When I first saw a photo of Jack "The Ripper" Lindholm staunchly driving off the bottom of a clean Pipeline wave posed with one knee down and one foot up on his flimsy exercise mat of a board, I could hardly believe it was possible. Now guys are clicking airs, throwing tail, and generally re-defining the limits of the bodyboard in the dropkee position. We've all seen vids of Roach, Aka, Ballard, Sasaki, etc. chucking gobs of spray, and most of us have wanted to give the half-stance (or Jack-stance as it's still known in the Sandy Beach area) a try. Well, here's how...
First, you'll need a board that's conducive for dropknee. That means something that's not too small for you (see last issue for board selection tips), and it needs to be relatively stiff. Second, figure out if you're goofy foot (right foot forward) or regular foot (left foot forward). Next, a solid wax job is essential. You want to wax in the areas where your back knee and front foot will be.
Practice the next steps on land in the privacy of your home first. There are basically two ways to get up into the dropknee stance: Doing it in one step, and doing it in two steps. Doing it in one takes much more practice and is quite a bit more difficult. To do this, place your hands on the rails of your board about 1/3 of the way down from the nose and push up. As you're doing this, slide your back knee onto the board's inside rail while swinging your front foot around and onto the front outside edge of your board. Your shin and knee of your back foot should be right along that inside rail far enough toward the board's tail to hang your foot and fin off the back. This effectively "hooks" your back leg onto the board and gives lots of stability. Your front foot should be along the opposite edge about 2/3 of the way up the board. Make sure your front foot fin doesn't hang off the outside edge though. You should be crouched low, almost sitting on your back heel with your body turned slightly toward the wave face as opposed to facing straight ahead.
To get up in two steps, follow all of the same instruction, but get up on two knees first (this helps to position yourself correctly) making sure to have your back knee on the inside rail, and then plop your front foot onto the board. This way is slower, so practice it to get it as quickly as possible to avoid frequent trips over the falls.
Now, some important hints:
Picking the right dropknee wave- It needs to be a wave that's medium
steep, and has a peeling shoulder on it. Mushburgers don't have
enough juice and dumpy closeouts are difficult to dropkee even for
the top guys, so go easy at first.