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Surfing Line UP

Speed, Power, Flow. That is what all good surfers are judged upon.  ( wether they are in a contest or not )


So how do we know if a surfer is good or not by just one photo ?   Look at the LINES he draws on the face of the wave.  


If you just look at the Spray, you probably say the surfer looks powerful.  But what about Speed and Flow ?


Go back and look at the trail line left by the board.  See the moment of transition from inside rail rolling to outside rail marked by the yellow X.  ( also notice the spray from the bottom turn still falling even as he's rippng the top of the lip. )


It doesn't even have to be on a big powerful wave, but more so on small gutless waves, you need to really choose the correct lines and adjust your angles to keep up your speed and flow.  

( what is not clear in this photo is how the surfer comes off rail to flat bottom of the board to get that last little snap )


It doesn't even have to be on a "scoring" maneuver.  Flow comes from being a step ahead of what's happening.  

( notice the surfer priming his front arm up to bring up the nose and to shift weight to the tail, opening the chest to the wave ) 


Then he brings the arm down and across, closing the chest and rotating away from the wave and the closeout.  

( The X transition point is blocked by the rider's body ) 


On a longboard you can really see the long flowing lines.  


Notice the trail line flowing up the face from where it began.


Okay so you got how a surfer's line shows the transition from inside rail to outside rail.  What is happening here ?




Got it ?





with a transition from rail to rail in the middle.  


Surfboards don't "turn" like a car.  They roll from side to side more like a motorcycle does.  


Now to make matters worse.  What can you see happening here ?  

The wave doubling up and dredging forward sort of distorts the line, but you can see where the surfer came from and going to.  


Ahhh much easier to understand here.  Nice flowing lines, big angles, big spray,  Speed Power and Flow.  


Maybe you are not ready to charge big waves yet, but more so in crowded little waves, you need to choose your lines and execute you rail to rail changes even more importantly.  


Are you on the right line for your surfing ? 


Please check out Philippine surf report and Cijin surf club on FB and to see more.  





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You surf like a GIRL !!

Have you every heard someone say " You surf like a GIRL !"   


Backside cutback.  Some guy on the shoulder is about to get sprayed.  


Surfer girl using her lower center of gravity and hips to push the tail thru the lip.  


Same girl, different wave, same technique, same outcome.  Notice the trail left on the wave's face and how she times and positions her cutback.  


Back hand acting as a pivot point.  Turning on the thin lip between the curl and shoulder.


In this photo you can see how much on the tail she is and how much on rail she is. 

( Can you see the two front thruster fins ? )


They say "girls are more flexible than guys".  Here this surfer girl is putting that superior flexiblity to good use.  


And sometimes they can show their aggression just as much.  Waaa paaa !!


The wave ( or surfboard ) doesn't care who is riding it ( or airing over it ) ,  girl or guy.  


So if someone says to you, "Hey man, you surf like a GIRL !"   


Maybe you should take it as a compliment.  


Please check out Philippine Surf Report on FB to see more.  





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Get an edge in your surfing .......... or not.

Do you want to improve your surfing technique ?   Do you need an edge up to start moving forward ?


Maybe NOT. 


Turning from the middle causes you to catch an edge.

Not putting enough pressure on the inside rail causes you to catch an edge.

Looking down at your feet or board causes you to catch an edge.  


Here the rider catches the front edge of the nose, which stops her momentum and probably flip her over.  Notice the right rail is catching when the wave is breaking left.  Going the wrong way against the power of the wave causes you to catch an edge.  


Sometimes sponge / soft boards can catch an edge if you push too hard or don't allow the board to flex and spring back.  Most likely here he just didn't put enough pressure on the inside rail or stepped forward too early to try to gain speed. ( notice how low the nose is to the waterline )


Catching an edge will throw you off your board.  Trying to turn too early or too hard, is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.  You have to listen to the wave and board.  


This is another wave, but the same outcome.  But this time she will shoot out her board straight into the other rider's butt or head.  


You turn a board from the tail ( where the fin(s) are ) 

You roll the board from inside rail to outside rail to flow thru that turn.  

( notice how the surfer is up on his toes to pressure the inside rail. He is using some body english to keep his head over the center of the deck, while letting his knees bend forward. 


Inside rail then roll back onto the outside rail.  

Notice in both turns how far the nose is up out of the water.

BUT also notice how he uses the whitewater each time to assist him to go the other way. 


The more you try to do things to not fall off or not catch an edge,  the more you probably will fall off or catch an edge.  You need to just SURF.  You need to learn the wave.  You need to ride the board correctly.  


So how to we get an edge up on your surfing technique ?   Well one thing is to keep coming back every week for more tips and tricks to improve your surfing.  I appreciate it.  


Please check out Philippine surf report on FB  and to see more.  




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In with the GOOD #3 pumping and closeout sections

So you keep getting stuck in the whitewater/soup.  You desperately want your board to go faster.  What should you do ? 


Here the surfer is in TRIM.  Board is more on the flat botttom ( not fully on rail yet )

Her back Right arm ( now in the front ) is loading up to swing back and forth. 

Back hand is the DRIVE  Front hand is the the STEER.


She comes up on a soft section and needs to hop, tap, pump to help the board displace water in front of it.  It may seems she only bends down, but she also allows the board to rise up to her.   Soft knees.  


She hits the collapsing lip with speed.  She doesn't want to turn but project off of it forward.  Hands go up to un-weight the body.  Knees comes up to the chest to absorb the curling lip and act as shock asorbers. 


Landing out in the flats, she already is looking down the line.  Look how her body line matches the angle of the board.  


She gets around the curl and rides high on her inside right rail.  ( notice you can see the Left fin ) 


She analyzes the situation and pumps down to get low and to draw back closer to the curl.  Her board runs out straight off the rail.   ( again the Back arm loads up in the front )


Then at the right moment the back arms swings back as the back foot pressure the tail and inside rail.  This causes the nose to rotate clockwise into the wave.  


Up, Down, Around.  Small wave that was breaking quick, but she still managed to get her board up on top.  

She sits down to lower her gravity, but uses her core muscles to throw the upper body over the board.  


Lands in the flats riding out on the flat bottom.  


And finishes cleanly by kicking out under control.  ( not shooting out the board or falling off the back )


Your current board is plenty fast enough.  You just need to learn how to ride it to it's maximum potential.   Sometimes to go faster you actually need to slow down.  You need to be thinking steps ahead and be proactive not reactive.  ( and pumping does not mean bouncing up and down on your board ) Where you are on the wave usually means more than the board you are on. 


Please check out to see more.  




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In with the GOOD #2 - Noseriding

What do most people who own a longboard want to do ?  Answer:  Noseride


But how do you get to the front of the board without the nose pearling ?   Get a bigger fin ?  Order a board with more nose concave ?    Answer:  the Lock


How do these riders get so beautiful long noserides ?  Well don't look at his feet or the nose of the board.  You need to look at the opposite end.  


Just "perched" on the tip, ten toes over.  It almost defies the law of gravity/physics.  But actually it IS Physics.  It is the use of counter-weighting.  


The riders weight is on the nose and the wave energy and pressure is pushing down on the tail.  Just like two kids on a See-Saw.  If one kids gets off the other one goes down.  


Here is a great example of the lock down of the tail.  See the water fully engulfing the back half of the surfboard.  That is what is holding the rider up,  NOT a big fin.  ( and for some smaller / lighter riders, nose concaves might make it more difficult to stay on the nose ) 


Learning where to put your board under the lip and the patience to wait for the lock BEFORE you step forward is crucial.  Here she is too high, too far out and too early to get the lock.


Again not a very good lock down of the tail.


Try watching some of the best noseriders at your local break.  You will see they get such a deep lock that the tail sticks out the back.   If you are sitting at the peak in the lineup and look back to the beach and see the tail sticking out the back of the wave, you know he's getting a sick noseride.  


You can throw you hands up over your head and make like you're on the nose,  but what I'm looking for is the lock down of the tail.  ( and here the surfer proves you don't need a big wave or a long point break to get a solid ten ).


So if your goal is to noseride better this year, you'd better improve on getting the LOCK down of the tail.  


Please check out Matsunosuke Kugenuma on FB and to see more.  




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In with the GOOD #1

So the past 2 weeks we focused on getting out the BAD, so let's change it up and  get in some GOOD.  


You hear me talk about "Bracing" and "Holding on to an invisible wall"  as a bad habit for beginners.  


Is this bracing ?  Is he holding on to a invisible wall ? No, his arms are leading and acting has a leverage to power thru the turn.  


What about her ? Isn't she bracing and bent ?   No, she is feeling / gauging the angle with her front hand as the back hand is sweeping around same as the arch taken by the board.  She is NOT bent/hinged but compressed.  


When the arms are used for a purpose, for steering and drive, it's okay and GOOD to have them extended.  

Surfer here coming out of the bottom turn and preparing to cutback (come back to the power of the curling lip ).


He is not reaching but creating a pivot point with his front hand in the wave.  

Look at the strong "i-beam" affect created by his shoulders square to the deck. 


If someone looked just at this one photo, they might say his front arm is locked down to the hip and closed.  That his back arm is holding onto a invisible wall.   But no ..............


That was the Wind Up that leads to the unleashing of stored up energy that propels the board up the lip.  His outstretched arms are used for "unweighting".  


Looks like bracing to a beginner, but a advanced surfer would know he is winding up to execute a back side cut back.  


Arms look a bit out of wack, but you'll see why it's like that in a moment.  But first notice the board is on the back half of it's length on it's inside ( right ) rail.  


He let's his front arm hang down and around as the right hand comes around.  But that right hand high and left hand low let's his shoulders match the angle of the deck which has rolled from inside rail to now flat bottom ( and then onto the outside left rail .... and back ).  


If you look at the last two week posts, you see static, rigid, statue like stiff arms.  That is NOT good.   When we use our arms to steer and to drive our boards, that IS good.  Imagine a beginner ice skater holding onto a wall or reaching out too scared to fall versus a true figure skater extending his/her arms before a jump or spin.  That's how we ought to surf, smooth and flowing.  


So go ahead and stick your arms out, if it's for a correct reason.  Then that's okay and GOOD.  


Please check out Philippin surf report, Matsunosuke Kugenuma on FB and to see more.  







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Out with the BAD #2 Back side surfing

This weeks "Out with the BAD" is about back side surfing.  


The girl in the blue rash guard is a goofy footer ( right foot forward ) going right, which is her back side.  

But she is mainly using her back by LEANING back.  

1) her front arm is locked down to her waist. 

2) her back hand is being used mainly for balance and bracing, not for crossing in front of her chest.

All that doesn't allow the torso and waist to twist clockwise towards the face of the wave.  


Regular footer going left backside.   Again, leaning NOT turning.  She is leaning back on her heels which pressures the left rail which sets the inside rail.  But there is no twist of the body.  Look closely at her left shoulder.  What do you see ?  It's cocked up and pointed away from the wave not to it.  


When the front arm doesn't lead ( and the shoulder points in not out ), the back arm unconsciously goes UP and BACK.  


The front arm is in front of the body which "closes".  It should be way out to the left to "open" the chest and twist the torso into the wave.   With no twist, he is forced to LEAN.   Butt sticks out and back arm has to counter balance.  


Front shoulder rolling forward when it should roll back.  Back arm bracing so it can't come across the chest.  

( also notice the "Forward V" created by weighting the front instead of the back foot ) 


What I highlighted here is the "Hand Steer".  Yes you do point in the direction you want to go, BUT not when the arm is locked down to the waist and the shoulder is pointed the wrong way.  

( plus you can't turn a board from the middle of the deck )


Again "Hand Steer" versus proper turning/twisting of the waist.  


Double bracing with both hands.  Body bent and hinged.  Feet too close with a narrow stance standing in the middle of the board.   But she is sorta getting on the trim line.  


So we looked at Front side and Back side surfing problems.  What's next ?  Check back next week. 


Meantime, please check out  Cijin surf club, Eason's photgraphy, Philippine surf report on FB  and to see more.  








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OUT with the BAD in the New Year #1

What do they say during New Year ?  " Out with the BAD, in with the GOOD. "


Nobody wants to focus on the Negatives, but we first need to find the problems before we can fix them.  


This week will be on surfing Frontside problems


Things look okay here wouldn't you say ?  But doesn't he look a bit stiff and hesitant ?


When he does get up:

1) Shoulder/forearm leads instead of the hand leading.  

2) Both heels comes up off the deck

3) Back arm is cocked and closed


Look at this photo.  Can you see some problems in her stance / form ?

1) Front hand should be leading, but it's bracing off an inivisble wall.

2) Back arm is reaching.

3) Head way out and upper body hinged

4) Stance in the "forward triangle" position, moving the weight distribution away from the fins, which are at the back. 


Same but different:

1) body break / hinged

2) back hand reaching

3) front hand used for counter balance not for steering


Look how much of the rail line is buried in the water, meaning she's trying to turn from too far forward on the board.  


What can you see here ?


1) front hand bracing

2) Back hand should be rotating back to open the chest, not close it

3) Too much rail buried meaning body position is too far forward, back foot needs to be over the fins more.  


Different person but easier to see the back arm cocked in tight which "closes" the chest. 


Look very closely at her front hand.  See how the palm is pointed UP and knuckles DOWN.  What does that do to the shoulder ? She is leading with the shoulder, like a swimmer swinging their arms back before diving into the pool.  That will make it much harder to roll back onto the outside rail when she needs to turn/cutback.  


Hinged, Bent over, back arm Reaching, front hand almost doing the palm up / shoulder lead, turning from the Middle, ALL are not good signs. 


The girl in the white cap is too scared to let go and pop up.  She's in the poo stance causing her to sit back and engaged the left rail. Which causes her to steer left when she wants to go right.  And she's going left into the other goofy foot surfer coming right.  The goofy foot surfer has her own problems which we will discuss next week.  


Please check out Hope Cheng, Eason Surf Photos and to see more.  




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Year End review

So the year 2019 is coming to an end.   


How many times did you get to go surfing this year ?  For me about 25 times.  


Here are some random photos from the past year. 


Rodrigo Matsuda from Brazil makes incredible Cork/Palownia surf boards and alaias


He also uses plant based dyes for his graphics.


On my trip to Hawaii, I caught this bride waiting for the surfers to pass. 


On my walk to work,  I noticed this Donald Takayama Hawaiian Pro Designs surfboard just laying outside someone's house.   


We did a few contest this year.  I way rather free surf than surf for the judge's criteria. 


But part of the fun is getting to see old friends and cheering them on.  


Speaking of old friends,  got to see Rodrigo again at bodysurfing event in Kugenuma.  I introduced him to another old friend from Hawaii, Joey Vieira.  


Another old friend Danho, taught my wife how to bodysurf. 


Changing out the soft winter wax for the harder summer wax.  Something we never did in Hawaii.  


Surfing is getting more and more popular in Japan, especially that it will be an official event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.   The waves are even more crowded with beginners not knowing the rules of surfing ( and sometimes even how to put on a wetsuit the right way )


But even if it's crowded and small,  I still enjoy surfing no matter what.  


Getting in the water washes away all the stress from work and life.  It may be a lot colder than Hawaii ( and most of the year I have to wear a wetsuit ), but hey " it's still the same ocean ".


So here's to wishing you a Happy New Year and hope you can get to go surfing more than 25 times. 


And remember to make the most of your surroundings in and out of the water !!






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You can't surf if you can't POP UP correctly #3

So you are fed up and tired of pearling, falling down immediatley, getting crushed by the lip while everyone else around you are popping up and riding the wave all the to the beach.  


"So how do we fix it ?"     YOU DON'T.     You need to learn to LET GO.  



Most times beginners are too stuck on remembering all the steps they were taught on the beach.  

Hand has to be here, foot has to be there, paddle three more times, 1-2-3- Up,  blah blah blah.  

( notice she gets up on her knee and stares at the nose hoping it doesn't go under )


Rigid dance steps makes your movements stiff and slow.  By the time you can even get to your feet, the wave has already past you by.  


Or if you rush to quickly, even if you get to your feet, you get stuck on top and can't drop down.  


And remember,  Popping Up perfectly right BUT in the wrong place and time on the wave doesn't reward you. 

( some waves are just not meant to be ridden or stood up on )


Not only the position on the wave when popping up is important, but more so where you feet land on the board matters.  Both feet land to the left of the center stringer on the board.   

( also notice she just releases her hand of the deck, not pushing hard off of it ) 


So you try to do everything right.  Did everything not to pearl and tried your darnest not to fall off.  

But still your pop up doesn't go right.     


"What to do ?"   Stop trying so hard. Don't fear pearling, look at it as a good thing.  Think of it as a positve not a negative.  Better to pearl and catch the wave then have it pass you by and miss it.  


Here's what you need to fix your pop up:

Get a good instructor ( yes, even if you think you already know how to catch a wave by yourself )

Get a proper board  (  3 feet over your head to start, 2 feet over your head once you can trim across the wave )

Forget the rigid dance steps.

Forget your fear of pearling and falling off ( you are going pearl, you are going to fall off, accept that fact )


Eyes up and out, arms straight to clear room to bring up her front foot and then drag up her back foot. 


Surfer gets in early with some help, but it's not so much the push but the timing, from an experienced surfing who understand the motion of the ocean.  

( both feet on deck not up on one knee.  She can now pop STRAIGHT up )


A bit of one knee down, but she is looking up and out and the board has momentum.  


Both feet flat and firmly planted, shoulder's width apart.  Eyes up and out.  


One of the worst thing beginners do is not let go.  You need to let go of the deck to be able to stand up.  Your fears don't allow you to.   So what if you fall down ?  So what if you pearl ?  ( well, make sure to cover you head with your hands when you come up from underwater jsut in case the board lands on you )


We learn from our mistakes.  Failure is our greatest teacher.  If you pop up too early, too late, too much to the side, then adjust the next time.  And if you bought a 6'6" fish board and can't pop up on it, learn from your purchasing mistake and get a proper board.  


Lastly, YOU don't need to learn to stand up.   You do it everyday !  It's the first thing you do when you wake up.

( especially for us sleeping on the floor here in Japan )  

It's everything else, especially your own mind and fears, that's blocking you from popping up smoothly.  Let go and get up.  


Please check out Surfer's Nation, Philippine Surf Report on FB and to see more.    







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