Bottom turn: a key maneuver in bodyboarding | Photo: Jimenez/ISA

The bottom turn is an essential maneuver in modern bodyboarding. It's the move that opens door to the wave's critical section.

You've paddled hard, you've taken off on a good-looking wave, and you've eyed a long and steep shoulder. Perfect. There's a new world waiting for your rollos, cutbacks, 360s, and airs. But how can you transform drop speed into down-the-line speed?

An effective bottom turn is an answer to almost everything. However, unlike in surfing where you must fly down the wave straight and then turn aggressively and 90 degrees towards the surf line, bodyboarders should do it using a slightly different technique.

Learning how to perform a good bottom turn might seem pointless, but details matter and they will play a critical role in waves of consequence, i.e., fast, hollow and larger waves. So, make sure you tick all boxes:

1. Paddle for a wave and take off early;
2. Move forward into the trim position;
3. Ride down the wave at an angle of 45 degrees;
4. Don't let your shoulder or elbow touch the water;
5. Lean your shoulder over towards the face of the wave when you reach the bottom half of it;
6. Use your outside hand to push the board into the wave;
7. The board's inside rail will slice the water like a blade;
8. Arch your back and gain speed;
9. Draw an optimal surf line;
10. Set up the next maneuver;

A common mistake is going too far into the flats, before and after a bottom turn. In both cases, you'll lose the wave and its energy. In a perfect bottom turn, you will see the bodyboarder performing a natural smooth curved line across the wave without losing speed.

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