Accelerating the Surf Board for Speed


When students take lessons in my Oceanside Surf Classes, one of the things they are furthest from learning is how to accelerate the surf board in a wave. When I started, I would ask EscapingLipadvanced surfers how to do it and they couldn’t explain. They said, I just do it.

I could not find a reasonable explanation in any of the more than 15 books I read. When I finally learned how to do it, I found it wasn’t that difficult to explain. Accelerating is sometimes called pumping, but there is a difference in pumping to stay in a foam wave and accelerating down the pocket in a real wave.

Simply stated, the surfer moves his front foot on the board up and down the pocket to get the nose pointed up and then let the nose drop down the wave. Those doing maneuvers or tricks like ripping the lip usually do three lifts and then perform. It is a little different on a short board than a long board because the short board is quicker and more responsive.

Sean Mattison in his skateboard and surfboard combination videos also shows how it is done. For Carver skateboards, he has a skateboard surfboard series where he demonstrates the motions of advanced surfing on a skateboard. He shows how it is a twisting body motion to move the nose of the board up and down the wave.

Why and when do you use it? Speed is important in surfing. First you have to escape the falling lip and get into the pocket. Talking about Jeffrey’s Bay, Kelly Slater says he likes to be ten feet in front of the falling lip. Secondly, you have to have speed to do maneuvers like ripping or cut backs. You use acceleration as soon as you have popped up and after a maneuver.

When do you pump? I call pumping unweighting the board. When caught in foam and you want to reach the next section you can pump up and down on the board to unweight and accelerate it. It is rising up and dropping down.

This is an advanced technique in the progress of learning and should be practiced after you have learned to drive in the pocket.


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