, a trick I really want to do this winter is the frontside double cork, but a real one you know? With the head upside down twice. Well this trick I see with an Indy because an Indy is gonna help me to go kind of like an underfl ip, and will help this rotation. When grabbing Melon, I can’t even picture it in my head yet.
How about for someone who wants to practice a fl at spin trick, let’s say, but wants a grab that is gonna help to get it corked? I guess it’s different whether you gonna spin backside or frontside, right?
Yeah, it depends. For example for a back 10, you can imagine lots of different rotation axes: Some grabs will help to spin fl at, some others corked, or late corked. But I’d say for a backside spin, Mute is a good one. But it also depends on the timing of your grab, when you grab, when you throw your head and shoulders… So when you visualise your trick, you need to deconstruct everything – each step, each single movement – and if you do, it is important and will affect the look of it when you try it for real.
Are there other tricks you are at the visualisation stage of right now?
There are a few, yes! Actually I’m going soon to Risoul for a big Bag Jump session, and I wanna practice them on the bag first. There is the double backfl ip, switch double backflip, Cab double Underfl ip, double cork front 1080 Melon, and maybe the switch double backside rodeo if I’m feeling shit hot!