Tom Kirkman’s freestylin’ No. 1 – Getting Air

IMG_9988Twice World Freestyle Champion & arguably the best all-round mountainboarder ever Mr Tom Kirkman’s illustrated advice 0n going big  

 Getting Air

In most board sports, the riders that get the most respect are the ones that go the biggest and have the most style. Before the ATB mag big ramp, the biggest jump I had ridden was probably a 4ft high kicker with maybe a 10ft dirt table, so the first time I rode it was a bit nerve racking, suddenly the way down is a lot longer! I had never got that kind of air before. Now it’s second nature.


It took me a while to get my head around going big. There isn’t really any real technique for getting more air, the main factor of how big you go is the speed that you hit the ramp with. Obviously if you are riding a 2ft high kicker you aren’t going to get as much air as if you’re riding a 25ft table with an 8ft take-off and a long steep landing…


So the speed you’re going when you leave the take off and the size of the jump are the 2 main factors that contribute to your height.


There are also a few other things, such as popping off the lip and the transition of the ramp.


If you pump up the take-off transition and pop up just as you’re about to leave the ramp, you are going to get a bit more height.


Also, if the transition is nice and steep you’ll gain more height and therefore more time in the air for a nice stylish grab.



When you first start going bigger you may find it a lot scarier to try out new tricks because of the height. After a while though, when you realise the landings aren’t as bad as you think, you’ll become more confident and it dawns that the more time spent in the air, the more time you’ll have to do the trick: so you can hold it longer, tweak it further, stick in a shifty, or start spinning bigger.

This will improve your riding enormously. You’ll find that you will feel more comfortable when you’re going really fast and really high.

Not only will your freestyle technique and confidence benefit from this, you’ll also feel happy to do bigger drops when out freeriding.

It’ll take a while, but when you get the hang of it you’ll just want to go bigger and bigger and bigger. Trust me. xx


Photos by Paul Taylor, Illusration by Decreate