When you feel confident catching waves and popping to your feet then you can start to think about how to turn a surfboard on whitewater waves. You should be consistently getting rides of 5 seconds or more before you consider trying this however. Also the surfboard that you should be trying your first basic turns on is a big buoyant softboard or a foam covered hard surfboard.
Beginner surfboards don’t turn on a sixpence like a some of the surfboards that you will see other more experienced surfers using so don’t expect to be performing radical tight arc turns. Instead, you should expect a beginner surfboard to respond slowly and you can use that extra time to really concentrate on your technique as well as being precise with your movements.
How to Turn a Surfboard on Whitewater Waves
Turning will be a mixture of some of the skills that you already have with a couple of new techniques. With surfing, as with a lot of sports, there is a saying – ‘where the head goes the body follows’. [themedy_columns structure=”50|50″][themedy_col position=”a”]
This applies to all surfers from beginners to pros. At it’s most simplistic it means that wherever you look and point your arms is where you will end up.
So don’t look straight down!
Instead try to focus on the 3-5m arc of flat water in front of your surfboard.
When you are riding whitewater waves you will usually have your weight evenly distributed across both feet. To start the turn bend your knees and lean back slightly to put some of your weight over your back leg. Just by getting your head in line (i.e vertically above) with you back foot you will really begin to dig the fins into the water and engage the rails of the surfboard.
At the same time you will want to look and point in the direction that you would like to go. At first keep the movement small; you really don’t need to have full body rotation to set the surfboard on a different track.
When you want to stop the turn then just rotate your shoulders back to their normal surfing position, keep your arms pointing in the direction of the surfboard and bring your weight evenly across both of your feet again.
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When you are surfing whitewater waves you don’t want to turn any more that 45º to the wave that you are surfing as this will make you very unstable.
If you need to straighten up then just do the same leaning action but look and point in the opposite direction.[/themedy_col][themedy_col position=”b”]
Practise going from one side to the other until you are comfortable with this new skill and can perform it consistently. See what happens when you gently lean into the turn as well. You should find that the turn is a lot sharper but don’t be surprised if you fall off a few times at first.
Remember to protect your head when you wipe-out.