So far my flatwater tutorials seem to be going down quite well, there are a few left to write and still more tricks for me to learn before teaching you guys. One thing I’ve been doing for a while now is linking multiple tricks and I realised that it’s not necessarily that obvious how one would go about doing this (especially if you only have a couple of tricks in your repertoire), so in this post I’m going to explain which tricks link together best on flatwater, how I set about linking them and how you might come up with your own combinations. Below I’ve created a list of all of my flatwater tutorials so far, and I’ve rearranged them so that they’re in the most logical order for someone just starting out – I hope this helps.

Ok, so what tricks should you be trying to link together first? The list of tricks above is in the order that I learned each of them and actually gives you a pretty good idea of what goes with what. The cartwheel will probably be one of the first things you’ll learn, and with good reason – it’s one of the easiest tricks to do on flatwater (on par with the lunar orbit) but it’s also the one which links best with other tricks. You can successfully link every other trick on the list to a cartwheel, although it lends itself best to flowing out of a lunar orbit and tricky woo (linking a space godzilla to a cartwheel or a cartwheel to a mcnasty being significantly harder). The loop is also another common trick to learn when starting flatwater freestyle, it’s probably the most impressive trick and is used as part of a phonics monkey (tutorial yet to be written) and mcnasty; a lunar orbit and tricky woo both flow nicely into a loop if you time it right. Finally, a space godzilla (which finishes on edge) is similar to a carthweel when it comes to linking it because the bow can be sliced down easily upon completion in order to link it to another space godzilla, a loop or a tricky woo.

Onto how you might set about linking the aforementioned tricks. Before you actually go out and try to link the tricks you’re thinking about it’s a good idea to practise them individually. The other day I was trying to link an off-side tricky woo to a loop but it wasn’t working, the issue was that while I was able to off-side tricky woo the previous session I’d lost some of the technique in the days inbetween. This meant that the tricky woo needed some individual work before I could attempt to reliably link it to a loop. Even if you can definitely do both tricks on their own – say a lunar orbit and a cartwheel – it’s a good idea to practise both on their own so that your body gets used to the motions and warms up properly. Once this has been done the next step is to take the first trick and to try and link it to the first part of the second trick. An example of this would be to lunar orbit and link it to only the first end of a cartwheel, or to loop and only link it to the pirouette part of a phonics monkey. If you break down each of the tricks as much as possible and take them step-by-step it makes it easier to picture the links in your head and therefore makes it faster to learn the links in reality.

This moves me onto the idea of coming up with your own combinations… sometimes you’ll try to do a combo or just a single trick and it won’t work quite how you wanted but you’ll get a feeling that despite that, it still felt good, or maybe you come up with something in your head. I’ve done both and I found that there are plenty of new tricks you can imagine which are very difficult in reality, but that shouldn’t stop you experimenting. Occasionally I’d fail a cartwheel or a loop and I dropped into the same position as you do for a mcnasty – this has led me to incorporating a mcnasty into a few links recently (as shown on my Instagram). If you think of something interesting you should try it, you’ll never know if you can do it unless you give it a shot.

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