If there is one tip that can apply to all levels of surfer, whether they’ve just had their first lesson or they’re an elite surfer it’s to maintain a low centre of gravity in the initial and recovery phase of a manoeuvre. This one simple tip is quite often the difference between success and failure when you are trying to complete a new surfing skill.
I’ve shot some footage of some manoeuvres that illustrate this which can be viewed below.
[themedy_media type=”vimeo” url=”www.vimeo.com/62518549″]
In the backhand cutback (20 – 40 seconds on the video) you can see that this move can be broken down into three relatively distinct phases – 1. Set up phase 2. Driving phase and 3. the Recovery phase.
Set Up Phase
As you can see the surfer has really compressed his body in order to keep his weight over the surfboard to maintain his balance. His knees are bent at right angles and his chest is close to his knees. Try to imagine his body is a coil that has been loaded and ready to spring.
In the final shot the surfer is again crouching in order to keep his balance as he rebounds out of the whitewater. If you can keep a low centre of gravity in the final phase of any manoeuvre then you greatly increase your chances of completing it successfully and carrying your speed into your next turn. This applies to forehand and backhand turns equally.
And if you don’t crouch…
…this is what happens! If you land a turn with straight legs you fall off.
Next time you go surfing really think about how you finish your turns. Just remember to crouch – keep your knees bent at right angles and chest close to your knees – at the end of your turn and you might be surprised and what you can achieve.
It’s sometimes hard to remember what you need to do in the surf so you could even write keywords like ‘crouch’, ‘finish’ or ‘low’ in pencil on your surfboard to jolt your memory.
If you think that this only applies to the pros and rippers then check out this pic. This guy had been only surfing for about 45 minutes when this photo was taken.
He looks solid on his feet and well balanced doesn’t he? Look at those knees.