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Duck Stance

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Should most people be riding duck? Most of the people I see on the hill do not ride switch, and whatever the reason for initially acquiring the (bad imo) habit, ride open towards the nose of the board as opposed to aligned with binding angles. Given these two issues, I think most of them would be happier with mildy forward angles, but most of them seem to be riding duck. The better edge control from riding slightly forward might also help eliminate some of the skidding going on out there -- if anything I'd say riding levels have gone down on average over the last couple years, though riders seem to be getting older and there seems to be no large influx of beginners. There is a slight bias in instructional ranks as well towards riding duck, if for no other reason than most instructors themselves are riding this way.

I personally spent most of last season riding 15/-15, so I'm by no means opposed to duckstance riding overall. Is it a specialized thing that helps with riding switch and some freestyle and terrain absorption issues, but should not be encouraged overall, or potentially helpful for the majority of riders?
post #2 of 14
Firstly I tell people that stance angles are a personal thing: find what you are most comfortable with. As you get more experienced, it might be worthwhile to choose a stance for performance reasons. I remember somewhere seeing that zero-zero was recommended for doing tricks, but hardly ever see anyone riding this way. If anything, you'll see people riding zero only the back foot.

When I got introduced to the duck stance, I was told that there were opinions that it was higher performance, but there were also opposing opinions about duck. I don't think that there is any argument that duck stance makes riding switch easier, but after you've watched an alpine rider (high forward stance angles) ride switch it becomes apparent that stance angles impact on ease or difficulty is not very large. It's enough to be noticeable, but it's not a big deal. The argument for duck is that squatting is easier/more efficient in a bowlegged stance. One argument against duck is that the difference in the width of pressure points on the board edge between toe and heel side turns is increased (narrow stance on heel sides, wide stance on toe sides). This will make more of a difference if your board is already too soft or too stiff. Another minor point about duck is that the CM is moved slightly to the back of the board relative to a forward stance (some bindings allow you to adjust for this, some don't).

I often recommend duck to beginners who are unsure of which foot to ride forward or beginners who are fond of riding backward no matter which foot is forward. It does not seem prudent to recommend a one stance fits all approach when there are so many body type differences (e.g. bowlegged, knock kneed, different leg lengths, feet/ankle issues, etc.), fitness differences (flexibility) and mental differences (need to square shoulders up vs just turning the head forward) that can impact one's comfort and performance.

The bottom line on this is that your mileage may vary. There are a lot of different opinions out there on this subject, but not a lot a definitive "this is the way it is and why" statements.
post #3 of 14
I have been riding duck for the last 8 years or so. +-12 or so. The set up is a little funky on a splitboard. Not the usual 3 degree increments. At first it was because that I was doing more tricks and riding switch a lot. I hardly ride switch anymore. I pretty much only ride backcountry with a few days at the resort. 56 days 4 of which were at a ski area. Being able to squat down low is the main reason I've kept the stance. Lot's of tree riding in the Colorado BC. Being able to duck low is key.
I don't find it any less easy for me to hold an edge with the angles. I haven't noticed the poor turning skills problem, but then again in the backcountry almost everyone is an expert rider or skier that is out there.
At the resort maybe it's a result of the popularity of riding parks, so people aren't getting out on the bigger slopes and really learning how to turn.
The other thing is you could be riding where a lot of people are still learning how to turn. There are spots at my local mtn where the ability level drops dramatically because of this.
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty
I often recommend duck to beginners who are unsure of which foot to ride forward or beginners who are fond of riding backward no matter which foot is forward. It does not seem prudent to recommend a one stance fits all approach
Interesting. I find that I prefer to Bias that student with steeper angle to help remind them "This is the Front". I've tried switching them around with a more neutral stance, and found that they wind up with the same confusion over the front of the board.

that being said I love teaching on boards that have different colored nose and tails...very easy for young kids to remember blue is the front of the board as opposed to right foot goes first (especially if, like me, they don't know right from left...
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook
Should most people be riding duck? Most of the people I see on the hill do not ride switch, and whatever the reason for initially acquiring the (bad imo) habit, ride open towards the nose of the board as opposed to aligned with binding angles. Given these two issues, I think most of them would be happier with mildy forward angles, but most of them seem to be riding duck. The better edge control from riding slightly forward might also help eliminate some of the skidding going on out there -- if anything I'd say riding levels have gone down on average over the last couple years, though riders seem to be getting older and there seems to be no large influx of beginners. There is a slight bias in instructional ranks as well towards riding duck, if for no other reason than most instructors themselves are riding this way.

I personally spent most of last season riding 15/-15, so I'm by no means opposed to duckstance riding overall. Is it a specialized thing that helps with riding switch and some freestyle and terrain absorption issues, but should not be encouraged overall, or potentially helpful for the majority of riders?
The riding level has gone down because half the riders out there have become park rats. They can huck a 720, but throw them on a 50 degree slope and they're done. I ride 15/-15 aswell, but im more of a freerider, with alittle bit of park riding.
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by SirMack
Interesting. I find that I prefer to Bias that student with steeper angle to help remind them "This is the Front". I've tried switching them around with a more neutral stance, and found that they wind up with the same confusion over the front of the board.
The "confused" students I get are very certain which end goes in front. It's their riding skill that gets them "confused". The look is comical. They back foot push into a 180 spin, then go "oh - might as well keep going this way. I prefer to focus on neutral to front foot weighting to fix this problem, but I believe this falls under the purview of teaching style. Either approach can work.

I also prefer to teach people "chin to the shoulder" to see forward vs squaring the shoulders to the front. I believe a higher stance angle makes it easier to learn squaring the shoulders. It's only when there is no way in @#%^$ that I'm going to get them into chin to shoulder will I give them a high front foot stance angle. That's another teaching style difference.
post #7 of 14
Rusty...I agree that chin to shoulder probably works better. some of my beginners will take one foot on one run, then the other on the next run. they will start switch with no itnention of doing so, and do things just the way they were taught when riding reg. Great instinct (and maybe a new teaching model...teach reg and switch simultaneously?) but ultimately detrimental to their development. these are the confused to which I refer. the ones who flat spin to switch are a different pronblem...
post #8 of 14
Oh yeah - I get those kind of confused students too. It is a rare group lesson that I'm not demonstrating both switch and regular. I will split it based on how my group is split, which usually means more regular demos than switch demos. When I'm teaching a goofy private, I'll ride switch for at least 90% of the lesson.
post #9 of 14
Oh yeah...I ride goofy (slightly duck...keeping on topic), do most of my demos switch. I only went duck after realizing ho much easier it was to ride switch, and how much time I was spending doing it...
post #10 of 14
IMO I think forward stance is good for beginners (and when learning to carve) and as you get better, you tend to go to duck/parallel stance.

In the beginning, forward stance makes the correct shoulder shoulder aspect to the hill and carve-leans more natural (especially for former skiiers like myself). I find that ones who choose duck stance to start out with get to the linking turns faster (sliding both heel and toe side) but have harder time learning to carve with their board. What's odd is a LOT of people don't mind that they don't carve properly

At some point most switch over to duck. I was one of those who went from forward stance to duck. (12/-12) Here are reasons why.

Jump from a table. Look at your feet after you land. I guarantee it's not in the "forward" position. It's either neutral, or much more likely, duck. You just have better balance and shock absorption with the duck stance, making it almost essential as you boost bigger and bigger kickers. Also essential for balance during jibbing.

You also have better leverage on your toe side with your feet with the duck stance (I.E. able to exert more pressure on toe side with knee/slight ankle articulation). Try it.

Really steep narrow terrain is much easier with duck stance as it is much easier to jump turn with the duck stance. Try jumping high as you can. Notice that just before you jump your feet are in duck stance (could be parallel but rarely will they be pointing off to side in one direction, though you could be a mutant. )

Try to ollie from a forward stance. You'll find that it's much easier with the back foot either neutral or at a duck stance.

Try to ride switch.

Finally, you'll find that the ability to carve doesn't go away when you go to duck. You'll find that it's just slightly different. I find it just as easy to carve in duck stance as when I was forward.

So IMO duck is a better stance overall. Though skiiers especially might find going to forward stance first easier.
post #11 of 14

Foot pain gone with duck

Hey guys!
Last year I almost gave up on snow boarding. It was my 2nd year and I was miserable on the mountain. I had nothing against snowboarding except for the enormous pain I experienced in my feet. I still don't know what it(the condition) was called but i can only relate it to having a dagger in the outer edge of your foot. The only way the pain would subside was when I took off the boots and then had to wait 5 mins for it to completely go away. I even got really expensive Burton boots to try to fix this... after a few runs with the new boots the pain came back. So... I recently tried standing in a duck stance with my boots on. Usually in about 10 mins the same pain felt while on the mountain would come. This time, there was no pain or pressure at all... just by changing my stance(from regular). I am almost certain this improvement will translate to the mountain and if it does foot pain sufferers like me should try duck stance.
Peace
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Bart,

Welcome! Please give us a follow-up once you get out riding a few days this season, that type of info is great stuff.
post #13 of 14
Billycat's arguments are pretty valid IMHO

However, I find that one about steep and narrow a bit counter-intuitive...for a cross-over skier at least:

Think about standing on a toe edge on a very steep slope. With duck stance you must look pretty akwardly (again IMHO) over your shoulder to even see where you're going. With more forward stance you are at least able to see where you're going... (and seems like e.g. all the competitors in an event like Verbier Extreme use more or less forward stances)

Also, when I rode a snowboard (almost exclusively 1994~1999, then changed back to skis) I noticed that on a deep powder (the crazy winter of -99 in the Alps!) I was the most comfortable on forward angles and bindings set quite far on the board. That was the way to elimanate the dreaded rear leg pain caused by hanging back on your board for pow. I used 168cm Burton Supermodel, the bindings set on the most rearward position, and at angles of around 32 / 18 (!). I was joking back then that I must change back to skis soon cause I like to stand that much facing the slope ahead... Anyway, this set-up allowed me to ride in a aggressive "forward" position in the pow without any rear leg burn (ok, long nose and bindings far back play maybe a bigger role here? I'll try to find some old pics to show this...)

Still, I got quite comfortable riding that way - in off-piste situations. In park/piste I used angles of around 21 / 3...never got used to the duck though but also realized that more neutral is more balanced for jumps etc. But duck stance always felt pretty odd for carving for me.

In the soft snow I kind of felt that I don't need the stability of a wider/more neutral stance cause the snow "supports" you in a way...I preferred the more powerful carves and/or the upright/relaxed position for steeps. Pretty odd (against this conversation) that for me the more forward stance felt more "relaxed" - that's maybe where skier background play a huge role!

EDIT: An example picture. (I only put this for public temporarily)

post #14 of 14
You can make a heel side turn with any stance, it doesn't matter.

But to make a toe side turn on steep variable terrain, you need the balls of your feet pressing directly down on the edge, on steep terrain I don't like my front foot turned into the middle of the board because you lose edge control/pressure, on the front half of your toeside edge. I understand there are absolutley comfort issues for each rider, I ride back foot 0, front foot one click forward. I also understand that some people have really big feet and can't get perpindicular to the edge.
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