Adding style to your tricks is often easily achieved by integrating a board grab to maneuvers you already have on lockdown. The seatbelt grab is a unique trick that is probably the next step in progression after you’ve mastered some other technical grabs including the tail grab or the stale grab. You can practice the seatbelt either hooked-in or unhooked, but it’s probably easiest to stay hooked-in at first.
Before you think about getting the grab you need to focus on your board’s pop. This is key because how aggressively you load and pop determines how much time you will have in the air, how much time you have to open up your body and commit fully to the grab. Ultimately, your pop dictates how stylish the grab will look.
Start the trick with a solid load and pop release from the water, placing the kite at 10 or 2 o’clock (depending on which direction you are traveling) in the window. The seatbelt grab works best with un-sent airs when you rely mainly upon the height you get from loading and releasing your board. Once comfortably in the air, take your back hand off the bar and rotate your upper body towards the nose of your board.
Reach forward across your body (as if you are putting on a seatbelt) and connect your back hand with the nose of the board. It helps if you bend your front knee and extend your back leg straight; this will bring the nose of your board closer to your body and really tweak out the grab.
The bigger the air the longer you will have to connect your hand with the nose of the board. At first you might get a quick grab before you have to release and prepare for landing, but the more air time you have and the earlier you start moving your back hand forward will allow more time to tweak or stretch out your body once you’ve got the grab.
I’m a big fan of this grab because it’s a straightforward grab that looks fairly technical. Sent jumps will leave your body hanging vertically from the kite, while unsent load and pop airs with the kite lower in the window allow you to extend your body horizontally, the latter method getting the bigger style points. Working on your grabs is often a matter of increasing flexibility and building muscle memory, but with a little bit of practice you’ll be bringing something new to the table at your home spot.