Snowboard Grabs for Beginners: Make Your Jumps Steezy!

Not only do snowboard grabs add steeze to your riding, they also help to stabilize in the air. Whether it's a Mute Grab or a Roast Beef, get ready to go big!

A snowboarder grabs their board.

Photo by Stef Lewandowski

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Before Going For a Grab

Before we think about bringing our front hand or rear hand to the board (for a mute grab or tail grab), we want to be comfortable with jumps. We need to hit smaller jumps consistently, keeping our front leg and rear leg in line with the direction of travel, without knuckling or landing too deep. After we land consistently, we can begin to flex at the hips and knees to bring the board closer to our upper body. This alone, without a grab, will make your jumps look much steezier and feel more comfortable.

A snowboarder goes off a jump.

All photos by Devon Dennis

Which Grab Is Which?

Now that we’re jumping comfortably, we need to know which grab we want to do. Let’s define some grabs so we know which is which.

Front Hand

The three simplest grabs with the front hand are:

Melon Grab

A man does a melon grab on a trampoline.

Grabbing the heel edge between the feet.

Nose Grab

A man does a nose grab on a trampoline.

Grabbing the nose with the front hand.

Mute Grab

A man does a mute grab on a trampoline.

Grabbing the toe edge between the feet.

Back Hand

The back hand can perform the following basic grabs:

Indy

A man does an indy grab on a trampoline.

Grabbing the toe edge between the feet.

Tail Grab

A man does a tail grab on a trampoline.

Grabbing the tail.

Stale Fish

A man does a stale fish grab on a trampoline.

Grabbing the heel edge between the feet.

A great way to practice grabs before bringing them to the snow is on a trampoline.

Our First Grab!

Indies and melons make great first grabs because of the alignment of your upper body. When performing your first grab, remember to bring the board up to your hand as you practiced without the grab—don’t reach your upper body down to the board. This will help maintain control and prevent throwing your body off-axis, so you can land comfortably.

When you go for your first grab, anything you grasp should be a victory. Once you develop your grabs, beware that grabbing the binding, boot, tindies, and melons are not really considered complete grabs (for those who care).

  • Tindies (Tail Indies): when your back hand grabs the toe edge between the back foot and the tail.
  • Nelons (Nose Melons): when your front hand grabs the heel edge between the front foot and the nose.
    • HOWEVER, if you tweak out a Nelon, it becomes a Method—nice!

The Method

A man does a method grab on a trampoline.

The Method is possibly the purest and most respected trick in the history of snowboarding. Most snowboarders have their favorite legendary Method, usually, it belongs to the goats: Terje Håkonsen or Nicolas Müller. It could also belong to newer pros like Zeb Powell.

To perform a Method, you want to have your Melons dialed. Once you feel comfortable with Melons, you can begin to extend your back leg while holding the grab. Sometimes it helps to think that you want to show the base of the snowboard downhill. The more comfortable you get, the more you will be able to arch your back and really stick out your pelvis. If you want to throw Methods like Nicolas Muller, it won’t hurt to spend hours upon hours practicing yoga as well.

Once you are confident with your ability to hold a Method it is accepted in the snowboard community to grab between the front foot and the nose of the board, instead of between the two feet. Just keep in mind, if you don’t tweak it with confidence, it becomes a Nelon (not a real grab). Grabbing the Melon between the feet before tweaking is the safer option.

Shifty

A man does a shifty grab on a trampoline.

The shifty is not a grab, but it is a trick that helps to learn Methods and tweak any grab to the next steeze-level. A Shifty in itself is when we change the direction of our snowboard mid-air while maintaining our upper body in a position where we can bring the board back under our feet and land cleanly. Shifties can also be a great stepping stone in learning how to spin.

To perform your first Shifty, begin by sucking your feet up towards your upper body just as you did for your first grab. While maintaining your shoulders in line with the fall line you want to rotate at your core so that your hips (and subsequently feet) face downhill or uphill (90º from the starting point). Because you keep your shoulders in line with the landing you are able to relax at the core and bring the board back under your feet for a clean landing.

It is important to start small with Shifties. You might rotate the board only a few degrees the first couple of times. If you continue practicing you will be able to rotate the full 90 degrees (maybe more!) and hold the Shifty for longer.

Steeze

Now that we have an understanding of the basic grabs, it is fundamental to understand steeze and how to obtain it. Style + Ease = Steeze. When you see an experienced rider do something incredible and make it look effortless, that is steeze. Sometimes it looks so effortless that less experienced riders might not appreciate the trick...until they themselves go to attempt it.

The most efficient way to obtain steeze is through countless hours of hard work. When you see an experienced rider stomp a trick with steeze it is most likely because that rider has performed that trick, or one very similar, 1,000+ times in many circumstances, over many different types of snow/features.

Sometimes we get lucky and pull off steezy feats without meaning to. This is awesome, but the more time we put in, the more consistent we can be with our steeze. Everyone learns at different paces and though it may seem that some riders are “just gifted” and don’t put in hard work. Though you might not see it in one way or another they most certainly put in their time.

Have Fun!

If I am teaching grabs, I feel the responsibility to educate the culture of snowboarding and what is viewed as acceptable. While I joke in this article about the “fake grabs,” it is important that we not lose sight of what’s important: learning and progressing! All experienced riders have been in beginner’s shoes at one point. We might not want to admit it, but we have inevitably performed some mean Nelons and Tindies.

Have fun with your grabs! If you have any questions, reach out to a Snowboard Expert here on Curated—we'd be happy to help and to find you the perfect board for your jumps. Practice and work hard for your steeze!

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Written By
Devon Dennis
Devon Dennis
Snowboard Expert
I grew up in Milford, Pennsylvania with a love for the outdoors. Whether it was snowboarding, mountain biking or cliff jumping, I couldn't get enough. I began teaching snowboarding at Shawnee Mountain in PA and quickly made friends with a group of Argentinians. Those Argentinians very quickly became...
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