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Going "Down the Line" in surfing

Going "Down the Line", some people might call it going across the face of the wave.  

The Shortboarder is going "Down the Line" across the face of the wave.

The Longboarder is probably going Straight Down to the bottom of the ocean.


It is easy to tell if you are going Down the Line if water is shearing only off the outside rail.  


But remember, you can not JUST go down the line, sooner or later you need to turn.  Her board is trimming on the Left inside rail.


But when ( or before ) the wave closes out or runs the other way, she looks back and turns the board.  The board rolls from inside rail to outside rail.


Looks like she's going down the line.  But it seems she is too far back on the tail and the nose lifts up, stalling ( slowing down ) the drive.  


Wave catches up to her.  Because she is leaning ( trying to hold a invisible wall ) and not twisting at the waist, she can not recover and turn the board towards the beach.  


A good Trim and going "Down the Line", starts with a good bottom turn. 


After that, you need to listen to the wave and to what it is doing.  You might need to turn down and run away. You might need to turn up and kick out.  You might need to cutback to the power.  


Going "Down the Line" shows you're not a Newbie-Beginner anymore going straight to the beach.  But now that you can go across the face,  there's more to do.  


Please check out the daily surf photos at  to see more



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"Technically Perfect" way to surf

I created this blog to help surfers surf better.  Some surfer are fine where they are at, but other surfers want to improve.

I use lines and arrows to break down the movement of the body and how it corresponds to the action of the board. Here the rider is showing "perfect technique".  Eyes looking thru the turn, strong bodyline,  board on rail.


Here the riders left/front arm is "locked" to the body. That prevents the waist from twisting and makes her lean back. Also she is trying to turn from the middle of the board.  Is that "wrong" ?   One thing though is she has a big SMILE on her face.


Falling off the board but she Happy.


With proper technique, you can catch more waves, turn better, ride longer and maybe do advanced maneuvers like noseriding or tube riding.  But are you more happy than those with less technique ?


Your style is up to you.  How you wear you clothes, how you make pasta, how you draw a picture of a dog, is all up to you.  If you are happy the way you surf, that's all that matters.


I may write where your hands "should" be, but that's for the basic surfing form.  You can adjust to your liking, just like in cooking.  


If you want to advance from being a Beginner-Intermediate, I am glad to help.  But if you are fine at the level of surfing where you are at, that's great.   Main thing is to have FUN.  (  look at the pure JOY on her face )


You don't need to Noseride, Cutback, Air or get Barreled to have fun surfing.  Surfing is about TRIM, gliding along the wave's face no slower or faster than what it is.   If you found that and it puts a SMILE on your face, that's more important than being "technically perfect".


Please take a look at to see more surfer's smiles.   




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Look Down-Go Down. Look Up-Stay Up

Beginner surfer - "How do I keep the nose from pearling",  

Me -  "How do you know the nose is pearling ?"

Beginner surfer - "Because I'm looking at the nose to see if it is going under."


Notice that in photos of surfboards pearling ( nose going under the water ), that the surfer is looking down ?


When you look Down, it makes your head go down and your back bend forward.  ( also notice her stiff front hand and her back hand trying to hold an invisible wall )


If you keep your eyes up and focused out and away, it draws you and the board that way. 


In surfing, you have to stay one ( or two ) moves ahead.  Look to the next move.  Looking down keeps you stuck in the present.  


Looking at the nose MAKES the nose go down.  


Some people say to get a board with more rocker, so it'll pearl less.  That is not true, more rocker makes it harder to glide and harder to paddle.  Better to keep the same board and learn to keep you eyes up, proper stance and bottom turn technique.  


Look Down equals Go Down.  Keep you eyes Up means you'll stay Up.  


Please look at the daily surf photo site of everyday surfers at  

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Difference between a Carve and a Snap

"I want a shortboard so I can do Snaps".  I hear that all the time from beginner-intermediates.  But a lot of the times, it's up to the WAVE, not you, who decides wether you can do a snap or carve. 


Here the surfer is coming up on a breaking section.


This is a open face CARVE.


This is SNAP thru the lip.


Can you see the difference in the body and the wave ?


A CARVE is usually out on the open shoulder ...........  ( notice she is looking to the next move )


which brings the surfer back to the curl ( where more of the energy of the wave is ).


A SNAP though, is usually on the faster critical part of the wave, closer to the breaking lip.


The rider usually doesn't want to go all the way back to the curl since the waves speed is so fast. If he did, the wave would run past him.  ( notice his gaze is still down the line )


A Carve is done more on the open face. The board follows a wider arc. Waves energy is usually behind the rider ( Orange arrow shows the breaking lip ) Surfer's eyes looking back to the power, Hands going that direction, twisting the hips that way. 


Snaps have a tighter arc and done closer to or with the breaking lip.  Rider's eyes usually stay forward.  Arms are thrown in the direction of the tail getting shoved out.  ( notice the front foot is over the central pivot point )


Usually you need to be able to do really good CARVEs first before you do SNAPS.  But listen to the wave, it will tell you to do a tight arc SNAP or a wide arc CARVE back to the curl.


please see  to see more ( and listen to the wave ! )


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"Paddle hard and stand up straight" ??

I've heard people say "paddle hard and stand up straight".  But remember to keep your body straight in line with the board.


Board is angled to the right rail. Body in line with the deck line of the board.


Similar right bottom turn, but her body line is "broken".  Back is bent over with the head past the knees.  Hand reaching out for a invisible wall.


She is standing straight but leaning WITH the board. 


Here is straight back posture, but the head is behind the heels.  ( hand also bracing on a wall )


Once the head gets past the heels, your hands instinctively reach back to catch you from falling. Notice the right hand reaching back.  It should be across the chest in the front.



Here is a soul arching turn. Body line is still strong from head to feet and in line with the deck.  


Don't stand up too straight and don't bend over too much.  Stay in-line with the board. 


please check out to see more.  



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Walking to the nose on a surf board.

Watch the best noseriders. They're so smooth as they walk back and forth across the board to the nose.  Notice the word " WALK ".   Just like Race Walkers in the Olympics, a foot needs to be down at all times.  Unlike Runners, where sometimes both feet are not planted. 


After the lock down of the tail, the rider cross steps forward.


Cross stepping allows you to control front - back - and side to side movements.  If you walk " normally "like you do on the side walk, it tends to rock the board or make the board jerky. 


The cross step walking also helps to keep the head over the butt.  Notice the soft knees.


If you run, one foot usually isn't planted firmly on the deck.  Rushing the movement is not good.  


Quick steps are good, Rushing / Running is not. 


Here, smooth steps firmly planted.  Feet are in a "T".  She is crossed.


Now un-crossed her feet are in a "L" pattern. 


Cross stepping is vital ( and very beautiful ) to walking to the nose. 


Everyone has learned to walk since they were babies.  But for walking on a surfboard, you need to cross step. 


Please check out to see more walking










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Steering a Surfboard

We steer usually with our hands.


Car Steering wheels


Bicycle Handle bars


Even boats we steer with our hands.


In Surfing, you point in the direction you want to turn. BUT .....  use your feet to steer the board.  


BE CAREFUL not to point only with your fingers.

Here she is looking Right and her board is pointed Right.  BUt her body is showing LEFT.  Her heels on her front foot is coming up.  Only her fingers are pointing Right, everything else is leaning Left.


With the elbow locked to the body, only the wrist and fingers point Left.  Open your arms out to lead the board. 


Again arm locked to the body blocks the twisting of the hips and turning of the shoulders.


She is leading more with the Hip, than with her hand.  


When you steer a surfboard:

1) Look in the direction you want to go

2) Hand and extension of the arm leads the turn of the shoulder

3) Waist and Hip twists that leads down to the feet 


Open up your arms.  Don't only steer with your fingers.


please check out to see more steering.

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Learning to go Back side helps your Front side.

To surf better Front side ( turn, cutback, bottom turn, snap and pump for speed ), learn to surf better Back side. 


Backside carving back from the shoulder, Front arm coming across the chest. Outside rail.


Bouncing off the white water, now on inside rail. Front arm leading the way as back arm comes across chest.


Front arms rips back from open to close.  Strong body line from head thru the feet onto the board. 


Now look here the same surfer going Front side


Arms twisted to the waves face.  She is stalling a bit to let the wave build/stand up more.


Carving back from the shoulder. Front arm leading the way for the back arm to come across the chest.  ( Notice palm open on front hand, palm closed facing down on the back hand )


Bouncing off the curl. The white water helps to redirect you the other way.  Arms rips over to close the body.  In the before photo, the body was "open".  Strong body line in both photos.  


Go back and look how similar the photos are for frontside and backside but on different part of the wave.  A back side bottom turn is similar to a Frontside cutback, and vice-versa.  Improving your backside surfing, IMPROVES your frontside surfing.


Please check out to see more backside and frontside surfing.  

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When 3 + 1 = X

If your front foot is at 3 o'clock ( 9 o'clock for Goofy footers ), it makes it hard to turn your surfboard.

The legs should push down and steer the board, BUT when the knees come together, it locks out the movement.


If the front foot at 8 o'clock ( 4 o'clock for Regular footers ) and the back foot at 10 o'clock ( 2 o'clock for Regular footers ) it forces the knees inwards. Creating a " X ". 


3+1 stance or 3+3 stance is not good.  Best is back foot at 3 o'clock and front foot around 1 o'clock.  


With the incorrect stance, it makes you SQUAT down.  Your body lowers to the board, not the board into the water. 


It's hard to put pressure on the back foot if the front foot is pointed to the rail. 


Don't let your knees come together, it cuts the power and mobility to turn your board.


3 + 1 =  X  is not true in MATH ,  but it is in Surfing.  


Please check out  for more daily surf photos.  








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Back Side cutback. Open the door, slam the door shut.

To perform a backside cutback better, think "Open the door then SLAM the door shut".  

Front arm opens the door ( back of the hand facing the wave )

Rider's front arm is lower than the back arm during the bottom turn. 


Then the hand goes from way up high, to way down below the body. Slamming the door shut.


This is one photo before the compression of the legs. His front hand will go down, up then around.


Open of the door ( and Chest ).   Closing of the door shut ( and the chest closed too )


Same principle for Long(er) boards. Open-Shut. Down-Up-Around.    Nice strong bodyline thru the board. Eyes leading the turn.


BE CAREFUL !   You just can't swing the door wide, out of control.  After you engage the inside rail, you then have to roll the board back onto the outside rail ( and close the door ).  Leaning not turning, will just make you fall back. 


Backside surfing can be more fun ( and powerful ) than frontside.  Learn how to Open the door and Slam the door shut.  


Please check out the daily surf photos at  to see more.  

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