- 12 November 2013 | Surfing
A complete surfer uses all trumps to perform better, from good to great. Backside surfing is always relevant, even if you don't enjoy it.
It has been hailed as the Achilles' heel of many surfers. How good is your backhand in all wave conditions? Do you dedicate enough time to riding waves with your back to the wall?
For many surfers, backside surfing is easier than its classic brother. Although the pressure's on your back, as the curl drops energy over your butt and you're spit towards the shore, some riders say it's simple to pull cornered snaps and high line cutbacks.
The moment you understand your backside surf, you'll unveil new frontiers for your dreams. Here are some of the immediate advantages:
1. Double the chances of riding waves
2. Get the most of A-peak frames
3. Ride waves others leave unridden
4. Pull tricks and moves that you can't perform in forehand mode
5. Get access to new wave peaks and surf spots
6. Improve the quality of your overall surf
If you have problems with your backhand surfing, know that there are simple exercises you can do to get it right.
For example, while paddling for a wave - no matter you're a natural footer or a goofy-footer - try to position your surfboard almost parallel to the wave.
It's usually easier to avoid a sharp bottom-turn and go straight to the surf line. Try to apply more weight in your ankle, as you drive down the wave wall to the end of the ride.
Also, roll your back foot to around 45 degrees of the stringer line. It will open your upper body to the trim line, so that you can read the wave properly.
Open up your shoulders, align them with the rails, and position your leading arm on the same side as the wave face, rather than the opposite side with your trailing arm.
Feet positioning is critical in backhand surfing. Your back foot should really be as far back as you can, if you want to hit the lip after a bottom-turn. For speed, lift your arms in the direction of surf line.
By repeating this process several times, you'll teach your brain how to manage balance, weight and joint movement while having a wave breaking against your back.
Finally, keep a relatively low stance as you take-off and pop-up on your board, and lead the turns with your front arm. The tenth wave will seem easier. You'll notice several improvements in balance, feet/hip response and drive. Go for it and never avoid backside surfing.
Take a look at the best advanced surfing tips and techniques.