Roundhouse cutback: a side perspective of the figure-8 surfing maneuver | Photo: Red Bull

The roundhouse cutback is considered one of the most important and critical maneuvers in surfing. Do you want to get it right?

Pulling a roundhouse cutback isn't hard, but doing it with charm and power requires training.

As a high-performance trick, it's also used to get back on the wave face at full throttle.

Although it's always better to train for a roundhouse cutback in a point break with a perfect peeling wall, you may also go for it in wally beach breaks.

In both cases, build up as much speed as possible while keeping relatively close to the pocket.

Cutback: a fundamental skill required for the full roundhouse cutback | Photo: Shutterstock

Roundhouse Cutback 101

Ready to do a beautifully drawn roundhouse cutback? Here's how:

  1. After driving your surfboard fast down the line, get a good, wide bottom turn that will point you to the lip;
  2. As you shift onto your heel side, aim your leading shoulder toward the beach;
  3. If you're a natural footer riding frontside, the surfboard will immediately start to move like a watch running anti-clockwise;
  4. You'll feel the board carving the salted water as your front foot takes all the weight;
  5. On some tighter roundhouse cutbacks, you may be forced to touch the white water. If that's the case, bend your knees to absorb impact and turn as soon as possible;
  6. It's time to get back on the wave face. Find a low stance to maintain flow, and adjust the body weight over the center of the surfboard;
  7. Begin the turning mode, add weight to the toes, and release the pressure over your heels;
  8. Go for the next bottom turn and target the next section;

The roundhouse cutback is a shifting game between your heels, shoulders, arms, legs, and toes.

It can also be seen as a connecting maneuver between a classic surfing cutback and a faster wave section.

A perfect roundhouse cutback takes the shape of a figure-8 with a long surf line in which your ultimate goal is to return to the curl at full speed.

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