Kelly Slater: applying his back foot knowledge

The secret of surfing lies in your feet. Whether you're a natural-footed surfer or a goofy-footer, it's important to know how to use your heels and toes when riding a wave.

"Your back foot is your accelerator pedal. Your front foot does not assist at all in the turning process, but is basically there for balance".

The words are from the four-time world surfing champion and Australian legend Mark Richards. He knows how to drive a surfboard through the wave face, and how relevant feet are to do what you want to do.

Having in mind that the surfboard won't turn without back foot heel and toe pressure, it's clear that it's all in the feet.

Proper positioning puts your back foot one palm away from the board's tail, and your front foot slightly ahead of the middle of the plank. Using a good traction pad is advisable.

When you're performing a frontside bottom turn, your back foot toes will be applying pressure over the rail in the tail, activating fin power and acceleration.

For the cutback, the same principle. This time, it will be your back foot heel responsible for the pressure applied on the surfboard.

Too much toe/heel pressure will catch rail, even if you're riding in soft rounded rail sticks. Getting the perfect tune is the key to perfection.

"I am constantly amazed when discussing technique, that very few understand the basic principles of how a board turns. I even read design articles in surfing magazines, where shapers talk about how they shape special boards for a front-footed surfer", underlines Mark Richards.

"This is total rubbish! You cannot ever hope to surf competently using your front foot", adds the Australian surfer on his blog.

In your next session, try to get your back foot as the main force of your surfing. The front foot will only balance the overall drive of your surf lines.

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