In most action sports the 360 – one complete rotation – is a benchmark trick. It’s not ridiculously hard (unless you’re surfing, in which case everything is hard) but it’s still tricky enough that your Grandma would be impressed if she saw it.
Also because it doesn’t require spinning stupidly fast, the 360 gives riders a real opportunity to express their individual style. This means that although people have spun faster and further, the 360 remains a firm favourite and a staple of most pro’s trick bags.
the sheer variety shows how great this humble trick actually is
But when a trick is so universally popular, how do you possibly go about working out which are the best of all time? Well, that would be nigh-on impossible, so instead we’ve picked a few of our favourites.
Each of these is significant because of who did it, where it was done or just how it was done – and the sheer variety shows how great this humble trick actually is.
The 360 Heard Round the World
In 2005, Darren ‘Bearclaw’ Berrecloth rocked up to the still relatively new Crankworx slopestyle event and did… this.
Ten years later the trick might not seem particularly extraordinary, but at the time it was like nothing anyone had seen before.
Mountain bike legend Brian Lopes called it “the sickest thing I’ve ever seen”, while veteran photographer Haruki Noguchi said later: “The coolest thing I ever saw at Crankworx was Darren Berrecloth 360’ing the road gap with ludicrous speed, greasing the landing. The bar was raised several notches after that move.”
Full disclosure: This video part comes from the first snowboard movie this author ever watched and got stoked on, 2000’s The Resistance, so there may be a bit of personal bias in its inclusion in this all-time list.
Having said that, you’d be hard pushed to find a snowboarder of any generation who would argue with the assertion that Devun Walsh has one of the best 360s of all time.
His ability to send it off the biggest cliffs without so much as the smallest flap of the arms made his riding style one of the most imitated of all time.
There are great examples of 360s all over this edit, but the frontside three no grab at 0.40 is my favourite.
The Step Down Show Stopper
Cam Zink has made a career out of going massive, but even by his standards this was ridiculous.
Tackling this monster step-down as part of his Red Bull Rampage back in 2010, he decided that merely dropping it wasn’t enough, and sent a huge 360. And if you were in any doubt about how big a deal that was, just listen to the commentators.
“Yeeeessss! Dude, man, dude! Shut the front door!” screams one of the commentators. “[That’s] one of the biggest accomplishments in two-wheeled action sports,” says his colleague slightly more eloquently.
He wasn’t wrong and it’s no surprise that Cameron went on to take the title.
Dragging Surfing Into a New Era
Surfers had been doing 360s as far back as the 70s, but for the longest time aerials were regarded as kids’ stuff. Derided as “chop hops”, they were considered beneath proper surfers, who focussed on clean carving and tube riding.
All that began changing in the 90s, as real pros increasingly began to get airborne, but it was the 360s in this video – Taylor Steele’s 1997 flick The Show – that transformed the trick from something frivolous to a legit manoeuvre.
As Paul Evans, editor of Surf Europe Magazine, puts it: “It featured a carving 360 by Kelly Slater, a 360 air reverse by Tim Curran and an alley-oop by Shane Dorian in the opening sequence alone. The 90’s were nearly over, tricks were no longer for kids, and 360 rotations were must-have feathers in any legit New Schooler’s cap.”
This movie helped set the scene for the incredible developments that followed…
The Perfect 10-Pointer
There are few surfers who look as natural in the air as John John Florence. Everything about this 360 is perfect – from the take off to the tweaked out body position in the air to the buttery-smooth landing.
It’s small wonder he claims it, and small wonder it earned him a full 10 points at the 2013 Oakley Pro in Bali. Since then, the video has racked up over 1 million views.
Of course the Hawaiian native hasn’t stopped there. He all but broke the internet when he stomped this crazy double-grabbed backflip earlier this year, and given that John John is only 22, we’re sure there’s more yet to come.
The Old Master Sends It
Thirteen years after he won Thrasher’s ‘Skater of the Year’ award and following long periods battling drug and alcohol addiction, legendary street skater Andrew Reynolds came into the form of his life for this video – Emerica’s 2011 epic Stay Gold.
This part, which won him Transworld Skateboarding’s video part of the year, features a many incredible tricks. But for our money few of them showcase Reynolds’ signature style than the two huge 360s (fakie, followed by backside) at 4.02.
His mate’s reaction when he lands the first one tells you everything you need to know.
The Scrappy Genius Works His Magic
This 360 will always be overshadowed by the trick that precedes it – an insane, balls-out backflip over a monster roof gap. But it’s precisely that fact that makes the 360 so great.
Having just stomped that gap any normal rider would stop and celebrate. Why risk screwing up the shot with a slam?
So the fact that Halldor Helgason carries on and hucks that scrappy looking 360 tells you two things:
1) He’s a naturally-gifted genius on a snowboard. How he holds onto it with a take-off and landing like that we’ll never know.
2) He doesn’t give a f*ck.
Which just makes him that much more of a hero to our minds.
Slaying El Toro
The El Toro stairset is rightfully famous in BMX. A gnarly 20 stair monster, it takes some serious balls to boost off this.
The size of this alone would put most riders off, but Stevie Churchill had the added scare-factor of watching his riding buddy, Brandon Begin, knock himself out on this during the same session.
Which makes it all the more impressive that the East Coast prodigy stepped up and stomped this epic 360.
The World Record Breaker
In 2005, Norwegian Mads ‘Big Nads’ Jonsson broke the world record for the biggest jump ever on a snowboard with this insane frontside 360.
Mads had hooked up with the head shaper in his home resort of Hemsedal to construct this specially built kicker, which measured 130 feet from lip-to-landing.
Burton photographer Jeff Curtes was on hand to document the event. He told Whitelines Magazine: “Things happened fast, I knew that Mads would waste no time. Two speed checks, one shaky backside 180 and then BAM! This beauty of a massive frontside 360, landed perfectly.”
Mads sailed clean over the knuckle and when they measured his landing mark, they found he had travelled fully 187 feet – or 57 metres. The record still stands today.
Making the Great Wall Look Small
We finish with arguably the most famous 360 in the history of action sports – the one that skateboarder Danny Way sent over the Great Wall of China in 2005.
Having already claimed the world record for the longest air on a skateboard, the mega-ramp pioneer was looking for a new challenge when he and his sponsors alighted on the idea of the Chinese stunt.
Mega-ramp and mega-stunts might not be every skateboarders’ cup of tea, but there’s no denying that this is seriously impressive.
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