Surfing's alley-oop: a counterclockwise air 360 here performed by Jordy Smith | Photo: O'Neill

Surfing's alley-oop was inspired by the first aerial moves performed by skateboarders in half-pipes. The oceanic version gets surfers flying effortlessly above the wave in one of the boldest tricks you can watch.

The best alley-oops in surfing are landed when you head high overhead, and with a little help from an onshore breeze, the board keeps connected to your feet like glue.

In theory, you can do an alley-oop at any moment, but the ideal timing is when the wave is about to break because it will push you toward the flats.

If the ramp isn't steep, you may actually end up landing on the back of the wave.

An alley-oop is a counterclockwise air 360. Remember that a very high alley-oop requires a lot of speed and a perfect off-the-lip take-off. But don't do it if the wave is closing out.

If you're a surfer and want to learn how to pull the alley-oop, keep in mind that, unlike other air moves, the alley-oop is a transitional maneuver rather than a finishing touch.

A clean landing will allow you to resume surfing.

Surfing's Alley-Oop: an onshore breeze keep the surfboard connected to your feet | Photo: Quiksilver

Just Do It

Here's what to do to execute a smooth alley-oop:

  1. Take off on a wave with lots of open faces;
  2. Accelerate and drive your surfboard down the line;
  3. Eye a breaking section;
  4. Bottom turn towards the launch pad at 45 degrees without losing speed;
  5. Bend your knees;
  6. Let the nose of the surfboard pass the lip;
  7. Kick your tail out and pop off the lip;
  8. Rotate your hips in a counterclockwise movement;
  9. Turn your shoulders back around;
  10. Stay low while performing the air maneuver;
  11. Eye your landing spot while keeping your weight back;

John John Florence, Timmy Curran, Kelly Slater, Albee Layer, Julian Wilson, Jordy Smith, and Josh Kerr have all pulled some of the biggest and brightest alley-oops of all time.

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