This post will go through how to do a manual on a snowboard. The manual is one of the easier tricks in the snowboard trick armoury and is a good foundation for learning other more complex tricks.
What is a Manual?
The term “manual” has been borrowed from skateboarding terminology and is in some ways simply a wheelie.
A manual is where you lift up the nose of the snowboard and ride just on the tail or lift up the tail and ride just on the nose. This is fairly easy to do but requires a bit of balance and a little bit of practice.
Manuals are also known as wheelies or nose presses/tail presses.
It’s a good idea to master the manual before attempting butters (coming soon).
How to Perform a Manual: Step by Step
Find yourself a gentle slope to start with whilst you are learning this trick. You’ll need to get some speed up but not too much.
Crouch down slightly and shift your weight to your back foot.
Lift the nose up with your front foot. Your back leg should be bent and your front leg should now be straight.
Hold this position for at least a few seconds or as long as you can and then lower the nose back down.
Repeat. Practice this until you feel comfortable doing it and then try step 5.
Now try the same thing but doing a nose manual. i.e. shift your weight onto your front foot and lift up the tail with your back foot and balance on the nose.
The nose manual is a little trickier and a little scarier at first but it’s a good idea to be able to manual on both tail and nose and it will serve you well for more complex tricks later down the line – and for doing butters.
Check out this video for a demonstration
As I’m writing this it’s the off season (in the northern hemisphere anyway) so there isn’t anywhere to practice this (unless you have an indoor slope nearby). However, you can still practice this to some extent.
Strap yourself in on the carpet and practice the technique in a still position. It won’t quite be the same but it should help you to learn faster once you do get on the slopes.
Even if you are in the season and you have slopes you can practice on, I would suggest doing a “dry run” anyway. i.e. strap yourself in and practice this a couple of times on flat land. It should make you more comfortable once you do get out on a slope.
A note on butters
Terminology in snowboarding is hardly ever consistent. Some people will refer to manuals as butters but I consider butters to be a different beast entirely – though it does draw on the technique of the manual.
Once you are confident doing manuals you can move onto butters – which are even more fun.
Thanks for Reading
Thanks for reading and I hope this post has helped you to learn how to perform manuals on your snowboard.
For more easy tricks that you can start learning quickly check out the link below – just keep in mind that you should master one trick first before moving onto the next. This is best way to learn – in my opinion.
Note: I am not in any way a certified snowboard instructor and for best, fastest and safest results you should arrange lessons with a certified instructor.
Hi Nate, thanks for this article I want to start practicing these tricks.
Do you think a Rossignol Templar 2012 is a good board to start doing ollies, manuals and butters or should I get a softer board?
Also what do you think about practicing on grass slopes?
Thanks for visiting.
You shouldn’t have any trouble learning these tricks on the Templar. It’s not the perfect board for it but it should definitely be suitable. If you get more seriously into freestyle riding you might want to grab a different board but I’d say stick with it for now as it should be fine for learning these basics.
The only thing I’d think about is the length of the board – if it’s a bit too long for you then you can get away with it for riding normally but for doing tricks it’s definitely easier to have a board that is shorter. If you’d like you can send me details of your weight and height and the length of your board and I can give you advice as to whether or not the board is a good length for learning these tricks.
In terms of practising on grass slopes, I can’t say I’ve ever had any experience with this so can’t really help you out there. I’m thinking you won’t get a lot of sliding on grass, even if it’s wet and there’s probably more potential for injury – I can’t imagine you can really dig an edge in and if you did you’d probably just catch that edge. What you could do though is practice on flat grass just getting a feel for lifting the front end of the board, stand still ollies and popping up and doing stationery 180s.
Hope this helps and let me know if you want me to assess the length of your board.