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13 January, 2012

The Two Things

The longer I coach, the simpler I see this game in my head.

Nowadays I have this new theory that I think I’ll term the 80% rule:-

-80% of surfers
-80% of the time
-80% of their turns

If you think you could be in this 80% demographic (ie: it’s probably you unless you are a total beginner or an elite shredder), then there are only TWO main, incredibly simple, life altering things that you need to know to improve your turns. And here they are:-

1) What I will talk about today
2) What I will talk about next week.

So here’s today’s thing.

GET YOUR WEIGHT BACK !

When you want to turn the board well, you must get your weight over the fins.

Why?

Shifting weight back lifts the front half of your board out of the water – allowing the board to pivot freely, without drag and restriction. When weight is on your front foot, more board and rail is contacting the water, which equates to friction, drag, stiffness and the toxic art of bogging rail.

How?

-on a longboard, you need to walk back
-on a mid-range hybrid you need to step back
-on a shortboard you need to lean back

On all boards once you are back:-
-bend the back knee
-unweight the front foot
-lean backwards

Start to think in terms of weight splits (back/front):-

-50/50 produces a broad arc turn
-70/30 produces a medium arc
-90/10 produces a sharp, radical turn

This week when you turn, I want you to think like a one-footed surfer. Perched on one foot only through your turns. Think Karate Kid.

And experiment with your weight splits. Aim for 90/10. If you get 70/30 – well done.

When you get a chance, at the end of a turn, peek down and see where your back foot is. Is it above the fins? If you were ripping, it probably was. And if you were doing a lot of upper body effort while the board was pretty much straight-lining, then I’ll bet your back foot is forward of the fins.

Check. Adjust. Try to remember. It’s not easy and I’m not sure why. All of my students can lean back and apply back foot pressure on dry land, but very few can apply it well on a moving board on the wave. I really don’t know why it’s so hard. It just is.

A word of warning … if all you do is this fist step, it won’t work so well. But you’ll need to wait till next lesson for the second critical step. Combined together as one – you’ll have 80% of surfing down. It’s that simple.

Until next week….

Ross

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