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Staying out of the way during surfing

Usually for a newbie surfer, the first 1 to 3 years is just trying to learn the basics and stay out of the way of other surfers.  But how do you know where to be or which way to go if you don't understand the ocean ?  


If a surfer is coming at you, it might be better to go to his/her PAST not to his/her FUTURE.  In other words, go to where they're been not to where they're going.   ( and if you going to ride a shortboard, be able to duck dive properly. If you can't duck dive, YOU shouldn't be riding a shortboard )


It is the person on the shoulder responsibility to move out of the way of the rider already on the wave or inside of you.  Don't just sit there......... MOVE !!   


Making a rider change his path to avoid hitting you is wrong.  


Sometimes an advanced surfer can make it around one person in the way.  But getting around two or three people in a small area is difficult.  Try not to bunch up.  


Here I am about to come off a bottom turn and driving up the face.  The person in front just sat up on his board, he didn't paddle forward. 


Forcing me to straighten out to avoid getting hit by his the tail of his board as his board flattens out on the back side of the wave.  


Newbies and Beginners need to learn about the ocean and waves, they need to learn how surfers trim across the waves face and not only go straight in to the beach.  If not, how can you stay out of the way if you don't know which way is what ?  


If your surf instructor tells you "just paddle for the wave, the good surfer will go around you",  then it's time to find a new surf instructor. 


If you do get in someones way, make sure to say "Sorry" and learn better where to be and what to do if the situation happens again.  ( and if you do cause a collision , offer to pay for any damages )


please check out to see more.









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How to deal with Drop Ins

As surfing is getting more and more popular, the surf spots are getting more crowded.  Drop Ins , when surfer gets on the wave infront of another surfer who has already caught the wave, are bound to happen.  

The rider with the Black jersey ( my friend Tracy ) is already on the wave going Right.

The rider in the Red jersey is Dropping In going Left.   A collision is about to happen.


From a different camera angle, you can see how close the boards come together.  Tracy reaches out to grab the yellow board.


I don't what exactly happened, but I think the nose of the board pearled and spun and Tracy kept the rotating the board over. 


Luckily, the boards did not hit and nobody got hurt.  


Points to note:

1) In the 1st photo you can see the Red jersey rider's legs are spread out wide, dug into the water.

2) She is not paddling, but doing a death grab to the rails.

3) She is not looking around, but just focused directly in front of herself.


For beginners,  

1) Take a lesson from instructor who can actually surf 

2) Learn the wave and the motion of the ocean

3) Learn and look for who has priority on a wave.

4) Learn how to paddle correctly to get on a wave AND how to control your board to STOP when needed.

5)  If you do Drop In,  apologize immediately and offer to pay for any damages you may have caused. 


For Intermediates,

1)  Drop Ins WELL happen.

2)  Scan the break and looks for the beginner/Newbies to watch out for.

3)  Notice what side the Leash cord is on.  If it on their right foot, the usually go to the Right.  Left foot, they usually go Left, so make sure you are not going towards them. 

4)  Spot possible Drop Ins before you catch the wave.  And be ready to pull off the wave.  


Drop Ins are dangerous and sometimes costly.  But inevitable, they are bound to happen.  Have fun surfing but be safe and considerate of others.   



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Same but Different

Look closely at the next two photos.  Can you see the differences ?


Surfers going Frontside going Left walking to the nose.


Surfer going Backside going Left walking to the nose.


Two surfers, same day, same wave, both walking to the nose.  Can you spot the differences in technique ?


1) Bodyline broken.  Body hinged at the waist causing the head to go over the rail.

2) Eyes looking down at the feet.

3) Back foot pointed at the rail blocks the front foot from crossing over cleanly.

4) Knee bumps

5) Front arm raises up to try to un-weight the body, which causes the opposite shoulder to drop down.

6) Her steps are going straight down the stringer.  


1) Bodyline strong from head to tow.  Smooth arc.

2) Eyes looking at how the wave is developing in front of the board.

3) Back foot pointed to the rail and front foot point to the nose allows for easy un-obstructed steps.

4) Arms are pushing down to hold the board into the wave.

5) Her steps are to the left of the stringer to "load" up the inside rail.

( also notice the "lock" of the waves lip curling over the tail )


Two surfers, two different techniques.  Which one of the two does your noseriding resemble ?  


Please check out to see more surfers on the same wave on the same day ( daily ) so you can make your own comparisons.  



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Back hand across the chest for better front side and backside turns.

To turn better backside and frontside, make sure the back hand comes across the chest. 

The back hand coming across the chest twists the torso ( which in then turns the board )


The front hand is the steering, the back hand is the drive.  The opening of the chest by the front hand allows the back hand to drive thru.


Even more important backside, the back hand coming across the chest primes the body and board to go up the face of the wave.  


That movement of the back hand coming across the chest, twists the body up towards the wave.


That is so you can un-twist like a coiled up spring.    


Frontside or Backside, watch surfers who throw big spray on their cutbacks,  notice that their back hand comes across their chest.  


If your back hand is down at the side, holding a invisible wall, used mainly for balance than instead of drive, you should try to adjust your technique.  Having your backhand come across your chest is a little thing but makes a big difference.


Please check out  to see more.

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Backside surfing problems.

Watch out for these little things that make turning Backside harder to do.  

#1  Leading with the front elbow instead of the hand.  Also be careful of the back hand coming up above the head. ( that means the body is leaning back not twisting towards the wave )



#2  The "X-Factor" where both knees touch.  Means you are trying to steer the board from the middle of the board. 

( that again leads to leaning and the back arm comes up )


#3  Toes ( both feet ) coming up off the deck.  It's okay for the front foot toes pointed at 1-2 o'clock to come up but not the back.   Also the front hand locked to the hip doesn't allow the waist to twist and blocks the head from turning past the shoulder. 


#4  Forward Triangle - leaning on the front leading with the hip.   Becareful that your front toes are not pointed to the rail  ( like 3 o'clock or more in the photo ).  The front leg is twisted inwards while you should be twisting outwards.  


#5  Steering with your hand.   You steer a surfboard with your feet. Yes, you point in the direction you want to go, but the arm should be out and away from the body to open the chest.  ( Also holding on to an invisible wall makes your body stiff. )



                                                                         ( Matsunosuke Kugenuma photo )

Front arm should be out and away from the body, palm up - knuckles down.  ( notice the shoulder rotating back to clear a lot of space for the head to move )

Back arm should be coming across the chest to twist the waist ( which then twists the board in the same direction ) 


Arms NOT holding an invisible wall.  Strong bodyline with proper foot positioning. Chest and waist twisting to the wave.


One advice I can give you to turn backside better is: "Take a photo of the wave as if there's a CAMERA on your chest "


please check  to see more backside turning  


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It's HIP to turn backside

Turning back side, some surfers lead with their hip.  Sometimes its for STYLE, sometimes its for PERFORMANCE, sometimes its a bad habit.


Here she leading with the HIP to lean the board into the wave.


Before the wave closes out, she widens her stance and angles her board the opposite way.  Head still centered over the deck.  


Here she turning from the middle of her board with a very narrow stance.  ( notice her front foot is rolling on its side )


She notices the wave closing out and straightens her back ( but does not step back )


Wave gets too step and she is not far enough back on the board.  She arches back but it's too late. ( body line does not match the deck and her head gets behind her feet )


His HIP is sticking way out.  That's to give that extra last bit of power into the turn. Shoulders in-line with the strong bodyline.


Watch out for this:  When both hands goes back, the HIP goes forward.    


Again another powerful snap, with the HIP really pushing thru to the back foot.  ( notice the shoulders in-line with the powerful bodyline )


Here her shoulders are going beyond line as she's past the apex of the turn.  Strong body line from head to feet thru the board.  


There's Stylish hip turns, Peformance hip turns and Bad habits that makes turning you board more difficult.  Which ones are you doing ?  


Please check out to see more 



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Round House to Close-out hit Sequence

Let's look at this surfer's Round house cutback to Close-out hit.

1) You can see the trail left over from her Down Up and Around

2) Arms/Hands are rotating counter-clockwise

3) Eyes look through the turn

4) Body compresses down to lean into the turn

5) Front hand leads the body and gauges the lean angle. ( she is NOT holding a invisible wall )


This hand and lean is different than the photo above


She tries to brace/lean on that hand on a invisible wall.  Body line breaks, not matching the lean of the board. Only the top torso leans over why the lower legs stay stiff and straight.  Head goes way past the rail.  


1) front hand fully opens to clear room for the chest and shoulders

2) back hand come across the chest

3) back legs starts to straighten out  and pushing on heels ( was bent in the 1st photo )


1) After the 1st carve, she carves again and rolls back onto the inside rail ( can you see the right fin ? ) 

2) Front hand swings clockwise forward

3) She sees the oncoming closeout 


1) she hits infront of the breaking lip. This is to allow the waves energy to re-direct her back down. 

2) hands are in a neutral point to adjust the amount of leverage

3) board is on the "FLAT" bottom, NOT on rail.  To give the most amount of float


1) Snaps off the closeout section

2) front hand rips down to bring the nose back down

3) She keeps the board on the flat bottom to avoid catching a rail on landing 


Speed , Power, Flow and mixture of maneuvers.  


please check out to see more.  Happy New year !

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Have Merry Christmas and a Safe New Year surfing.

As 2016 comes to a close, I wish everyone a Safe surfing New Year.  


Remember these Golden Rules for safe surfing:


Rule #1    Cover your head when you come up from the water.

Always cover your face and top of your head with one hand. A lot of times the board is right above you. 


Rule #2   No matter how safe you try to be, there are always others that are not.  

Be Pro-active not just Re-active to dangers in the ocean.  ( my friend Tracy L. defending off a drop in )


Rule #3   Do not shoot out your board.

Learn how to kickout or pull out safely with your board. If you jump off your 9 foot board, it can hit others in 18 foot radius ( or more ).   If you can't pull out or hold onto your board because the waves are too big for you, then it's better to surf a different break.  


Rule #4   Do not surf alone.

Just in case you hurt an ankle, get a bump on your head, lose a contact.  Always surf with a partner so he/she can help you or get help.  


Rule #5    Have fun and Smile

Don't be to serious.  Have fun,  Share waves.   Give Aloha get Aloha.  


Please check out  to see more ( and I'll hope to see you in the surf in 2017 )







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Surfing video analysis

I have people send me their videos so I can analyze and see how they can correct their body, hand and feet movements. But what I do is take frame grabs to show them a split second in time.  Starboard is a great website because he has a lot of sequence shot photos to dissect.   

Coming off the bottom, she momentarily stalls the board to the let the wave steepen up in front of her.

Hands are in the "Neutral" position.


Once the waves jacks up, she times the pump right under the breaking lip.  Arms/body twist clockwise to the right. 

( you might be able see the right fin close to the water's surface since she's really on edge )


So much speed getting out onto the shoulder, she decides to carve back.  Front hand down, back hand up.

Back of the hand coming across the chest to rotate the body counter clockwise.  1st carve.

( also notice the front foot on it's side to "give" power to the back foot )




2nd carve of the Round House cutback or full wrapping cutback.  Back hand stuck into the wave to create a pivot point.  ( Notice the spray still cascading down from her outside rail when she went down, up and around )


Coming out of the white water rebound she pumps again to catch up to the oncoming section. 

Arms/body twist into the wave.  Water shearing off the outside rail.  

( notice the wave steepens up infront or maybe it's a closeout section )


This time instead of a carve, she does a "Snap".  Body doesn't twist but pushes all the momentum into a tight corner right on the tail of the board. Notice her back leg is fully straight.  Eyes not looking back like in the carve, but right into the lip, where she is concentrating all the energy to.  






She did two different styles of cutbacks on one wave.  Did you see the subtle hand and foot movements ? Maybe it would have been hard to see just watching a video.  


If you got a GoPro video of yourself, slow it down and get some frame grabs.  See if you need to place your hand, foot, eyes in a better place to let your perform better.  If not send them to me, I'll take a look.  


Please check out to see more great sequence shots.  






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Go back before going front

If you want to go to the nose, go to the tail first.

If you want to go faster, slow down first.


She is putting so much pressure on the BACK foot that the FRONT foot comes up.  She is STALLING the board to let the wave steepen up. 


Then at the right time, she lets the nose go back DOWN and walks forward.  You can see the tail off the board locked down by the wave. 


A Bottom Turn is a stall to.  Too much and you catch a rail/edge.  Too little and the wave swallows you up.  Learn how much to push and WHEN to release.  


Stalling doesn't mean you're going to the nose after.  Sometimes it's to stay in the "pocket" of the wave.  The part right in front of the breaking lip has the most usable power.  


She stalls ( brings up the nose ) to let the lip break over the tail.


After she feels the "Lock", then she walks forward.  


Surfing has a lot of opposites.  Go Right to go Left.  Go more Down to go further Up.   and go Back before you go Front.  Maybe if you want to speed up, you might want to think about slowing down ?


Please check out to see more.   Aloha



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