Surfing: a wave-riding sport with plenty of tricks and maneuvers | Photo: Red Bull

Are you ready to master all surfing tricks? We've broken down all the names of the moves you need to execute to become a surf champion.

Surfing is an action sport with many tricks. The surfer's informal rulebook tells us that the athlete who invents, pulls off, and completes a new maneuver has the honor of naming it.

That is why many surf tricks have exotic titles.

But you will also find - depending on the region where you surf - a maneuver with different names or two terms for two identical tricks with subtle variations.

After learning the basics of surfing - paddling, duck diving, popping up, and trimming - surfers advance into more complex and sophisticated wave-riding moves.

It's fair to say that there are surfing tricks for all experience levels.

However, a surfer cannot progress into the intermediate stages without knowing how to bottom turn and navigate the surf line.

So before thinking of getting barreled at Pipeline, perfect and improve your basic surfing skills, learn to read the waves, train your footwork, and watch others landing or completing the most advanced maneuvers.

The majority of surf moves can be performed frontside and backside, i.e., when surfers are facing the wave and when they have their back to the roller, respectively.

Explore and try out the old-school and new-school surfing maneuvers. Become a better surfer today.

Beginner Surfing Tricks

Bottom Turn

The bottom turn is the most important maneuver in surfing.

For many, it represents the foundation of surf riding because it is the first turn on a wave after dropping in, and it allows you to channel the speed and momentum toward the open face ahead of you.

The bottom turn is the bottom line. It is where it all begins.

Bottom Turn: the most important maneuver in surfing | Photo: Red Bull



Carving allows you to change your line and direction in open sections of the waves. When you carve, you put your weight and power on the surfboard's rail.

In other words, you bury the rail in the water, draw an arc, and stay in the curl.

Variations: Carve 360

Carve: the maneuver that allows you to change direction in surfing | Photo: Red Bull



The cutback is a key maneuver in surfing. It allows you to reduce the speed with a good purpose.

The movement takes the surfer back from the shoulder into the pocket of the wave and repositions him in the energy zone.

Variations: Layback Cutback

Cutback: the maneuver that allows surfers to reconnect with the pocket of the wave | Photo: Red Bull


Intermediate Surfing Tricks


The snap, also known as slash, is a radical change of trajectory in the pocket or the top of the wave.

When performed abruptly, it produces spectacular, flashy buckets of spray above the surfer.

Variations: Layback Snap


Roundhouse Cutback

The roundhouse cutback is one of the most beautiful and popular maneuvers in surfing.

It is usually performed in small waves without much wall, and it allows the surfer to return to the curl, gaining maximum speed and amplitude off the top, with a figure-8 surf line.



The off-the-lip is a vertical top turn in which the surfer attacks a steep slope, projects half of his board off the wave's lip, and then drives it dramatically down toward the bottom of the wave without losing momentum.

Off-the-Lip: a vertical top turn in surfing | Photo: Red Bull


Foam Climb

The foam climb allows the surfer to get past a broken lip, closed-out section, or whitewater, connecting two open-face parts of the wave.



The floater is a classic surf trick and involves gliding horizontally over the wave's lip or foamy section about to break.

The surfer uses speed to go over the top of a crumbling area of the wave and not around it.


Closeout Re-entry

The closeout re-entry is the last chance a surfer has to perform a power turn on a closeout section of the wave.


Tail Slide

The tail slide is a contemporary maneuver that involves letting the tail of the surfboard slide down the wave face.

The key is getting the fins free of the wave by shifting the body's weight from the back foot to the front foot.

Tail Slide: the maneuver that gets the fins free of the wave in surfing | Photo: Red Bull



It's the ultimate longboard surfing move in which the surfer stands on the nose of the board while riding a wave.

Variations: Hang Five, Hang Ten


Switch Stance

The moment the surfer rides a wave in the opposite of his normal stance.



The 360 is a full rotation on the face of the wave.

It can be performed either by reversing or carving. In both cases, the surfer spins down the wave.

Variations: Reverse 360



The kickflip is a maneuver inspired by skateboarding, in which the surfer flips his surfboard 360 degrees along the axis that extends from the nose to the tail of the board.

It was first executed by Zoltan Torkos.


Advanced and Pro Surfing Tricks

Tube Ride

The ultimate surfing trick. The barrel ride is the mother of all maneuvers in surfing - the greatest moment a surfer will ever experience.

It consists of riding the hollow part of the wave, fully covered by the curl's lip. Perfect tubular waves are rare.

Tube Ride: the greatest and most advanced trick in surfing | Photo: Red Bull



In surfing, an air is an aerial maneuver in which the surfer gains speed, finds a ramp, launches off the lip, flies above the wave, and lands on the face of the wave or on the flats.

Variations: Air 360, Air Reverse, Backflip, 540, 720



The alley-opp is a backward aerial rotation inspired by skateboarding.



The superman is an aerial maneuver in which the surfer drives his surfboard down the line, goes up, kicks the board, projects it to the beach, grabs the rail, and reconnects before landing.

Superman: a maneuver that combines an air and a grab | Photo: Kirstin/ASP


Rodeo Flip

The rodeo flip is a combination of spinning and flipping inspired by snowboarding.


Kerrupt Flip

A kerrupt flip is a full rotation alley-oop combined with a mute and stalefish grab. It was first performed by Josh Kerr.


Flynnstone Flip

The flynnstone flip is a backflip grab maneuver. It was first executed by Flynn Novak.


Sushi Roll

The sushi roll is an acrobatic air trick that combines the superman and the rodeo flip. It was first completed by Julian Wilson.

Words by Luís MP | Founder of

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