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Get Pitted

You may heard the surfing phrases "Get in the Pit"  or  "I was soo Pitted".   


I guess the first one refers to get into the center of the wave ( like being in the center of a bull fighting ring ).

The 2nd one refers to getting Tubed or Barrelled.  


But today I want to teach you another technique dealing with the pit  ................... your Arm Pit.


Look at this frontside hack.  What do you see ?

1) Almost the full length of the outside rail is in the wave.

2) Front hand in the wave creating a pivot point.

3) Closing radius turn.  Starts wide but got progressively tighter.  


But look at his eyes.  He is looking thru his Arm Pit.  


What do you see here ?  


The front arm leads the board thru the turn.  Up Down and Around and ends up high.  Bicep almost blocks his vision. 


Same guy. Different wave.  Same technique.  


Arms leads. Board follows.   Notice the left fin coming out of the water ? Good surfing requires hard Angles and Speed. 


Big Snap - Slashing cutback.  What do you see ?


That abbreviated bent arm leads the board in a tight arc.   He looks thru his Arm Pit to his back foot slammed up against the kick of the tail pad.  All his power is focused on one tiny spot on the tail.  


Watch the good surfers that throw big spray in their turns.  I bet you'll start to notice their front arm up high.  and that they are looking thru their arm pit.  


But just don't go out and throw your arm up and expect to throw buckets.  Form follows Function.  Have a good base of Trim, breaking Trim, rail control, strong bodyline from head thru butt down to the feet, speed flowing with the wave.  Gradually increase your lean angles and turn in points on the shoulder coming back to the curl.  Soon you might be doing the Arm Pit technique.  


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


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It's not the FIN, it's the TAIL and the RAIL

"Which is the better fin if you want to Noseride ?"   "What do you think about Turbo Tunnel fins ?"  


Surfer is perched on the nose in a parallel stance.  Notice the tail is completely covered by the crashing lip of the wave. 


Here's the start of the wave, little easier to see more of the deck in this photo.  You can see the water wrapping over the deck.  


The tail locked down allows the rider to walk forward and be on the nose.  The wave itself is the counter weight.  


Here the tail isn't locked down yet, but the rider is already past the middle of the board.  He is too early and rushed forward too fast.  Timing for the lock takes time to learn.  


Here is when the tail is Super Locked in.  So much force is pushing down on the tail, which keeps the rider suspended.  

** Notice - it doesn't take a big wave to noseride.  It takes position and timing to create the Lock **


Again, see the tail just peeking out the back of the wave ?  That's when the board is really locked into the wave. 


Small Knee high wave but really Big Lock down of the tail. 


So it's the wave wrapping over the large surface area of the Tail and Rail that makes for good noseriding.  NOT the small vertical area of a 9 inch fin. 


But whatever fin you like, that allows you to put your board in the right spot on the wave to get the Lock, that is the right fin to use.  


Please check out Matsunosuke Kugenuma on FB to see more (  or not see the tail at all )    





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There's more than "look where you want to go"

You've heard me say "Where you look is where you go".  I've heard some instructors say "if you want to go right, look right".    But there's more than just the eyes.  


Eyes are great looking up and down the line.   But ............

1) Both hand are locked out and stiff bracing on an invisible wall.

2) Feet are too close together and in the center of the board.

3) ( because of that ) She needs to lean out her butt and bends at the waist to compensate.


Eyes looking up and down the line.  But ......

Stiff front hand bracing.

Back hand reaching

X-factor created by the knees.  


Same here but a little different.  

Front arm locked to the body.  ( which prevents the torso from turning )

Back arm stiff.

Same X-factor created by the locked Left arm and improper stance of the Left foot.  


Upper body is similar here, with a locked front arm and stiff back hand.  

You can almost see the slight rolling of the front foot onto it's side.  

Eyes want to look more but blocked by the "closed" shoulder.  


Things look okay here.  

Rider up to his feet and bottom turning.

A bit too crouched and back arm a bit too deep in the wave. 

Good Eyes up and down the line.  


But once he gets up out of his crouch ......

His front arm is stiff and bracing.

Back hand is locked and ineffective. 

Both Heels come off the deck and rider is only on his toes.

Rider's body language looks apprehensive ( and stiff )


Although she is looking down the line ...................

Rider's front arm should be pointing in the direction she wants to go, but here it is bracing.

Back arm should be rotating behind her back to twist / go clockwise right, not down and infront of her body.


So YES, you need to look where you want to go.   BUT the rest of the body needs to go with it.   Not block or resist.  

A lot of these problems stem from being Unconfident.  When you are scared or unsure the hand goes out unconsciously to brace and protect you.  


Look at photos of surfers ripping on past post.  Do they brace ? Do they lock out their front arm ? Do they X-factor ?  

NO, they don't.    But they do keep there's eyes Up and Down the Line.  It's just the rest of the body follows along.  


Please check out to see more.  

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Back Side and Front Side Hack

A Hack is somewhat different than a Cutback,  since you don't "Come" back as much to the curl/wave.  


Here is a Back Side Hack. 

Comes off the bottom rolling from inside rail to the flat bottom of the board.

Eyes looks away from the turn just a bit.

Back hand sets down a pivot point.

Front hand comes around that pivot point. 

*Notice she places the nose to hit slightly above and slightly in front of the curl of the lip*


Board comes around and sets on the outside rail.

Back foot comes around and pushes the tail into the wave.  ( probably on her back foot toes to get more extension )

Body line strong from squared up shoulders thru back foot.  

Hands in neutral waiting for tail to regain traction.

Eye sighting down the line to the next action. 


A little off balance due to the bumpy/bouncy whitewater, but keeps her inside rail engaged and body line with the deck of the board. 

Front hand drops to create the next pivot point.

Back hand comes around.

Eyes down the line. 


Front side Hack.

Coming off a front side bottom turn.

Eyes the lip. 

Body leaning and coiled up yet in line with the deck.  ( not body bent over and head way past the rail )


Flow from down to up and out on the clean face.

Front hand drops down and way back to create a pivot point and twists the torso.

Back hand comes around the chest. 

*Notice how much of the nose is out of the water*


Then a quick stop on a very tiny dime.  

Back hand STOPS.

Front hand continues with the momentum to create that extending line from back foot to finger tip.  

Eyes down the line. ( not looking back to the curl like you would on a normal Cutback )


Then after the Hack, back on to the inside rail.  

Forward Triangle created by the knee/legs to put pressure forward and flatten the board to gain speed. 

Eyes her next move.  


Front Side or Back Side Hacks are neccessary to stay in tune with the wave,  where in situations / wave conditions that do not call for a Cutback or Round House.  


Please go back and look at the photos to see the usage of Speed and Slowing down.  Of Where and When on the wave. Of Where to look and What to look for to do a proper Hack  ( or any turn ).


Please check out to see more.  



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What's your Direction in Surfing ?

"I want to go more Faster."   "I want to turn more Harder."  "I want to go more Higher."


Sometimes in surfing if you want to do something,  you have to do the OPPOSITE more.   


To do a Off the Lip up high ( even on a small wave ) , you have to first get Down really low.  

Surfer here comes off a hard bottom turn.

Arms rotates the arms, OPENing the chest to the wave.  


Before the top,  he rips the arms back down the opposite way.  

He looks to the next move down the line.

His body was Open , now Closed to the face of the wave. 


Go Down first to go Up later.


Surfer gets on her Outside ( Left ) rail out on the shoulder.

Eyes look back to the curl of the wave.

Back arm comes around the front of the chest.

Front arm points down to create a pivot point.

Torso/waist twist back to the wave. 


Banking off the curl back onto her Inside ( Right ) rail.

Eyes looking to the future.

Body twists back. 

Full wrapping / Round house cutback.  


Right to Left ( and back again ).   That is  FLOW and the way to connect maneuvers.  


Front arm leads the turn and Opens the body to the wave.

Back arm comes around in front of the chest.

Strong body line from head thru heels thru board. 

On the outside Right rail.  


Now front arm Slams the door shut.  

Board goes back onto the Inside Left rail.  

Eyes down the line.

Bodyline still strong.  


Eyes the turn point.

Front arms really torques behind the body which really Opens the chest.

Waist twists into the wave. 

Back foot pressure down to really shove the fins / tail into the surface.  


Then BAAAAAAMM !!!   Everything goes opposite

Nose was going UP, now rotating Down.

Front arms was torqued behind the back, now rip down in front.  

Body was twisting counter-clockwise, now going clockwise

Eyes were looking Up at the turn point, now looking Down for the landing spot.  


If you want to Surf better you need to go MORE.

More Up, more Down, more Right, more Left.   If you want to do something More, you may have to the direct opposite first ( more ).  


Please check out Matsunosuke Kugenuma on FB and to see more 






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The essence of surfing is TRIM

Two week ago we talked about beginners going straight ( on shortboards ).   Question,  are they actually SURFING ?


Are they RIDING or SURFING on their surfboards ?  


First we have to understand what Surfing is.   The Hawaiian word for surfing is O HE'E NALU.  Which basically means Wave Sliding ( NALU is Wave,  O HE'E means Squid on it's own, but in this combination means Slide )   

Here the surfer SLIDES across the face of the wave.  


In surfing terms we call it TRIM.   It's when the board rides across the wave's face, no faster or slower than what the wave is.  


Here some first timers on a surf lesson are going straight to shore.  They are standing on their boards, yes.  They are riding on top of their boards, yes.  But are they Sliding across the wave ? 



Remember when you first learned to ride a bike ?  "Look mommy, I'm doing it !" then after a few feet crash.    Yes, you could "ride" on a bike,  but when did you actually say " I can RIDE a bike " ?   When you could start, turn and stop without crashing.   If you can only go straight, you are not actually controlling the bike/or board, it's controlling you. 


Same goes for skiing.  Are you a skiing if you can only do the "Snowplough" ( ski tips pointed in like a "V" ) all day ?   Once you can  go down the slope with your ski's Parallel,  THEN you can actually ski.  


Here I am Trimming across the wave.   After setting my rail to trim,  I can now break trim to resist and fall up the wave or relax and fall down the face.  No trim means no noserides, no tube ride, no airs.   You can't do any of those going straight.  


I am not putting down Newbie / First timer surfers.  We all needed to start from somewhere.  But going straight is just a Delayed Fall.  You begin to REALLY surf when you can go across the wave's face.  


What if someone said " Yeah, I know how to drive.  But I can't turn or stop.  I can ONLY go straight ".   Does that person actually know how to drive ?  


The cascading white water is going straight ahead.  She is Trimming across the wave.  ( by going across the wave, her 9 foot board can "fit" into the wave versus going straight and pearling the nose of the board ) 


I chose photos with no turns, no pumps, no airs, no barrel rides to show you the basic essence of surfing.  Just gliding across the waves face.  Pure and Simple.  


It doesn't take a big wave.  It doesn't take big actions or big movements.  It takes YOU,  your SURFBOARD and the WAVE working together as one to get into TRIM.  That is what SURFING is.   


Please check out Philippines Surf Report and Eason's photography on FB and to see more.  





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Surfing a Shortboard. ( not just Riding )

Last week we looked at some beginners "Riding" Shortboards.  This week we'll focus on "Surfing" a Shortboard. 

Please look at the next 8 photos in succession.  Take notes on what you see.  


Now let's break it down frame by frame.

Surfer is coming out of the sweet spot of the wave ( the "pocket" ).  He looks for the turning point.  ( notice the leash of a surfer paddling over the shoulder )  His board is flat, not on rail, for the moment. 


He goes from Inside rail to outside rail ( photo wasn't taken of that ). Drops his front hand down to gauge his angle and create a pivot point.   Body is compressed, not bent over, as the bodyline is still inline/strong with the deck.  


Closing Radius turn.  Started wide buts gets tighter thru the turn.  

Eyes look thru the turn.

Back arm comes around up high opposite of the front arm which is low.  ( notice palm is facing out ? ) 


Now running Backside to the waves face.  

Back arm comes across the chest. 

Torso twists into the wave. 

( Notice how much rail is in the water at the moment )

This is the Cutback or what I rather call the Come Back to the wave.  


Now the critical moment of transition. 

Back arm stops coming forward.  

More pressure is given to the tail, which brings up the nose.  

Surfer eyes the crashing lip.  

Front hand higher up the wave's face ( not seen in the photo ) 


Front hand having done it's job as a pivot point, now releases it's grip of the wave.  It is now used to unweight and raise up the body and board to pop up onto the lip.  


Surfer pops up onto the lip not on rail, but flat on the bottom.  Now you can see the brightly colored top deck.  

Front arm begins / leads the re-direct down.   Front hand begins to rip down.  


Both arms now swing counter-clockwise to rotate body and board the other way.  

Notice he keeps board and body on the front side of the wave.  This allows the wave to throw him back towards the beach.  After landing the Round House / Full Wrapping cutback, he can move on to the next maneuver.  


I purposely cropped the photos to leave the person standing in the foreground to show how tight and fast the surfer did his actions.    


Look at last week photos to this weeks ones. can you see the differences ? 

This weeks surfer surfs:

RIGHT and  LEFT across the face.

Arms leading the action not locked to the body or using as a brace. 

How he uses the whitewater to re-direct his move, not hamper their stability like for beginners.  


And one of the main differences,   He keeps his eyes up and out looking to the next move instead of looking down at his feet or board like most beginners do.  


If you feel you're ready to start riding a Shortboard, Great !  Go for it.  Riding a Shortboard will help you surf your longboard better ( in terms of timing, quickness and taking off on steeper waves ).   For shortboarders, riding a Longboard will help them too ( in terms of gaining leg strength and feeling the glide ) .   But if you can't currently bottom turn and cutback ( both front and backside ) on you current Long(er) board, I would not recommend getting a shortboard until you can.  


Please checkout Eason's Photgraphy on FB to see more.  







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New Year's Surf Resolution

Happy New Year 2019.   What is your New Year's Resolution ?   For some it's to lose 10 lbs.  or stop smoking.   But for some beginner surfers,  their resolution is to ride a SHORT BOARD.  


Their goal is to ride what they see the Pros ride.  The guys and gals that rip and shred at their local break and in the surf videos all ride Short boards.  So the Shortboard must be why they ride so well ? 


But is riding a Shortboard as easy as the pros and advanced surfers make it look ?  


Short boards are high-performance wave riding vehicles for high-performance waves, NOT for small mushy white water foam riding.  

( notice the nose is pointing up to the sky.  Board is plowing the water and sinking down not skimming on top of it ) 


Short boards don't have the same volume and floatation as long(er)boards do.  Going straight in the foam is riding in the area that the wave has already given up it's energy.   With a long(er)board, with it's superior float and stability,

the rider might be able to continue on until the wave reforms.  

( Notice rider is staring at the nose of his board.  He should be looking up and out.  Notice he is bracing his hands on a invisible railing.  Notice he is too far back on his board and the nose too high up for the board to plane properly. )


"I heard Shortboards are easier to turn and duck dive ?"     But what does that matter if you can't catch the wave once you get out to the peak ?  What does that matter if you are too inexperienced to handle the instability of the more maneuverable Shortboard ?  Your reaction time has to be much quicker on a 1000cc. Superbike than on a entry level 250cc. motorcycle.   Same from going from a Longboard that's 3 feet over your head to a Shortboard the same height as you are.   

( Rider is looking down into the flats, not down the line.  She gets up first on her one back knee, so that forces her front foot to have to cross over, which ends up being a Crawl Up instead of a Pop up, and takes up too much time. )


Once she finally gets to her feet,  the waves have closed out on both sides.  Because of the instabilty / looseness of her shortboard and the turbulence of the white water , she finds it hard to let go her hands off the deck.  That causes her to be bent over.  She's still looking down.  


Where you look is where you go.  Look down Go down.    Being in the Poo Stance,  squatting down, locks out the suspension and steering that your legs/knees need to do.   Getting in to the wave late lets the wave catch up and close out around you.  


When you do finally stand up, there's no drive/momentum.  An advance surfer can create drive and bottom turn to utilize the wave's own energy to get him out of that situation.  But a beginner on a too short board without enough length and floatation doesn't have the skills to do that.  

(  Rider looks down.  Front arm locks to the body, limiting the twist of the torso.  Because he leans instead of pivots, the back hand goes up involuntarily to catch him from falling backwards. )


A Shortboard has to catch AS the wave is about to break and steeper.  A Longboard can catch the wave BEFORE it breaks and when it's not as steep.  That gives more time to setup your stance, stabilize and focus going down the line.  A Shortboard has to catch waves further inside the break where's it more crowded.  As a beginner on a Shortboard do you have the powerful paddling technique and wave knowledge to move out of the way of others ?  


Shortboard's more maneuverability and ease of duckdiving comes at a price.  You need to always be on rail and constantly driving or pumping to keep the momentum up.  Rider vision is up and out looking to the next move, always a step ahead.  Eyes lead the hands, the shoulders, the twist of the torso/ waist, thru the knees, feet and down into the board.  


Here is the critical moment that separates good and not so good surfers.  You may know the basics on how to turn.  But WHEN to turn and WHERE to turn.  Here the rider begins the ROLL from outside rail to inside rail. 


Now back onto his inside rail, he eyes the next cutback, snap, roundhouse or kickout.  

( Bodyline strong from head to foot.  Not stiff straight or squatted Poo stance ) 


Her body language looks a bit sad.  Maybe she's not enjoying being on a Shortboard ?


So maybe you're New Year's Resolution should be to have more FUN surfing.   Not RIDING the soup on a Shortboard but actually SURFING the wave on the proper board for you level of surfing technique.  Surfing should be FUN, is riding a shortboard going to be fun for you this year ?  


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

( Oh,  and Happy New Year !! )






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Santa Five

Santa Claus finished his work for the year last week.  So with a well deserved break, what better way to spend it than going surfing and hanging out on the nose ?


Santa fades Lefts but intends to go Right. 

By fading it "extends" the length of the wave and tip time. 

It also a technique to time the lip to crash onto the tail of the board at the right moment. 


He stalls first befoe stepping forward.  Notice the large amount of air under the nose.  

Arms press weight down into the board. 

Knees soft and slightly bent.  Not stiff straight or squatted.  


Then for some reason Santa tucks down to trim in the center of the board.  Maybe he saw the wave flattening / fattening up.   

He drags his back hand to slow down, without having to resort to stepping back on the tail, thus staying in trim.  


Coming out of his tuck,  he waits for the lock of the tail and cross steps forward.  

Notice the "Slice" created in the waves face.  Water flows up and over the deck of the board.  


Extends the front leg to the nose and wraps the toes over.  Weight past the back foot until he feels the board / balance settle down.  


Body line and Weight is over the back foot.    Cheater Five accomplished.  


Santa makes it look easy, but there is so much more going on that you can't see.  


Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and enjoy more surfing in the New Year.  


Please check out to see more.  

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Duck diving and Christmas trees

It's winter time.  That means big winter waves and the need to duck dive more to get out to the break.  

But what also occurs during winter ?   Christmas trees. 



Take a look at these two cliparts.  What do you notice ? 

Green, yes. 

Star at the top, yes.  

and ..................

Wider at the bottom and Narrower at the top. 


Look at the distance between the red balls on the right tree.  Notice how far the bottom balls are away from each other compared to the balls at the top branches ?  


Same goes for distance from front to back of the wave.

Surfer in yellow duck dives under the breaking vertical lip of the wave.  Not at the base of the wave. 


She goes thru the wave, not so much under it.  She times her push down of the nose a split second before the push down of the tail with her back foot.  Her front foot counters the action like a karate kick.  


Surfer waits till the last moment to duck dive.  


Remember the wave is coming at you as you approach it.  Surfer in green might be duckdiving a bit early,  so he can get away from the impending collision of bodyboarder and longboarder.  


Notice he travels up with the water/energy flowing up the face.   Some surfers use that energy to push thru at the last moment up higher where the wave is thinner.  


Surfer in blue looks calm and composed as the wave approaches him.  He's about to push his arms down straight.  


As the nose goes down, he then push the tail down with the balls of his back foot to submerg the tail in unison.  


Be careful to not only push the nose down.  You need to sink the tail down too.   The rider in black shorts managed to get the nose thru, but without weight and momentum on the tail.   Without pushing the tail foward,  most likely the board will shoot out / slip out backwards into the oncoming surfer. 


Look closely and you can see the two circles made by the surfers duckdiving thru the throwing lip of the wave.  It shows where they penetrated the section of the wave before it went past vertical. 


If you can't duckdive due to size of board or lack of technique, it's better to paddle around the break, way outside the shoulder.  Also be careful not to follow others paddling out.  The girl surfer is duckdiving behind a surfer who is not paddling forward. Danger.


So winter waves maybe be bigger,  but that doesn't mean it'll be harder to duckdive.   It's not the size but the shape that matters most.   Try to be patient and aim for the point on the wave where it's thinner and go thru the wave, not under the whole base of it.  Like on a Christmas tree where it gets thinner the higher up you go.  



Hope you all have wonderful winter waves and are able make your way out to the peak.  Remember the shape of Christmas trees to help you duckdive ( and Turtle ) better.   That's my present to you, Merry Christmas.  


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







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