Throwing spray: a combination of speed, wave angle, and and aggressive sharp turn | Photo: WSL

Throwing more spray in surfing is about using your body effectively and utilizing the physics of the wave and your board.

The "spray" occurs when the surfer makes a sharp, aggressive turn or cutback on the pocket of a wave, and the fins, rail, and tail of the board displace a large amount of water.

It also occurs when a surfer executes a snap high and under the steepest section of the newly formed wave lip.

It's also important to stress that the amount of spray generated in a sharp turn is not necessarily a synonym for good surfing.

It's what you do and how you manage speed that truly matters.

However, yes, throwing buckets of spray can be fun and impressive, so here's a detailed tutorial on how to displace more water while carving, cutting back, and performing turn maneuvers on a wave and under its lip:

Turning: the more speed you generate, the more spray you'll throw | Photo: WSL

Choosing the Right Equipment

The type of surfboard you use can greatly impact the amount of spray you can throw.

Shortboards are generally better for this because they are more maneuverable and can generate more speed.

The fins on your board also play a crucial role - larger fins can help to displace more water.

As a result, a smaller, more maneuverable board will typically allow you to throw more spray.

Boards with hard rails and sharp fins also help to displace more water.

Selecting the Wave and Generating Speed

Not every wave will allow for the kind of sharp turns that produce a big spray.

So, look for waves that are steep enough to give you the momentum you need.

Then, make sure you get a good bottom turn, as it is crucial for setting up powerful maneuvers on a wave.

Bend your knees and lean your body in the direction of the turn to gain speed.

The sharper your bottom turn, the more speed you'll generate for the next step.

Speed really is key when it comes to throwing spray - the faster you're going, the more water you'll be able to displace.

To generate speed, you need to use your whole body, not just your legs.

The process involves using your arms to paddle hard, your torso to twist and generate power, and your legs to push off the wave.

Turning: compress your body and then extend it in the critical part of the wave to generate more spray | Photo: WSL

Timing and Positioning

You need to time your turns correctly to throw the most spray, waiting for the right moment on the wave to start your turn.

You also need to position yourself correctly on the wave.

The best place to throw spray is at the top of the wave, just under the lip.

Therefore, you want to aim your board high up the wave face. The more vertical you go, the better your chances of throwing a lot of spray.

Performing the Turn

Carving and cutting back are two maneuvers that can help you throw more spray.

When you're ready to perform the carving turn, lean into it and use your back foot to push off the wave.

Keep the board's rail as vertical as you can without digging the rail. The harder you push, the more water you'll displace.

You should also aim to turn your board at a sharp angle, as this will help to throw more spray.

Your body will go from an initial compressed stage to a final extended movement, unleashing all the energy through your legs and feet.

To cut back, the process is similar.

You need to turn your board back towards the breaking part of the wave, which can help to throw more spray.

Are you aiming at the wave's crest? Perfect. That'll do, too.

As you reach the top of the wave or under its lip, twist your hips and shoulders in the direction you want to go and push hard on the back foot.

This is where the spray comes from.

It's got to be an explosive movement. The harder and faster you can push and turn, the more spray you'll throw.

The same applies to the wave's angle - the steeper, the better.

Cutback: extending the back leg at full speed will generate buckets of spray | Photo: WSL

Focus on the Body Movement

Always throw your leading arm in the direction you want to go and follow it with your body. The rotation will help with balance, speed, and direction.

Also, shift your weight to the tail by keeping your back foot on the tail pad to help lift the nose of the board and allow for sharper turns.

Keep your eyes on the target.

Always look where you want to go and not at your board. Doing this will help you maintain balance and make more precise turns.

The same applies to the outcome.

Don't waste time waiting to see the spray reaching the sky - just do what you must and "listen" to it.

Watch and Learn

One of the best ways to learn how to throw spray is to watch other surfers, for instance, World Tour athletes, in competition mode.

You can learn a lot from watching how they position themselves on the wave, time their turns, and use their bodies to generate speed and power.

Remember that throwing more spray comes down to speed, power, and timing.

And like anything in surfing, it is a skill that requires practice to master. The more you do it, the better you'll get.

So don't be discouraged if you don't get it right away. Start by working on your turns, and gradually try to add more power and speed to them.

Keep practicing, and you'll soon be making large fans of water.

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