Surfing Trick Guide: 11 Tricks Every Surfer Must Know
Did you know that the ancient Polynesians referred to surfing as "He'enalu," meaning the art of wave-sliding? Surfing is the art of dancing between the sea and the surfer.
No one starts a surfing journey like a pro; it is not just about maneuvering over the white water or speeding down the wave into a straight line. Surfing requires a surfer to read the waves and comprehend when to turn, snap, and pull.
If you are a beginner willing to learn just a bottom turn or an expert thinking of doing longboard tango like Joel Tudor, this comprehensive guide is for you.
This article will explain all the surfing tricks you need to know to become a surfing expert.
Complete List of Surfing Tricks
Surfing is an action sport with a variety of tricks and maneuvers. We have discussed a complete list of surfer tricks below:
1. Bottom Turn
The basics of the surfing tricks and manoeuvers lie in the correct execution of the Bottom Turn. When it comes to trying various surfing moves, every trick begins with it, making it a special one.
By doing a timely and efficient bottom turn, you can transmit your gained power from the wave to your next move.
For a perfect bottom turn, you must compress and move the hips down along the knees and lean forward. This positioning helps utilize the upper body while evenly distributing the weight, resulting in a correct bottom turn.
Keep your eyes on the target and redirect the board accordingly by applying pressure on your toes and heels.
2. The Floater
The next pick is the floater trick, which is easy to perform, and you can master it after a few tries - making it a popular pick among young surfers and even the expert ones.
In this trick, the surfer rides over the lip before breaking or over the whitewater of a crumbling wave. Since the floater does not require you to go around the breaking section, it allows you to maintain speed.
When the floater is done correctly over the breaking wave, it allows speed gain and surf over the top. Once you see that the wave is finished and there is a breaking section, try to hit the top to ensure you land much faster.
Cutback is considered the crucial surfing trick behind a bottom turn as it allows surfers to move toward the wave power source and then use the whitewater to redirect back.
This surfing trick helps maintain a good flow and ensures the surfer doesn’t surf too far out on the shoulder, losing all the wave power.
Typically, cutback is the second trick surfers learn after the bottom turn. With the effective cutback and bottom turn implementation, you can enjoy surfing a wave to the fullest.
4. Re-Entry or Snap
For any surfer, backside and frontside snaps are the crucial ones. To begin, you take a deep turn at the bottom of the wave and aim for its most vertical part. When you reach the lip, rotate your hips toward the wave trough.
The hip rotation will define how crucial your snap is. Start rotating early, and you turn below the lip. Wait a bit more, and you will spin as your fins pop out of the wave. Snaps are all about playing with the timing; the better your timings, the better your snap will be.
5. Tail Slide
An extension of the regular snap is called a Tail Slide. The trick of this technique is the same as mentioned above; however, you need to add more power in body and board rotation so that the tail slides down and faces the wave - typically, a whole 180-degree rotation.
In the tail slide, the surfer goes to the bottom and takes a quick bottom turn. Afterward, a surfer takes a 180-degree turn with all the power, rotates their body, and engages the fins.
Ideally, tail slides work best in small-to-medium-sized waves on the crumbling section or pocket tops. After the last turn, the surfer must look at the target they want to reach to ensure they go to that spot.
6. Foam Climb
The foam climber is similar to the floater - but not as difficult. It is a diagonal or vertical floater; only a surfer climbs to the foam instead of gliding over it.
Moreover, the surfer does this by pulling a powerful bottom turn in the whitewater direction and bringing the nose, shoulders, and arms up to lift the weight off the board.
Typically, surfers perform the foam climb when they find themselves in the foam and want to return to the pocket.
7. Switch Stance
When a surfer goes along the long, speedy wave and pulls against the normal stance, this surfer trick is known as Switch Stance. Surfer imposes a lot of power to ensure a correct movement in the opposing direction.
The noseriding is an intermediate surfing trick. In this trick, you have to ride on the nose of the board and move along the long wave. This move is about riding along the wave while maintaining momentum and speed.
9. Three Sixty
As the name suggests, in 360, a surfer will complete a single rotation, either counter-clockwise or clockwise, depending on the wave direction and surfer’s stance.
It must be noted that the more speed you have, the easier it will be to take the perfect 360 turn. Remember the key rules during this turn for generating speed during surfing.
Mostly, the 360s are done on the lips, but sometimes surfers also prefer to lift the nose and slide the tail to 180 degrees while on the wave face, ride in the reverse direction, and then spin back to complete the move.
10. Tube Ride or Barrel
The most sought-after surfer trick is the Tube Ride or the Barrel. Riding the tube or getting barrelled means curling lip waves that wrap you around it as it breaks.
Subsequently, a correct deep tube will give an incredible water-spinning view to form the wave face and lip curling, creating a picture frame. In this trick, the surfer’s feet will be trembling in the intensified suction motion generated by the whitewater behind the surfer.
11. Aerial or Air
Another popular surfing trick used by expert surfers is Aerial or Air. This trick is inspired by skating or snowboarding. For many surfers, it is their favorite maneuver as they can enjoy moves in the air.
The most important thing in this surfing trick is the projection and landing. The projection is the blend of the speed of targeting the lip, disregarding gravity laws and how we move through the waves.
To do this, the surfers perform a shallow bottom turn-up to the lip to maximize the speed and momentum. After that, a surfer hits the lip and bends the knees, allowing the board to follow suit and release from the water.
During this maneuver, the surfer also shifts weight toward the beach to ensure continuous movement in the same direction. Typically, this move is tried by the surfers in the shoulder-to-head-high waves because they offer a ramp-like configuration.
There is a diverse air movement that surfers make. Following is a list of some of them:
Jordy Smith, a South African surfer, is an expert in this move. This classical movement requires a surfer to gain speed and power while coming from the wave. When the surfer reaches the desired position, he kicks the board from his legs, grabs it with his hands, and places it beneath him. This move can be performed in waves of 3-4 feet in height.
The best way to do Alley Oop is to keep your head high a little, and when the wind goes overhead and onshore, it blows from behind the wave onto the beach. Moreover, how you hit the wind will help keep the board connected to your feet, making the performance of the trick a lot easier.
This trick is best performed at the end of the wave or the beginning. It must be in a position pushing you in the correct direction that promotes the trick.
Josh Kerr introduced this surfer trick, so it was named Kerrupt Flip. In this trick, the surfer must pull away a complete rotation of Alley Oop while doing a stalefish fish grab behind their back foot and mut or slob in front of them.
Technically, the Flynnstone flip is a vertical rotation and combines Alley Oop and stalefish grab. To complete this maneuver, the surfer first analyzes all the factors like speed, timing, and location to ensure you pull off a perfect Flynnstone flip.
This surfer trick was first witnessed in 2007 by Australian expert surfer Julian Wilson. Simply put, this surfer trick combines Superman and Rodeo Flip. However, the Superman trick is a legs-free grab.
The major technique to perform this is to pull your feet and knees up as you approach the top of your jump while throwing your head past your back shoulder. You have to pull your body backward to take a roll.
To perform this surfer trick perfectly, a surfer must have a good Alley Oop. With a high-speed wave and after a perfect Alley Oop, a surfer needs to take the front foot out, and automatically, there will be an ideal kickflip.
Remember, to get a strong Kickflip, you must have a strong Alley.
The famous Kelly Slater introduced this surfer trick. The trick is similar to the Aerial Roll Spin. For this trick, the surfer has to come off the bottom with a lot of speed and come up with a powerful bottom turn.
Once the surfer is in the correct position, hold the board and take a rotation. When the timing and speed are ideal, the rotation for the Rodeo flip comes naturally.
If you want to be on the list of expert surfers, you must practice regularly and master these tricks. The only way to understand these tricks better is to try them and figure out your technique.
However, the most important thing is to get started and keep going. Your first try will not be perfect, but your 50th try will definitely be worth mentioning.
Written by James Davis
I'm a true California local, and I've spent my life riding the waves along our stunning coastline. Surfing has always been my greatest love, and in my writing, I try to capture its genuine essence. My words aim to transport you into the heart of the surf culture, where the ocean and surfers come together in perfect harmony.
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