No matter your level of surfing, having an arsenal of tricks at your disposal will allow you to adapt more readily in any given situation.
The floater is an iconic surfing move that involves gliding horizontally over the lip or foamy section of a wave before it breaks. When surfing long peeling waves, this trick should become second nature.
Pumping is a surfing technique which involves moving up and down a wave face in order to gain speed, following physical principles to do so. Pumping can help improve performance in various circumstances.
Surfers need speed in order to move forward; to do this they must step back up onto the face of a wave to build potential energy, then immediately slide down again in order to convert this into kinetic energy – this process, known as pumping, requires an in-depth knowledge of physics as it’s one of the key skills a surfer must master.
Surfers utilize more than pumping to gain speed when riding; other techniques used by surfers to do this include drop ins, snaking turns and bottom turns.
Surfers need to use proper techniques and stance when performing each trick for an optimal pumping ride experience. For instance, they should avoid wiggling their arms in the water as they pump as this would reduce effectiveness of movement and may cause them to miss their rail or even stall while pumping.
Surfers must never stand up on a wave before it breaks, as this could result in them colliding with another surfer and falling off their board – known as a wipeout ride.
Pumping can be done on waves of any size, but is particularly useful when riding smaller waves where velocities may be much higher than on larger waves. Furthermore, this technique enables surfers to catch waves with narrower peel angles.
Carving is an effective maneuver used by surfers to quickly alter the direction of their boards, making it one of the key elements of power surfing and one of its hallmark tricks.
Swimming through fast-breaking waves with wide open sections is the ideal way to slow down and gain control. Swimming backwards on slower breaking waves is also a great way to gain speed control.
To carve, shift your weight from your front foot to the back foot by leaning forward and pressing with your toes or leaning backward and pressuring with heels.
Regular-footed surfers will use pressure from their toes, while goofy-footed surfers will utilize heel pressure. Both movements will move their board toward the toe-side rail; carving requires more force.
Trimming requires less weight shifts and dramatic movements of your board than carving, and can provide quick adjustments in its direction.
Trimming on a longboard involves shifting weight from your toes to heels in order to turn. In order to create left or right turns, shift your weight slightly more left or right respectively.
Once your longboard is on, shift your weight back and forth between these two areas to take successive turns on it. Also note that there are two distinct kinds of turns: frontside turn and backside turn.
Carving is an advanced technique for turning on your longboard and can be an immensely powerful technique. To gain confidence and develop control, try practicing carving on white water for maximum effect; faster and smoother carving will lead to better comfort when applied in real situations.
A snap is a quick turn off the top of a wave that helps surfers maintain speed and control while riding waves, one of the most vital maneuvers for surfers to learn – as well as one of the more fun maneuvers that add style to surfing!
The frontside snap is an invaluable maneuver for both beginner and experienced surfers alike, offering quick directional changes ideal for setting up moves and hitting big combos.
To perform the frontside snap, a surfer starts with a bottom turn at 30-50 degrees and quickly rotates their hips into it. They then push their back leg out and snap it hard in order to release buckets of water off of their board.
This trick is one of the most useful and popular techniques in critical wave sections such as airs or tubes, due to its speed, power, and versatility in execution on any wave regardless of condition or circumstance.
Surfers need a top turn in their arsenal. In order to master it successfully, practice is key in developing muscle memory for this maneuver and begin small with low angles when starting off your bottom turn. As your skills improve over time, progress into longer turns with higher angles at lower turns as part of improving them.
As well as practicing your position on the wave, positioning is also of critical importance when snapping. Being properly situated will ensure a successful result!
As you approach the lip of a wave, be sure to position yourself near its peak so you can quickly slip through its pocket without getting left behind by its breaking curl and ride down it quickly and with control.
Re-entering is one of the most thrilling moves you can try in surfing, and is often underestimated as an action that requires both speed and skill. Once mastered, however, this technique will bring your surfing to new levels!
This maneuver involves hitting the lip (the top portion of a wave) and then launching back down with flair. While learning this move may initially prove challenging, with practice you will quickly master its techniques.
To perform a re-entry successfully, start by selecting an area of the wave with an unforgiving slope where you can hit its lip directly and thus build up speed for this maneuver. This will ensure that you generate sufficient power during this operation.
Once you’ve identified an appropriate section, it’s time to pump hard. With some powerful pumps at your disposal, speed can quickly build until you can execute this maneuver successfully.
Timing is also key when performing deep bottom turns; ensure that you give yourself enough time for this maneuver before the wave breaks.
After hitting the break, your board will initially travel in an almost straight path before it begins veering off in all directions, like an off-kilter sprinkler head. Your goal should be to hit the lip of a breaking wave with just enough time left in its progression for you to initiate a directional change and ride it down to flat water again.
When performing this maneuver, keep your body flexed throughout. This will allow your body to absorb any impact when landing and allow you to transition seamlessly onto the top of the wave without being thrown off balance. Also be sure to place weight on your tail pad upon landing to prevent sinking your nose into the water.
Aerials are some of the toughest tricks in surfing. In order to successfully execute one, one requires excellent body coordination, speed, and timing skills.
An adept Superman air requires building speed quickly and strategically placing one’s feet as one launches off of the wave. South African surfer Jordy Smith, in particular, has proven adept at performing Superman airs in waves as small as three to four-foot.
Kolohe Andino’s alley oop is one of the top examples ever. An alley oop involves performing an inverted spin above the lip of a wave that requires unnatural spinning motion to complete successfully. Kolohe’s Alley Oops have made waves globally!
To master an air, it is necessary to learn proper breathing technique. Neck and shoulder tension associated with an upright forward posture makes breathing difficult; diaphragmatic breathing may be an effective solution to address this challenge.
Hold your breath for several seconds when inhaling to decrease how much oxygen your body requires and increase endurance while riding a wave.
Oxygen can also help strengthen your immune system and make you less likely to contract respiratory illnesses like pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Not only can a sustained and controlled intake of oxygen boost your surfing performance, it will also enhance your health and increase life expectancy. A body that’s properly oxygenated uses less energy during moderate-vigorous intensity aerobic activity sessions and has less of a risk for cardiovascular events like a heart attack or stroke.