02 Apr MASTERING YOUR BACKHAND BOTTOM TURN
MASTERING YOUR BACKHAND BOTTOM TURN
Surfing on your backhand is when you ride a wave with your back to it. For regular footers, it’s going left, and goofy footers, going right. It is a skill that many new surfers try to avoid as it feels less natural.
If you live in a country full of point breaks of your preference then it’s easily avoidable. But for the other 98% of the world, being able to surf both ways will increase your wave count and sets you up to learn new tricks, who doesn’t want that?
Here are some tips on how to master that backhand bottom turn:
ALWAYS LOOK WHERE YOU WANT TO GO
You’ll begin this manoeuver in a similar manner to your forehand bottom turn. As you paddle into the wave, check in both directions that there isn’t a surfer already on the wave or you’re about to drop it on someone. Aim your board towards the beach but turn your head to look down the face of the wave in the direction you want to go. In all surfing manoeuvers, you need to ‘‘look where you want to go”.
TWIST YOUR ARMS + CHEST
As you pop up, keep your knees bent and head turned so you’re looking down the face. Your arms become even more important for your bottom turn as you’ll need to twist your body from your hips. Look over your shoulder, follow with the arms and your chest will move around to point in the direction you want to go. Don’t forget to move both arms together. If only your leading arm moves, the trailing arm will keep your chest facing the other way, and that’s not where you want to go.
COMPRESSION IS THE KEY
As with all turns, the slower you’re going, the harder it will be to execute the manoeuver. Keep up your momentum by leaning into the turn. If you stand up straight and lean back to counterbalance, you’ll kill your speed or more likely, fall off. It’s also super important to compress more as you get to the bottom of the wave, then extend slightly out of the turn. This will give you more speed for your following move, whether it’s a top turn, floater or huge air.
WHAT COMES NEXT
Although a backhand bottom turn feels more uncomfortable at first, surfing in this direction makes top turns and cutbacks easier. As you bring your board round to do your following manoeuver, you’ll be bringing your head and body round to a more comfortable direction.
Mastering your bottom turn on your front and backhand will enable you to make the most of each wave and it’s the most important manoeuver in the surfer’s handbook.