GO HUGE, AND SKIP GOING HOME. The incredible life and times ofriverboard pioneer Tom Paterson. Part 2: Breaking Down The Must Tom Paterson

{ EDITOR’S NOTE: If you don’t know who Tom Paterson is yet… You will soon. This dirtbag is absolutely NEXT LEVEL on the riverboard. After making plans this Spring to do an interview, it ended up taking all year to get together with him because, well, he basically reinvented the entire sport this year, and developed a whole new set of tricks. DBP interviewed Tom a few days back (Oct 18, 2015); now in today’s article Tom breaks down in detail the moves he and brother Jon are cooking up, up north. ENJOY! }
When I started riverboarding, I would often ponder what tricks would look like in the future. I always loved the idea of releasing my self from the board and having the board rotate underneath me. I knew this was a trick that had a lot more risk than the conventional riverboarding tricks. Because if I didn’t land back on the board there’d be a lot of potential of going deep, with a long swim, without the board ahead of me. I landed one board flip on the Carlson board on Garberator back in 2012. But that was once and it was a fluke. 2014 I landed a couple board flips on Corner Wave. This summer is the first time I can consistently land them, and I often throw more than one per surf. This is a big accomplishment for me and I’ve now made the board flip my stalk trick. 
On certain waves they feel so effortless and surreal. I tend to throw tricks depending on the location, style of wave and what sort of down stream consequence there is. Some times its best just to throw tricks that I’m confident I can land and won’t lose my board.
Having my brother Jon out there with me is essential to my recent advancements in freestyle. This is his second season on the river with me, and he has changed the game completely. Now I have someone I can really rely on. He has picked it up so quickly. I have more tricks and technique then him, but he is bigger and stronger then me. He pushes me in ways only a brother can. 
Jon has already started pioneering a few tricks of his own such as the Sparta and the body whip. He has started landing his board whips back on to his knees before me. This means he can have smoother combos. On Corner Wave he has the ability to flat spin, board whip back on to knees, and then initiate his last trick… I am kind of jealous. 
Having Jon escalate so quickly in the sport has allowed us to go bigger yet be safer. This past spring we started party surfing as a safety strategy. When we’re out there by ourselves it is very important to always know where each other are. With these massive, large volume rivers in northern Quebec it’s so easy to lose sight of each other, considering how low to the water we are. What we often do is drop into the wave together, surf, throw tricks together, and as soon as someone flushes off the wave the bro still on the wave carves off with him; that way we always know where we are. 
Another advantage to party surfing is it allows us to throw scarier tricks. Especially on big waves with trashy piles, if you were to lose your board it quite often ghost surfs without you and can stay in the foam pile for a long time if nothing is done. This often results in a very tiring and sometimes scary swim down stream. What I usually do is tell Jon while we are surfing what trick I’m going to attempt so that he can be ready to grab my board and push it off the wave. With waves with down river consequences he will actually grab my board flush off the wave and throw it to me, skipping it off the surface of the water. This technique has got both of us out of sticky situations many times.
With our super light home made boards and our short body boarding fins, the way we look at rivers has changed. I still really enjoy the downstream adventure aspect to river running, but with these advancements riverboarding can be a lot more land to water based. Jon and I really don’t mind hiking in our gear; we often are running to the top of the rapid just to keep the workout going, so it also allows us to get a lot done in a day. It truly makes it an endurance based extreme sport. There is no break in the excitement: run through the woods, jump over logs, climb over rocks, back in the water, punch some features, surf some waves,  throw some tricks, climb out of the water, run through the woods, and the cycle continues. I really like how much freedom this style of riverboarding has. Not only are we improving in the water, but we are also improving at running in fins, scrambling across rocks, and launching ourselves into the water. Running at the water is a huge part of our safety, and the easiest way to start a long ferry. It Allows us to get a good 20-foot head start before we have to start swimming. Running at the water also has opened up some freestyle opportunities; I now really enjoy finding drops that have a runway at the lip. I can pick up speed from shore, then bounce off the lip of waterfalls and throw my trick in the air.
There is a huge learning curve here. Depending on the size of the waterfall, there is a lot of time to throw the trick. I think with practice we will potentially be able to throw more and more complex tricks.
Flat Spins on the knees~
This trick may seem easy but on a riverboard it’s a lot harder then it looks. Usually initiated by dragging one foot and flicking it in the direction you want to spin, but can also be started with hand drag or edge control. Completing a 360-degree spin, without leaving the surface of the water. The flat spin thus far is the start to almost any combo.
The Riverboard Airscrew~
While in the air, facing upstream complete a barrel roll, and land back on the board. Trying to get the full body and fins out of the water.
May 2015 on Molly Wave, Mistassibi River
May 2015 H2O Wave Mistassibi 
The Board Whip~
Using the board whip handle, rotate the board a full 360 degrees in the air. Now we have been focusing on landing back on our knees so we can immediately omits it the next trick. 
Jon Paterson April 2015 Mini Bus, Ottawa River
August 2015 Garberator, Ottawa River
Riverboard Pam Am~
Start the trick like an airscrew but tuck and land backwards on the wave. Then initiate the next trick from backwards position, or 180 to front surf again. 
August 2014 Chopping Block, Ottawa River
May 2015 Molly, Mistassibi River (photo: Wally Mistassibi) 
Flat Spins~
This trick may seem easy but on a riverboard it’s a lot harder than it looks. Usually initiated by dragging one foot and flicking it in the direction you want to spin. Completing a 360-degree spin, without leaving the surface of the water. The flat spin thus far is the start to almost any combo. 
May 2015 Molly Wave, Mistassibi
Walking Man~
Launching out of the water, try to take as many steps on the water as possible. Then stab the board into the water and let the current bring the board underneath you for a soft landing. 
November 2014 Mini Bus, Ottawa River
A lot Like the Walking man but body is horizontal not vertical. Making sure to stab the board deep into the water in front of you, and letting the current bring the board underneath you. Body needs to be fully out of the water. (Warning these tricks are only good for deep waves, otherwise stabbing your board that deep will result in hitting rock.)
Jon Paterson April 2015 Mini Bus, Ottawa 
Riverboard Sasquatch~
Pop and lean back as far as you can keeping your knees on the board. Then the water will catch the back end of the board and your fins, slapping the board back down to the surface. 
May 2015 Molly Wave, Mistassibi 
Body Whip~
Using the board whip handle. Similar to a board whip but YOU rotate, not the board. 
April 2015, Jon Paterson Big Nessy, Ottawa River
Body Varial~
An airscrew without the board. Let go of the board and rotate over it then land back on and keep surfing. 
May 2015 Molly Wave, Mistassibi 
August 2014 Corner Wave, Ottawa (photo: Josh Galt)
August 2014 Corner Wave, Ottawa
Board Spin~
A board whip but you release yourself from the board (not using board whip handle). Mid air the board does a 360-degree rotation. The board whip handle is kind of like training wheels for this trick because using the board whip handle allows you to stay in contact with the board. 
Squirt boarding~
On the Ottawa and other deep rivers in Quebec I often come across deep features that are super fun to intentionally sub out on. Over time I’m figuring out ways to extend my time spent under the water. By locking my board into my hips and plugging the front of the board into the curtain, I use my board as a parachute to grab the downward water and let it push me deep. Once subbed out I keep the board locked into my hips and keep the board as horizontal as possible… the flatter the board is the longer the down time. As soon as I point the board vertical I shoot to the surface. Holes that I used to avoid due to how steep and sticky they are, are now super fun to squirt board in. Plug the nose and hold your breath, then reemerge with intention of getting surfed back in to do it again.
Board Spin 540 and Beyond~
Just recently Jon threw the first Board spin 540, over rotating the board so that he lands with the board facing backwards. Now the board is doing a 540 degree rotation rather then a 360 degree rotation. This trick is only going to get more spins. I cant wait!
Board Flip~
The board does the equivalent to a kick flip in skateboarding. Throwing it in front of you or underneath depending on the wave.
August 2015 Garberator, Ottawa
May 2015 Molly Wave, Mistassibi 
August 2014 Corner Wave, Ottawa (photo: Josh Galt)
Insane Flip~
The board does a backflip above the water but under you / in front of you. 
August 2015 Corner Wave, Ottawa
August 2015 Corner Wave, Ottawa
Riverboard Front Flip~
You and the board fully front flip above the water. 
Nov 2014 high level Mini Bus, Ottawa

December 2014 Mini Bus, Ottawa
The Board Blunt~
The board does an off axis 180 underneath you. So that you end up riding the board backwards.
Double Board Flip~
My newest and most complex trick. I’ve only landed it a handful of times and only once on camera. The equivalent to a skateboarding double kick flip. The board rotates twice underneath you then land back on the board and keep surfing.

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