Carving Radical Surf Turns


When I teach advanced surf lessons in Oceanside, students want to make radical turns. A radical turn is often considered driving up the face and then throwing the tail or releasing the fins over the top or lip of the wave.

This is the third post in a small series of making better turns. We started with stance and then carving and now refining it to how to initiate your turns. The headline space is too short for the real title which would be using the head, hands and shoulders.

If you watch surfers making radical turns on the outside, you might think they are doing the work with their feet to get the board up the face and snap it at the lip to go back down the face.  The real work is done smoothly in a radical turn with the head pointing first in the direction you want the body to go.

The trailing hand or back hand rotates the rear shoulder.  The rear shoulder and the front shoulder move as a unit with the hands wide apart as you make a turn up the face.  The rear hand is trailed in the water by most professionals as the body has coiled into a low center of gravity.

At the top of the wave, the head turns back towards the bottom and the trailing hand is now moving across the body toward the bottom of the wave. This is bringing the back and front shoulder around in the direction the head is pointing.  The torque moves the waist, legs, and feet to turn the board.

With the hands pointing down the wave, the body is coiled and the head looks forward to accelerate or bottom turn for another run up the face.  If you are going to accelerate, both hands can move forward as you rotate the board up and down the wave face for speed.

When it is time to go up the face, the trailing hand drops to the water as the body coils and the head looks at the spot in the lip you want to hit, and now the whole body is parallel to the inside rail.

The head, hands, and shoulders move smoothly to control the rails and direction of the board. Like a golfer, there is initiation, movement with a silent head, and smooth follow through.  The board will carve radically, but there is no throwing the body to make it happen.

See Joel Parkinson demonstrate in the Surfline.com video of first day at Santa Cruz.

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Categories : Advanced Surfing

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