Define Flatland Combo (Closed for comments)

Comments about this discussion:


It seems we have nothing defining what a combo! We should have at least a loose definition of what it is so judges can score accordingly and rider know what kind of score to expect from a judge when attempting a combo.


For me a combo is a multiplier. Like in video games, the more tricks to link, the more chance to have to fall, the harder it gets, the more points you should get. It's a pretty simple Risk/Reward relation. 


I have heard some people mention every trick in a combo should count until you fall or you land it. I totally disagree with this because then it is a 0 risk, but high reward way of scoring combos. Otherwise riders could just combo all the time, without being really worried about falling.


If you give no points or partial points for a failed combo, it seems to make more sense for me. When you link tricks together, it's harder, thus you should get more points. So the more trick inside a combo, the more points you get, and the harder tricks in a combo, the more points you get too. A rolling wrap to 720 unispin should obviously be worth more than just a rolling wrap, and a 720 unispin done apart. And a failed rolling wrap to 720 unispin shouldn't be worth any points because otherwise there would be no risk taking.

That being said all of this doesn't give us a definition for a combo, which I believe should stay relatively loose. I think this way because when riders starts hopping on tire, it gets really complicated ;) But I think hopping on tire are combo breakers. As much as I think trick done on tire do not necessarily need to be landed back to pedals to be counted. Example; a ride do 90 unispin to tire and then does like 20 jump on hop on wheel as a preparation to do a big trick on tire. No combo here. The rider does 720 unispin on tire, land it back to tire, is in control. For me this is a landed 720 unispin on tire, when the ride tries to do a 90 or 270 back down to pedals, it is a failed trick, but I don't think it's a failed combo from the 720 unispin on tire.


Anyway, what are your thoughts on this?


Couple of comments

1) Combos must be defined and tricks must be defined. Right now there's no clear definition, something that also makes it hard to distinguish flatland from x-style and freestyle

2) There are stable tricks but they're different for each rider. For a newer rider hop on wheel would be difficult and not 'stable', hence it would be unfair to that person to break the combo there. More advanced riders will have more 'stable tricks', making it hard to be consistent

3) The starting point might instead be to split this into tricks and transitions (even if not all moves fall clearly into one or the other bucket). Tricks would be things like coasting, hopping, riding one foot, etc. Transitions are going from one trick to another or one trick back to the same trick (a basic unispin is a transition seat out to seat out for instance). A trick is easier to perform if you only perform that trick and harder if you must then transition into another trick at the end of it.

I think a lot of what's understood as a combo would be a fast pace of transitions – not really finding balance in any particular trick but constantly moving. In that case it should be defined as the pace of transitions but then any hopping trick with more than 3 hops and any rolling trick with more than 1-2 revolutions would break the combo in two logically.


A landed combo should give a lot more difficutly points than the tricks in that combo done separately. A failed combo should give zero to very little points. The way it is now, only a few crazy riders attempt long combos, there is no advantage in doing them which takes away a lot from the crazyness of flatland competitions.

Defining a combo depends on the rider. I think Magnus last paragraph sums it up well though.


Spontaneous thoughts on it:

Riding always breaks a combo. Even if it's only 1 rev. Without this if a rollcombo got bad and the rider needs to save himself by jumping to pedals, he could ride for 1 rev and restart with something easy enough as a rollingwrap, yet it would still be considered the same combo. Or should there be two different approaches for spin/flip trick combos and roll combos?

As soon as a rider can rest and feels comfortable in a trick, this could be considered the end of a combo. (which wouldn't work just like this, because riders are allowed to have tricks save)

Or: As soon as a trick is repeated multiple times this might be considered the end? (which wouldn't work like this, because the same trick multiple times in a line can be sweet)

Or: maybe a combination of both, repeating a trick multiple times the rider obviously feels save in. So for some that's hopping on wheel, for others that rollingwrap-backroll (this would be highly subjective for the judges though)


The problem with trying to define actual flatland (tricks) is you negatively affect the growth of flatland by doing it. Flatland is individual style. Some tricks at one point were considered freestyle such as a stand up wheel walk, but then Josef and Waylon do tricks out of them and into them and all of a sudden it is flatland.

If you traditionally had defined stand up wheel walk as freestyle, you most likely stop those combos/transitions from ever being developed.

Flatland is something that most can tell when they see it, but to put it into words by defining tricks will affect the growth of individual style.


A problem that i duscussed at Unicon with Steven and that is worth mentioning is that a combo counts only one trick when it comes to Consistency, and you're not without knowing that consistency end up being a huuuuuuge divider between two riders doing their prelim run.

For example if you include a few combos in your run then you will land less tricks as if you were not doing any combos (or even just one combo), then if you fail the same amount of time than the other rider that did no combo (or only one small) they will have landed more tricks and therefore will be placed before you for the same level of difficulty

When it comes to what a combo is i'd say anything that contains a few tricks starting from and landing to the pedals. 90-hops hops hops hops hops-720-hops hops hops hops hops - 270 would still be a combo but where you don't really count the 90/270 cause they're quite lame. 

But i'm also not really sure we need to have this binarity combo/not combo that will be very difficult to have/judge when you check all the different riding styles...


I think a definition could be something like this: a combo is when a rider performs at least to tricks l, linking them together without hopping or riding. A combo ends and is deemed landed when the riders hops or rides away in control.


The question still remains: is hopping on wheel considered hopping in control? So multiple wheelhops break a combo? because if not, that makes it easy to stack up tricks into a combo by just wheelhopping in between for a while and then starting the next hard part.


Of course hopping on wheel is hopping. Hopping I .a cranknjam, in a stand up or seat on side, which ever position.


I'm not sure whether it's better to define combo or just give up that expression and talk about tricks and transitions. A lot of transitions (trick to next trick) would then mean higher difficulty + more flow. And each trick in the 'combo' would be counted individually towards consistency.


Counting each trick in a combo individually towards the different categories of points would mean that if you failed a combo, every trick up to that point would still yield full points. So the risk of doing combos is zero. Which means a landed combo should not reward you with higher scores. Which then leads to noone doing long combos because more short combos or single tricks give the same points. But combos are a big part of flatland, and always a highlight for the audience too.

As soon as you will reduce points if a combo was failed then you need to define what a combo is. As loosely as possible of course to not restrict the riders. And I think that hopping in control in whatever position could work well for that. 


The whole point of a combo is linking tricks together. We can give up on this as it's in its essence totally different than a transition. Combos are deeply ancred in the soul of flatland and it's terminology so we can't just drop it.




Hopping in control = end of combo works.

In the short term I think you would find that combos we thought of as "long" would actually be multiple short combos but the riders would probably adapt by improving and performing zero hops (on tyre, on crank etc) or instead of performing the hop they would just hop into an easy trick instead.


Either way both are probably better skill and better to watch.


A combo is a chain of landed tricks uninterrupted by hops or dabs.

How does this sound. I'm sure we can make it better. Any ideas?


I agree with your original post, Emile, that tricks landed to tire should count as individual tricks. Same with tricks on tire. I think of tire hopping as a state of riding in control just like pedaling, hopping in place, or riding backward. I think you could make the same case for crank idle. Whenever a rider achieves a state of control like this, in my opinion, the combo is broken and the tricks leading up to it should be scored as such.

This gets weird when you start to talk about guys riding one footed and stuff, though— which has been getting more and more trendy, recently.


A combo is a chain of landed tricks uninterrupted by hops or dabs.

How does this sound. I'm sure we can make it better. Any ideas?


A combo is a chain of landed tricks uninterrupted by hopping, dabbing or idling.

Added idling, any idea on improving this definition?


It seems fairly sparse to describe what seems like a fairly hard thing to define. Do we need more information to ensure it is fully understood?

A combo is a chain of tricks landed in succession. A combo is deemed completed when a rider interrupts the succession of tricks with movements such as hopping, riding or idling.

Dabbing is when you touch the ground right? Do we need that in this description of a combo? Hopping and idling break combo but are still considered landed. Dabbing whether it is combo or regular trick is always an incomplete trick/combo.


I think dabbing can be left out.

A combo is a chain of tricks landed in succession. A combo is deemed completed when a rider interrupts the succession of tricks with movements such as hopping, riding or idling. This applies to any tricks or movements, that the rider has obviously mastered.

My english is not good enough to phrase it exactly as I'd like.

What I'm trying to add is that it should be stated that hopping, riding, idling in any position or trick can end a combo, when the rider is absolutely comfortable in it. And the other way around: For some (younger) people, hopping or idling in certain positions can definitely be a trick that should not break a combo.

A good example is pushmush or outside pushmush. For most advanced flat riders that's definitely a combo breaker, for less experienced riders it should not be considered the end of the combo.


I don't think the addition of that sentence is necessary. A push mush by definition would not be a combo breaker as long as it's only done once, no?

Also the definition needs to apply to everyone in every circumstances. You can't have a definition for beginners and experts for the same concept IMO.


I don't know what you're referring to now. 

Are you defining idling as doing tricks back and forth multiple times? If so, then multiple pushmushs would be idling but multiple rolling wraps would not? Where's the difference?

The added sentence tried to establish a way of defining idling in a trick better by stating that whenever you do the same trick multiple times in a row and you absolutely mastered that trick, then it can be considered idling. This should apply to any trick. And by doing this we are not eliminating the concept of doing the same trick many times in succession (which can be great).


If we don't do this we would have two options:

Either every repeating of the same trick multiple times is called idling and ends a combo or

we would need to define a list of tricks that would fall under the 'idling' category. 



A combo is a chain of tricks landed in succession. A combo is deemed completed when a rider interrupts the succession of tricks with movements such as hopping, riding or idling. This applies to any tricks or movements, that the rider has obviously mastered.



I get your meaning here and I understand why you want to implement it but I think it will be too hard to judge in general. It is not specific enough on what does and doesn't break the combo. In my opinion we shouldn't be making a trick worth less (relegating it to breaking a combo) based on how well a rider has mastered it.

Example 1 Someone has mastered 900 unispins enough to use it repeatedly between tricks to get balance

Example 2

If someone does 7 leg wraps that's usually seen as insane, but have they therefore mastered the leg wrap and by doing 7 of them they doing it as a way to kill time/correct balance

I think the answers of whether or not those are breaking combo in theory is no, but if we penalise a person for using a trick that they can do so easily that it can be used as a transition/hop/idle then it starts a slippery slope of what is a good enough to be immune from that and what isn’t. 900 is probably good enough that you’d count it as a new trick, 2 x 900 is insane. 720 still pretty good, 2 x 720 still pretty insane. 540? 360?


@Emile "I don't think the addition of that sentence is necessary. A push mush by definition would not be a combo breaker as long as it's only done once, no?"

Using the definition above, push mush wouldn't break a combo even if done twice from how I interpret it. Push mush is not idling, riding or hopping as far as I am aware.

Perhaps we could add 2 x push mush to "hopping, idling, riding as its basically used to correct balance but again it starts a slippery slope of what do we add in.


So you want a list of tricks that define the end of a combo.

I'm really just trying to push the boundaries here and making us realize what consequences these rules might have by the way.

If a pushmush is considered okay within a combo, and even multiple are, I can imagine a lot of (especially) roll-combos that could really be expanded by doing some variant of one-rev-riding in there. Imagine Ivar or Pablo doing stuff. So I would even consider calling something like that still a combo. Where is the border then?

I have no idea how I would like it defined best as I feel like no matter how we put it, it will exclude a lot of possibilities, which sucks, because I would like to see more combos being done.


The more I think about it, the more I dislike the idea of exactly defining what a combo is. The only reason we really do need this definition is because we want interrupted combo to not score any points at all. A system where a landed combo simply gives a lot more points could work too.

If a rider lands a hard 'combo' this would naturally improve his points in difficulty, consistency, variety and possibly flow anyways. The harder the combo, the quicker the transitions, the fewer idling in between the more points it should naturally award him.


But @Emile: I know you like the video game feel about combos. If it's landed it should like multiply the points upwards. I love it too but i fear a clear definition will limit the riders in their riding style and I don't like that. It's a bit similar to limiting a slopestyle run to a certain path around the park in comparison to making it a timed run. It's just more open and therefore promotes more creativity.


I dont want list of tricks that count as breaking a combo I think having "riding, hopping, idling is fine". I do believe people do multiple push mushes to get their balance/compose themselves in the middle of a combo, but I would prefer to not include it with riding, hopping,idling than start including individual tricks in a list.

Just to clarify there is a difference between a "broken" combo and a "failed" combo. A broken combo from idling hopping or riding are still worth as much points as the tricks/length of the combo itself. A failed combo (where you dab) is worth much less/nothing but a broken combo where the person hops/idles/rides in between just means it is 2 shorter combos instead of one massive one. It wont be worth as much as the super long combo but I assume those two short combos would still be worth more than most individual tricks though.

In one way it could possibly affect some types of flatstyle riding, but it will also likely improve the overall level of every other rider as they will work more on ensuring no hopping is occuring in their flatland. This will bring the level up even more. I think flatstyle riders already have a style that makes it hard to compete in flatland due to "variety" being considered low by judges and I think *assumption only* that they are ok with that and love pushing the boundaries of style anyway. I cant see the two flatstyle riders avoiding one of their crazy looking tricks because we've put in the rules that riding = broken combo.







Well I just read the definition of idling and to my surprise it's not what I thought.

The reason why I didn't think push mush should be counted as idling is because you only push forward and back in the same position once.

Would you call it idle if someone rode forward, then did half rev backwards, then rode forwards? I mean if that's all a ride could do when asked "can you idle?" I don't think I would see that rider as being able to idle, or define it as idling. That's why I see push mush done once  not a combo breaker. If push mush is a combo breaker, then rolling wrap to backroll should be one too, no?


I don't think push mush done once is a convo breaker. Only twice. However for keeping the rule sensible and Simone I think we should not classify push mush as a combo breaker. 

I think leaving riding/idling/hopping means convoy will get more skilled and be more fluid. And it is only a small negative for flatstyle creative tricks as you aren't failing a combo just getting two shorter combos over one longer one. 


I think we have to be absolutely consitent with what is a recognized as a combo over all categories (including juniors). I think you can't deduct points because somebody is really good at a trick.

I would like to know what you consider riding? Just normal riding, feet on pedals? Or is coasting riding, too? That would mean very hard tricks could be defined as combo breaking.




Riding is riding, and coasting is coasting :p rising is feet on pedals going forwards or back.


I think the definitions we used " combo is a chain of tricks landed in succession. A combo is deemed completed when a rider interrupts the succession of tricks with movements such as hopping, riding or idling"


"A combo is a chain of landed tricks uninterrupted by hopping, or idling."

Would be fine if we define idling. Idling is the act of staying on place by propulsion the unicycle forwards and back more than once.




Both feet in normal position? Or anything like 1ft, seat out, sideride, etc?


We need to be absolutely clear in our definition of riding, hopping and idling then.

Hopping as in both feet placed on the pedals. Probably not, because hopping on a crank with the other foot on the tyre as a save for a weirdly landed trick should be considered too. If we add that only at least one foot needs to be placed on a pedal that would still make wheelhopping continue the combo. And on the one hand I would like wheelhop to be considered a trick because that definitely is beyond just riding and hopping, but for experienced riders wheelhopping is relaxing and should probably end a combo...?

Riding as Marie said needs to be defined. 1ft riding, seat out riding and sideride could be defined as riding. Any constant movement of the unicycle while touching at least one pedal could be considered riding... but should it?

"Would be fine if we define idling. Idling is the act of staying on place by propulsion the unicycle forwards and back more than once."

With both feet on pedals? Or one? Or none e.g. any pushmush and pushmush-like tricks? If defined like this one could even argue that rollingwrap-backrolls are considered idling. Maybe "Idling is the act of staying on place by propulsion the unicycle forwards and back more than once with at least one foot on a pedal."


Hopping i think is pretty obvious, hopping in any position is hopping and thus breaks a combo.


Riding is more difficult, but as Ian said, maybe at least one foot on pedal.


For idling; "Idling is the act of staying on place by propulsion the unicycle forwards and back more than once while in the same position."


I think that clears it up. That way two or more push mush in a row are combo breakers but rolling wrap back roll go rolling wrap back roll isn't.


That does seem fairly good.


Wheel hopping does break a combo and hopping with one foot on crank and one foot on your wheel also. 



I think it is really really really important Ian to remember that "breaking the combo" does not mean failing the combo. You can still hop on wheel/crank+wheel and land our trick, it just ends the specific combo and starts a new one.


Comparing hopping on tyre breaking combo vs without.

rollling wrap + back roll + leg wrap + 270 to tyre + 180 on tyre + 270 down + 3 spin = 7 trick combo

rollling wrap + back roll + leg wrap + 270 to tyre [HOP ON TYRE] + 180 on tyre + 270 down + 3 spin = 4 trick combo + 3 trick combo


A novice rider will get less points by hopping on tyre in between their combo, but they are still completing two shorter combos. Assuming they are versing other novices then all the novices will be doing the same thing because of hopping in between  tricks meaning they are all on a level playing field in regards to judging.

If there is one "novice" who doesn't hop in his combo breaking it into two smaller ones then he should be getting more points anyway right? This motivates riders to work at improving the cleanliness of riding and reducing correction hops and fluidity to beat the rider in their category who is already cleaner. 



Convinced. I agree.



I think that we need another definition for what breaks a combo regarding the riding part. Has anyone seen the video that Ivar uploaded on Facebook today? Basically, with our definition it would break the combo he did because he rides with one foot on the pedal. But for me, his upload would clearly be a combo. 

And using our current definition - someone could do e.g. stand walk for 3 metres and then a 360 down and that would still be a combo while one revolution of e.g crossed legged riding to rolling wrap would not be a combo.

Maybe it would make more sense to go with a definition based on revolutions for the riding part? Maybe more than 1.5 revolutions?  Just an idea though.



Looking at something like that Marie is correct. It would be a shame to call something like that not a combo


But. If you allow one rev of riding (or more) that would make every line of different flip/spin tricks with only a rev in between a combo.

We will never be able to suit every circumstance here.
You could say that both feet on pedals is considered riding 0.5rev upwards.
And then 1 foot on pedal is considered riding 1.5revs upwards or somthing.
But going down that road we will have a long list of specific tricks, that are considered combo-breaking.
Maybe for it to be counted as riding, the main weight of the rider needs to be on the seat and pedal(s)? But then this would most likely exclude some other tricks again.

So the way I see it, we have a few possible outcomes:
1. We can either not define a combo at all or only very loosely, and make it so a finished combo is just scored a lot higher in difficulty or flow to encourage riders to go that way and a failed combo gives a lot less points, but leave it to the judges if they consider it a combo or not. Naturally, a fast, uninterrupted succession of tricks should score more points on difficulty or flow.
2. Or we define a specific list of tricks that end a combo. A long list.
3. Or we do a statement like the one we were currently talking about and have some of the possibilities fall through that definition.

And as I said earlier, the more I think about, the more I tend to go with 1.


Since this idea was not clearly defined and made into a proposal, any changes will need to wait until the next Rulebook committee.

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