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Summer surf's so hot you need a FAN

Summer waves have been big due to the many typhoons stirring up waves in the Pacific.  


But it's also been so hot, you need to constantly have the air conditioner or FAN running. 


So what are you to do when the waves are pumping and you don't have a extension cord long enough to reach from the AC outlet to the surf ?    You need to make your own FAN.  


Fan, Buckets, Roost, many different names for the Spray of water coming off the board as you rip the tops of the wave.  


Coming hard off the bottom turn sighting the apex point.  Back arm coming around infront of the chest.  


Now back arm rips back while front arm slams down.  


Big FAN.  Inside rail rolling back to outside rail.  Hard angles equals more spray.  More Speed equals more water displaced.  


Notice I didn't say anything about a big wave in the comment before.   Even in small waves you can throw a big FAN.  


He shaves the very thin edge off the top of this waist/chest high wave.  Nice FAN.  


Just fanning off the other surfers in front.   Spray'um !!


A big FAN shows your skill level of surfing. 

Your skills for :

1) Speed and speed control

2) Your rail control and understanding of trim

3) Your foot placement

4) Your arm and torso work

5) ( most important ) Your knowledge of the wave and the motion of the ocean 


But just like with a hand fan you need a good rhythm to keep the cool wind going, so in turning a surfboard you need a good follow thru to set you up for the next turn and spray. 


Are you enjoying the hot summer waves ?  You got your FAN ready ?  


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



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ahh..... Push It.

"Which Fin has the best release ?"

"How do I turn sharper ?"

"Do grovellers turn better than fishes ?"


I don't know.  But maybe you should listen to Salt-N-Pepa's hit song " Push It".


Please look at the following photos:


Each photo in itself are awesome examples of great surfing and open face carves.   But we want more ! We want to see them " Push It !! "


Notice he's pushing the tail more and tightens the arc of the turn, for that little extra push.  


Little bit of a layback sit down snap, like suddenly throwing the brakes on hard.  

( notice he is putting his body weight over the nose to break out the tail )


You can see the grimace on his face has he straightens out his back leg to really smash the tail into the wave. 


Top photo looks like he is falling back.

Bottom photos shows how he draws in his front foot and extends his back leg to the let the tail slide. 

( notice the usage of on rail and then off rail to flat bottom )  

This move takes a lot of core strength to pull yourself back onto and over the deck again.  


But don't think on your next time out that you can just push hard on the tail and the fins will break loose.  

Rider has the speed,  but maybe timing and position to do the carve was off.  

( Look at his back hand going the wrong way of the turn.  Notice both toes coming off the deck )  


Sure you can try change your fins ( smaller, more flexy ).  Sure you can change your board ( more rocker, shorter wider )  Sure you can even try to push harder you back foot.    


But like dancing to the beat of the music,  you need to know WHEN to and WHERE to Push It.  

( and Push it real good !  Ohh baby baby ! ) 


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


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Walking to the nose.

Maybe you just finished watching the Duct Tape Invitational at the Vans US Open of surfing, and are inspired to noseride.  But how do you get to the nose ?  Of course you have to walk forward,  but is it regular walking ? 


Please look at and study the next five photos.  What do you notice about the way they all walk ? 







So what did you notice ?  


Well yes, they are all regular footers walking backside.


Yes, their back leg with the leash is crossed over their front foot .


But what else did you notice ?   Hint, it something about their Right foot.  




Answer:   the toes of their Right foot is pointed at 3 o'clock.  


When you pop up and get into your surfing stance,  Your front foot should be pointed at 1-2 o'clock.  Your back foot should be at 3 o'clock.  When you pick up your back foot and place it down in front of the other foot it should still be at 3 o'clock.  


Even going frontside, you still cross-step with the same movement of the back foot ending up at 3 o'clock for Regular footers and 9 o'clock for Goofy footer like the surfer above.  ( Although where your foot lands, might be different walking frontside or backside )


So walking to the nose isn't as simple as putting one foot infront of the other.  


You have to cross step walking a bit sideways with you belly button facing the rail not facing the nose like walking down the street.  


And when you place you back foot down, which is now in the front, it should land facing the side not the front.  


Learning to Noseride takes time because you have to retrain your mind and body to walk in a different way since you first started walking as a baby.   


Have someone take photos of you walking/cross stepping and compare them to the photos above.  Are you walking to the nose right ?  


Please check out Matsunosuke Kugenuma, Hope Cheng photos, Eason's photography and to see more.







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The Line Up, Peak and the Pit

Last week we talked ( warned ) about beginners venturing out to the "Green Waves".  


Here are some surf vocabulary beginners need to learn:

LINE UP -    Where surfers wait in order of priority to get onto waves.

PEAK -  The optimum place where a swelling wave breaks and peels from that point out towards the shoulder.  

PIT -  The area where the breaking lip impacts the surface of water.  


Surfer taking off to the right of the PEAK.  Beginner on a longboard waiting in the PIT.  

( Notice other surfers paddling over the shoulder of the wave )


Surfer comes out of his bottom turn and sets his rail to drive up the face.  

( beginner realizes he's on a collision course )


Surfer does a mid face carve down.  Beginner slides off the board to screen his body. 


Beginner gets his first barrel cover up of his life.  


Later down the line, the surfer does a nice layback gouge.  But notice the beginner off his board.  Now notice where the other surfers are waiting in the LINE UP.  If another wave comes, the beginner will be in the way again..... and again.  


Surfing is fun.  Surfing is for everyone.  No one owns the waves.   BUT everyone needs to be SAFE and give Priority. 

Being in the wrong spot at the wrong times puts not only you in danger, but others as well ( especially when the wave rips the board out of your hands ) 


"Paddle hard and Stand up"  are what some instruct beginners to do.   They are so focus on getting on the wave, they are not aware of other surfer ALREADY on the wave.  


Like merging on to the freeway, you can't go 20 mph. when others are going 65 mph.  If you don't have the technique to go, stop, turn and look for other drivers, is it safe for you to drive ?  


Don't be a "shoulder hopper".  Take off from the PEAK, from where the starting line is.  "But what if I'm not good enough/ brave enough to take off at the peak among other more advanced surfers ?"   Then you better be ready to get sprayed or yelled at for being in the way. ( and pay for the dings/damages to the other person's board )  


Don't sit/wait in the PIT.  It's best to paddle wide around the break.  If you can be hit by white water, you can be hit by fiberglass.   As Mr. Miyagi said " Best way to avoid punch is not be there."


"Yeah, but good surfers can go around you."    That is not true, especially when they are locked into the wave.  


Surfer pulls into a barreling wave.  Maybe he can get around one of the riders in the way, but getting around multiple riders is too difficult.


The surfer doesn't have much choices to maneuver around all three people in the way. 

If he goes up and high into the lip, he'll probably get flipped over.

If he goes straight, he'll run over the girl. ( and then the girl's board will run over the guy(s).  

If he turns down and go straight at the beach, he probably will get thrown head first into the reef.  


So how do we stay out of the way and be safe ?


1) Learn how to paddle

2) Learn the wave and motion of the ocean

3) Learn the break ( sit on the beach and observe the ins-and-outs )

4) Surf with a local that will look out for you

5) Choose a break with surfers the same level as yourself.  


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





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Catching Green Waves

So you have spent some time catching white water waves and want to move up to catching "Green" waves.  


Catching Green waves will be much harder than catching soft white water already broken waves.  

You will have to:

Have a stronger paddle.

Have better timing.

Have quicker reflexes.

Have knowledge to know which ones to go for and which ones NOT to go for.  


Doesn't that sound like exactly what a batter does in hitting a baseball ?


Trying to hit a pitch thrown at you,  you can't swing too early or too late.  Either way you'll miss the ball.  


Making good contact with the ball at the exact place and time, results in a good hit.  

Same for catching green waves.   


Two beginners going for the same wave. 

Yellow nose board rider has already stopped paddling and begins to push up.

Striped board rider still paddling.  


Yellow nose board rider pops up and gets to his feet quickly.  But he is stuck too high up on the face with a lot of air under the nose of his board.  Swung too early.  

Striped board rider gets up to his knees as the waves passes under him.   Swung too late.  


Catching a wave is hard, just like hitting a baseball.  You know the basic, but why can some do it easily and for others it's difficult ?

The wave doesn't break in the same place every time.  

The wave curves and bends before it gets to you depending on the reef, or sand formation.

The wave can break faster or slower depending on the Tide, Wind Direction, Swell, etc.


Same for a pitcher throwning a baseball,  could be a Straight, Curve, Breaking ball, Off Speed, etc.  


Where you take off is important.  You can't take off in the impact zone where the lip comes crashing down.  ( that's why it's hard to learn at a beach break )  You can't be too much in the center or the wave will break on your head or back.  


That's like crowding the plate and getting hit by a pitch.  ( but you also can't sit way out to the side in the channel where the waves aren't ) 


Too far out on the shoulder, the wave might be too "soft".  ( and getting up too early or too late makes matters even worse.  


So many things to consider when venturing out to the Green waves. 

How do you even get out to the wave ? 

How do I know where to sit ?

How do I know when to go ?  

What if i miss a wave and others are coming at me ? 


And that's not even considering other more experienced / advance surfers you be sitting among and be fighting for waves with.


Are you ready to move up to Green Waves?  Would be great if there was like a Batting Cage for surfers to practice on without getting in the way of others.  I guess you could rent a wave pool all to yourself.   But for most of us, you just have to PAY YOUR DUES and take the pumps and bruises as they come.  You're going to wipe out, you're going to drink a lot of sea water, you're going to waste a lot of energy and catch nothing.   But anything worth while takes time.  ( and a lot of practice ).  In 1923, Babe Ruth broke the record for the most Home Runs in a season.   But you may not know in 1923 Babe Ruth ALSO got the record for the most STRIKE OUTS.   You can't win them all, you can't catch them all.  Are you ready to step up to the plate ?







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Tail Pad Placement

"I want to put a Tail Pad on my surfboard, where should I put it ?"     Answer:   Over the fins.


To turn a surfboard, your back foot has to be over the fins.  So the tail pad , traction pad, stomp pad should be placed over the fins.  


Even boards that come from factory with the tail pad pre-installed, have them placed over the fins.


Think about it like the SWEET SPOT on a tennis racket.  Hit too low on the string or too high on the strings, the ball doesn't go where you want it to.   ( and sometimes it even hurts )


But hit right in the SWEET SPOT of the racquet and the ball flies fast and in control. 


Hard to see but the surfer's back foot is flat up against the vertical Kick Tail part of the traction pad.  


You notice the extra carbon fiber strands on the tail edge ?  That's to help with Rail Cancer from repeating bashing from your heels and toes.   Your tail pad should not be higher than those.  They place those reinforcements by the sweet spot.


Placing your foot outside of the sweet spot during a turn ( usually too high ), will have the same effect as hitting on the heel or toe of a golf club's face.  It will shank or hook the ball and fight against you.  



This pad was mounting way way too far forward.  You can see the 3 holes on top of the deck for the bolted on tri-fins.  The end of the person's tail pad is right where his foot needs to be.   


"Yeah, but that's on a shortboard."   "I don't put my foot that far back on my longboard"

Actually you need to get your foot really far back on the tail if you want to turn a longboard.  THUS you need to put the tail pad even further back.   Notice this Dick Brewer rider's board has the front of the tail pad even behind the front edge of the front fins.   


You notice most tail pads have a half moon cut out at the very back.  That is made to clear the leash plug cup and to allow the pad to be placed as far back as possible.  ( my wife on her favorite XTR yellow swallow tail ) 


Once you learn to turn a board properly and realize your foot needs to be back over the fin(s) in a turn,  then your foot will land cleanly on the tail pad.  Being on that SWEET SPOT, you'll  be hitting the ball.......err I mean.... hitting the lip easily.  ( and everyone will notice )  


So put the tail pad over the fins.  


Please check out Hope Cheng, Philippines Surf report on FB and to see more.



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The "In-Between" times during surfing

Paddle hard, take off, pop up, bottom turn to cutback.    Wait a minute........... what's missing ?  


The "In-Between" time. 


Coming up out of his bottom.  


To backside cutback.  But the cameraman missed a shot in transition between the two photos.  

( you can see the trail line behind in the wave that shows he went up down and now around )


Eyes his turn off point.  Not on fully on the inside rail yet, but will be soon. 


Hit's the thin part of the breaking lip of the curling wave.  Body twist back counter clockwise.  


Transition time between bottom turn to off the lip.  Arms ready to swing open wide to twist the torso into the wave.  


Rotates the upper body and arms to swing the nose back down.   Eyes his landing point.  


Gets to his feet and eyes down the line to see what's happening. 


Look closely and you can see he gets off his inside rail just a bit, to draw out his line.  He doesn't want to go up too high too soon.  


At the proper moment, he hits the lip, matching power to power.  At the same time, he focuses away to the next maneuver.  Body twists following the lead of the eyes.  


Coming out of her pop up and bottom turn.  Eyes down the line.  


Comes around the curl and swings the back arm wide to create torque and drive the fins and inside rail deep into the water. 


Hit's the closeout lip a little late.  But she is confident and in control, eyeing her landed spot. 


Magazine and such only show the big cool hard spraying turns, they don't show the In-Between times when the surfer is transitioning between moves.   Work on your Trim, Set up and Flow.   If you're not making your turns, cutbacks and off the lips,  maybe you need to work on the "In-Between" times a bit more.  


Please check out to see more.  

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Taking Off on a surfboard

To catch a wave you need POWER, POSITION and TIMING.  ( Well, at least two out of the three ) 


For a beginner if you don't have the physical paddle POWER you especially need to be on the correct size board. ( or have a instructor assist you )


For a beginner if you don't have the TIMING to know when to start paddling, then you need a instructor to tell you when to go. ( or grow eyes behind your head )


For a beginner knowing where to sit ( especially at a crowded line up ) and where to be on the board is crucial to catching waves.  


Long or Short, Big or Small waves, the basics for taking off stays the same. 


This guy looks physically fit.   Big volume longboard.   Eyes up.  Nice size wave coming.  Everything looks good. 


Powerful paddles.  Elbow deep into the water.  


But for some reason he misses the wave.  Maybe he stopped paddling and popped up too early.   Maybe he didn't stay next to the peak.   What I think is the Double Up caught him.  Look under his board you can see this lump under the board.    ( the double up flowing up the face was already there in the previous photo, can you see it ? ) 

Looking down is not good.  You need to look up and out to where you want to go.  Look down go down ( when you're trying to pop UP ? )  


Getting up to your knees also delays the momentum needed pop up smoothly.  


Looking Left to check if anyone is coming his way ( or looking down the line ? )  

Relaxed hand paddling.  Okay positioning on his board and on the face.  Curl / peak to his Right.  


But when he goes to pop up, he stares at the nose and goes the wrong way.  

The board is now pointed Right, when the wave is breaking to the Left.  

He should go away from the curl, not towards it.  


Take a look at this photo and see what problems there are.  



1) Too far forward on the board,  so he has to hinge at the lower back to keep the nose up.  

2) Both his feet were dragging in the water.  Like putting on the brakes.  

3) Holding his breath.  

4) Because he held his chest so far up, he can't get his arm deep into the water.  


Feet spread out for stabilty, but dragging in the water.

Hand not relaxed.  Thumb tight and fingers stiff.  


When people pearl / nose down, they usually try to remedy the situation by moving way way back.  That is probably even worse for positioning.  

1)  Nose up and way above the water surface.  The harder he paddles the more the board will fight against him.  Like a snow plow versus a snow sled.  

2) Hand cupping instead of relaxed.  Thumb in tight. 


There's a lot for the above guy to work on, but he is trying his best.  Too far forward, too far back.  Too early, too late.  Too far Left, too far Right.  Hope fully soon he will follow the Goldilocks and the Three Bears theory and get it JUST Right !    

( or he can just hold on and hope for the best )  


Please check out Surfer's Nation and Eason's photography on FB to see more.  



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Square Peg in a Round Hole

I see a lot of beginner-intermediate surfers falling backwards when attempting front side cutbacks.  


Sometimes it seems they're trying to put a "Square Peg in a Round Hole". 


The Frontside Cutback looks round, but notice some problems:

1) Where is he looking ?  He is NOT looking thru the turn.

2) The bodyline is broken/hinged.

3) Back foot toes are coming off the deck. ( Okay for the front book, NOT for the back foot )

4) Front arm is locked down, not pointing to where he wants to go. 

5) Head gets way behind the butt.  


Not Flowing.  He tried to jam the board into too tight of a space too quickly.  Did he have Speed and Power ? Maybe yes,  but not good usage of power and control of his speed.  



Here things look "okay".  But ..................


He may have waited too long to turn back in.  That means not not enough speed or not enough angle to the wave ( ran too far out onto the shoulder )

He leaned not pivoted.

His back arm stayed back, when it should come across the chest.  


Even hitting the lip frontside, you need to choose the right line of attack correctly.  Too early might means too hard angles and not enough time to build speed to match power with power.  Sometime you need to relax the angle of attack to be more curvy/flowy.  


Down Up and Around.  

1) Eyes focused thru the turn.

2) Back hand coming across the chest.

3) Front arm opening to lead the body.

4) Cutbacks ( Comes Back ) at the proper moment and on the right spot.  Not too far out on the shoulder and not too close to the curl.  

5) Board on rail, cutting like a knife's edge.


Powering thru the turn.  Kept speed constant.  Aggressive yet smooth curvy lines working with what the wave was giving.  


Go back and take note of why the other surfers fell back in their frontside cutbacks.  Are they putting a "Square Peg in a Round Hole ?"


Please check out Hope Cheng photos and Philippine Surf Report on FB to see more.  


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You got this surfing thing backwards

There's the right way to surf and the wrong way to surf, right ?   But if for some reason you end up wrong how can you make it right again ?


Rider is taking off backwards.  Oh No !

But notice:

1) Fins are not fully in the water.

2) Wave is "Half" breaking. 


When he does get up as the wave breaks, he stands up in the middle of the deck.  Fins start to engage as he places down the tail at 1 o'clock ( not straight ahead at 12 o'clock ).


When the fins grab hold, it's spin the board around like a rudder re-righting a ship. 

* notice the rider is stepping back towards the tail *


Boards spins around more and the rider waits for the fins to fully straighten out the board and he can ride out the right way.    

( did you realize he popped up in a opposite stance ?  Go back and look at what leg his leash is on )


Here I am taking off on a soft Waikiki wave.  Thruster fins facing forward.


I let the tail down to engage the fins in the water at 1 o'clock as I drag my back hand to create a pivot point. 


The boards spins, I get way back on the nose to pop out the tail again to let the nose side slip a bit. 


A little bit of body english to time how far to keep the side slip going.  Knee up or down to adjust pressure.  Eyes looking thru the turn and to watch out for others in the way.  


Fins engage at the top of the wave as the full length of the bottom grabs hold.  


Step back to the tail, over the traction pad, over the fins to bring up the nose and ride out of the move.  


That move is called a "SKEG REVERSE"  take off.  It's paddling and taking off wrong, but correcting it to make it right again.  Getting to know your board ( rails, fins, rocker ), getting to know physics ( weight distribution, pressure, action and reaction ) and getting to know the wave will allow you to experiment with different maneuvers and even have more fun on your surfboard.   


Here is a different type of Skeg Reverse,  where the fins were put on incorrectly backwards.  How to make it right ? Make sure to purchase your board from a real surf shop, by staff who really can surf.  


Please check out Matsunosuke Kugenuma on FB to see more  and thanks Richie at Aloha Beach Services on Waikiki beach for the photos of me surfing.  







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