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Rail Loading - Use but use wisely

Rail Loading.  No, we're not talking about loading supplies on rail road trains.  We are talking about putting weight to one rail on your surfboard.  

 

Usually Rail Loading is done on Long Boards when walking to the nose.  It sets the rail to trim and concentrates the weight on the inside edge.  See both of her feet are to the Left of the stringer. 

 

But is Rail Loading always a good thing to do ?  It does give you more leverage BUT at a price. 

 

Here the rider is looking to go down the line on a steep fast breaking wave. Eyes are good but  ..........

1) She is leading with her elbow not her hand

2) Back hand is bracing on a invisible railing.  It should be coming across the chest.

3) Butt sticks out to lean, so head has to counter balance.

4) both toes are raising off the deck.

5) Both feet are to the Right of the stringer, Loading the Rail.  That in itself is not "bad", but wait.  

 

Here she senses the lip is crashing down on her, so she attempts to turn away.  

1)  forward arm's wrist turns from the wave which turns the shoulder inwards.

2) Her butt down lean is hard to recover from, she puts weight down on her toes.

3) board is still tracking down the line, no spray coming off the inside rail.

 

Too Late.  Can't straighten out and run towards the shore.  Pressure is too hard as the board is still tracking off the inside rail.  Toes come off the front.

 

And she gets AXED by the lip on the head.  If she was more centered on the board she could haved :

A ) Turn down and run straight

B ) Pig Dog rail grab with her back hand. Then pull Up and IN to the barrel.

 

Rider is Loading the right inside rail.  But he is too compacted.  Butt sticks out as the head is outboard of the rail.

 

Rider raises up his bottom to try to turns.  So that is more leaning to the opposite rail. Not turning off the tail/fins.

 

Which ends up throwing him over the outside rail.  Rail Loading is like all the passengers going to one side of the boat.  With a sudden change, you "rock the boat".   Better to stay centered, so you can make smooth adjustments. 

 

Life and Surfing is 50/50.  Even if you only like to go to one way on the wave, sooner or later you need to turn and cutback the other way.  Sometimes the wave is not perfect and you need to turn away to ESCAPE.  

 

Loading the Rail is an advance technique for surfers that understand the wave and their own ability on their board.  

You can use it, but use it wisely.   But for beginner-intermediates, I would recommend to just stay centered on your board. 

 

please check out Hope Cheng and Matsunosuke Kugenuma on FB and http://starb.on.coocan.jp/daily/daily0.html to see more. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pumping for speed - when Tic-Tacs becomes Tit for Tat

Sooner or later beginners are going to want to surf faster.  Maybe they're sick and tired of being caught by the whitewater or the breaking curl of the wave.   So how do you speed up ?   Well........... you could Tic-Tac.

 

Tic Tac's for surfing are similar to the Tic Tacs done for skateboarding.

Skateboarders pick up the nose and tap down the front wheels side to side to gain speed WITHOUT putting a foot down to push off the ground.  

 

Surfers do it very similar. Push the tail down with the back foot to let the nose rise. But at the same time, counter pressuring with the front knee.   It's almost a hop.  

( notice the riders foot is in front of his tail pad. He's not turning now, so he doesn't need to be that far back )

 

One BIG difference in Surfing and Skateboarding is you can't push the skateboard thru the concrete/ground.  But in Surfing we push down into the water.   Watch the riders head position as he extends his legs out to resist the waves' energy.

 

Head stays in the same level but he draws his feet up to his chest to relax and fall up the wave.   You do not go up and down, the BOARD goes up and down.  

 

Pumping and Tic Tac's require:

1) Quick movements

2) Hard angles of the board engaging the rails

3) Feet pushing down and relaxing at the proper moments

4) Vision to the future (  that's the Flow of connecting moves )

 

Study the two photos.

1) Arms swtich position to open and close the chest which twist the torso, waist, legs......

2) Back arm was up to be "light", now back arm rips down to go down.

3) Transition for INSIDE rail to OUTSIDE rail.

4) Still eyeing down the line.

( in the orange circle is the left over spray still falling from his pump upwards. )

 

So Pumping/Tic Tac's are easy, just go from rail to rail right?   NO, it's not only the WHAT but the WHERE and WHEN you do it.  

Good:

1) Eyes looking down the line

2) Inside rail engaged 

Not so good:

1) Front arm locked to the body,  which closes the chest, which causes the shoulder to block the head from fully turning.

2) Back arm reaching for a invisible wall. It should be coming across the chest.   WHY ?? because ...............

 

When the rail catches an edge, it will track on a line ( like a train on railroad tracks ) 

Her front arm finally opens, but it is too much too late.  

Now both hands are bracing since she is falling back

( notice the splash coming from her heel on her front foot )  

She turned up, but didn't react quickly enough to turn back down. 

 

You can go hard, but you have to quickly go hard back the other way immediatley. 

 

Tic Tac's are not so much a TURN but a succession of many SWERVES.   Quick LITTLE turns from side to side.  You can't hold the steering wheel over too long.   You can't fight the wave, you have to work with the wave's energy.  Know when to push down and dig in, when to un-weight and be light.   You can also think of Tic tacs as ZIG ZAGS.  

 

Here she is late as the lips is closing out in front of her.  But she keeps her vision up and out.  Unweights to get the nose up over the lip. 

 

And lets the wave's own energy re-direct her back down and out so she can get back on the clear open face.  

 

Tic Tacs and Pumping is NOT a beginner technique.  It takes timing and a lot of board control and wave knowledge.  If you don't have those, and find yourself stuck in the soup all too much, maybe it will be easier to make sections with a bigger board with more volume and length.  

 

Tit for tat is an English saying meaning "equivalent retaliation".   So yes if you do Tic Tacs right, you will be rewarded.  Done the wrong way, you will be punished.  

 

please check out http://starb.on.coocan.jp/daily/daily0.html to see more.  

 

 

 

 

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How to surf small mushy closeout beach break waves ?

How do you surf mushy closeout beach break waves ?   How can you turn and keep up speed in not so clean conditions ?   Easy, as the child songs goes "do a little Clap, Clap, Clap".

 

Mushy and closing out.  But still radical high performance snap.  How ?  He is using the power of two oncoming forces.  ( and hitting it on the flat bottom of his board squarely ) 

 

A good surfers "LOOKS" for point on the wave to turn off of.  Here you can see this block of water the rider turns off of.  Notice he turns / pivots of the rear of the board right over the fins.  

 

What separates the good from the average surfer is not the WHAT ( how to turn )  but the WHERE and WHEN to turn.

 

She went up the B lip at a tight angle with not so much speed.  Could she have waited and extended the bottom to turn off the oncoming A lip with more speed and trajection ?     

 

Timing and Patience are important.  But just as important is CONFIDENCE. 

You got to commit to hit the lip OR run away straighting out.  You can't do both.  

You got to believe you can make you turns.

You got to keep your eyes up and look to the future move. 

 

You can't be half-commited.  You have to go for it.  You have to have the knowledge of what the wave is doing so you can work with it.  Most of my rail to the shin bangs happen when I didn't fully commit to the turn.  When I was scared or didn't have the confidence.   Improve you technique so you gain that confidence.

 

Some people think a smaller board works better in small mushy waves since the angles are so tight.  But with a long(er) board you can get the nose to "Pop" up over the white water further and easier than with a shortboard.   Once the nose gets over the top, the wave energy redirects the board back down.  

 

Good surfers look for the best points to turn off of.  Here he turns right off the thin lip breaking in front of him.

 

the wave he was riding on and the wave coming at him combine. That energy SLAMS together, making a more powerful turn/spray.  

 

 

When you hit the lip ( always, not just in small mush ) you need to hit it as squarely and as flat as possible.  Imagine clapping with you fingers and palm not coming together,  strange huh ? 

 

Speed, Trajectory, Timing, Bodyline, Vision, Foot placement, all come together ........

 

for the rider to put 100% of his effort in to a tiny spot on the wave.  Then as the two wave collide, it pops the board and rider's butt back up so he can continue.  

 

Most of the time waves are NOT 3-5 foot, light off-shore and perfect A frames.  Conditions are usually 1 to 2 feet, on-shore and closing out.   But you CAN and need to make the most out of it.  Learn to surf with confidence and work with the wave.  Turn off of the opposing waves and work with the angles.   

 

please check out Hope Cheng on FB to see more. 

 

 

 

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Figuring out surf board VOLUME

In the past 2 decades with new technology in Computer Aided Design ( C.A.D. ) and the collapse of Clark Foam back in 2005,  the word VOLUME has been used a lot in choosing the right board for the surfer.  

 

With movies like "Blue Crush", surfers are dreaming of ripping big waves on their shortboards. 

 

But what is reality and being realistic ?  Do you ride waves that are high performance that matches the higher performing shortboard.   Would a longer board with more volume suit you and the wave better ? 

 

Going down in surf board size is like going up in C.C.s ( engine size ) for a motorcycle.  Can you handle the extra power ? Can you react more quicker ?   If you can't handle a 250cc., you shouldn't get a 1000cc. superbike.  If you can't turn a 7'6" fun board, you shouldn't buy a 6'2" shortboard.  

 

"But isn't a shorter board easier to turn ?"   No, like anything ( computers, bicycles, paint brush ), there is no potential on it's own, it needs the input of the rider.  Shortboards need to be ridden "On Rail",  not going straight in the whitewater. 

 

Less VOLUME means the rider needs to make and create speed, constantly moving from rail to rail.  A board with more volume has more float and easier for the beginner to stay on the wave.

 

To get stronger, you push yourself to lift a heavier weight.  In surfing,  you need to be able to turn a longer board with more VOLUME before moving down.    If you can't turn a 7'6", the answer IS NOT to get a 6'0".  Force yourself to ride ( and turn ) a 9'0" for a few weeks. Then later when you get back on the 7'6", you'll be able to turn it with ease.  

 

There are Advantages and Disadvantages to more volume.  A board with more volume can get on the wave earlier. A board with more volume can sit further out in the line up.  

 

The rider with the higher volume Fish/Hybrid got on the wave so early the shortboarders on the shoulder gave up paddling.  

 

Sometimes TOO MUCH VOLUME will hold you up on the face during take off.  Or if you don't have a good paddling and proper position at the peak.  

 

So how do we figure out VOLUME for a surf board ?  2 decades ago there wasn't Volume Calculators.  We got a board ( borrowed from the Uncle's on the beach ) and went for it.  As we learn to turn and ventured to different surf breaks, we went shorter and shorter.  

 

My advice is to forget VOLUME if you are not an Average / Advanced rider.   Go by LENGTH over your head.   

Learner/Newbie -  3 feet over your head  22-23" wide

Beginner / first board purchase -  two feet over your head  21-22" wide

Intermediate able to turn front and back side - foot to 1.5' over your head 20" wide

Average surfer in proper shortboarding waves - your height to little over.  19"+ wide

 

Once you start riding board the same height as you or shorter, you should already know what works for you.  VOLUME is a tool to fine tune your high level surfing technique.   Remember,  Ten different surfboard from Ten different shapers all with the exact same VOLUME, will all ride differently.   VOLUME is just one aspect.  Rail, Rocker, Outline, Tail design, Nose shape all affects how the board will respond......... not just VOLUME.  

 

Or you can figure out your board VOLUME this way.  Try different boards.  Take notes of what gets you on the wave, lets you turn and control the board from start to finish.  If the SOFTBALL setting was too easy and the FAST pitch setting was too frustrating , then stay where you are having fun on the SLOW pitch setting.  

 

If you can't get on to waves, drop is too scary, board is too squirrely to control,  maybe your board doesn't have enough VOLUME.   If you are having fun, catching waves enjoying the ride, your surfboard VOLUME should be just about right.  

 

please check out Matsunosuke Kugenuma and Philippine Surf Report on FB and http://starb.on.coocan.jp/daily/daily0.html to see more.  

 

 

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What's a better fin for noseriding ? Hatchet fin or Dolphin shape fin ?

What's the best fin for noseriding ?  So many choices:

Hatchet, D-fin, Nuuhiwa, Greenough, lot of rake / no rake, lot of base / less base, Thin tip / big ball on the end, and on and on.  

 

Look here at the line off the water up and over the board.  Notice the tail is fully engulfed under the lip of the wave ?

 

It's the crashing down lip of the breaking wave that makes the counter-weight for you to be up front.  The wave is your friend on the other side of the See-Saw. 

 

Does it take a good size and fast breaking wave to noseride ?  No, it takes patience, timing and knowing where to be on the wave ( even on small ones ).   Notice she is getting a good "LOCK" of the wave wrapping over the deck of her board.  

 

Taking confident cross-steps,  not herky-jerky shuffles is neccesary to keeping the board flowing smoothly.  Water cascading off the rails.  Tail locked down.  

 

Where your board is on the wave is important to get a good LOCK.  But also important is where you YOURSELF are on the board.  She loads the inside rail by walking to the right of the center stringer.  Slice of the wave creating that good diagonal line flowing across the deck locking down the tail.  

 

And like most things in surfing, it all starts from a good Bottom Turn.   The bottom turn in essense is a Stall that you can use to set-up a noseride.

 

Strong lock and walk up right immediately after the bottom turn.  

 

So what's the best fin for noseriding ?  I don't know.  What ever fin that allows you to turn, maneuver and place the board in the proper spot on the wave and the right moment.    What is more important to noseriding is the LOCK creating by the lip of the wave that holds down the tail ( NOT the fin ).  

 

please check out Matsunosuke Kugenuma on FB and http://starb.on.coocan.jp/daily/daily0.html to see more.  

 

 

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Reverse Triangle pop up

Last week we talk about the "Forward Triangle" not being a good thing.  So does the opposite, the Reverse Triangle, work better ? 

 

Getting your head over your back foot, creates the Reverse Triangle stance.  Most of the body weight / pressure is over the back foot.   Good ? Bad ? 

 

Your foot should be over the fins more near to the tail of the board WHEN you are TURNING.  If you are taking the drop, you don't necessarily need that much pressure.   Better to be in a balanced stance so you can make slight adjustments back or forth.  

 

Beginners are afraid to pearl ( nose dive ), so some are told to put more pressure on the back foot to "keep" the nose up.  I disagree with that advice.  Too much and you stall ( slow down ).  Then later with the weight shift at the bottom, you get bucked off.  

 

Head over the back foot creates the Reverse Triangle stance.  She wants to go left, but her body is twisting to the right.   

 

At the bottom of the wave, she compresses and squats.  The head goes more between the feet now. But now she is more leaning than turning.  The Reverse Triangle led to a overly wide stance making her stance stiff and too compressed. 

 

Yes, there are times when a too light person on a too big board needs to do whatever it takes to turn.  Here she's beginning to come out of the bottom turn,  so she leans waaaaay back.   But her heel comes off the deck, which cuts out power.  

 

If you are a GLUE FOOT surfer, most likely you'll end up in a REVERSE or FORWARD Triangle stance.  Her foot stays in place so the butt/head has to move back.  It is better to step back with the back foot.  ( holding an invisible wall isn't good either )

 

Life is 50/50.  Good day / Bad day.  Nice people on the train / Rude people on the train.  Sunny / Rainy.   Same for surfing.  You can't be too forward or too far back.  You can't only go Right, sooner or later on the wave you need to turn Left.    The secret to Life and Surfing is Balance.  Be centered.      (  and don't surf too much too long, you gotta wake up for work tomorrow. )

 

please check out Phillipine Surf Report on FB and http://starb.on.coocan.jp/daily/daily0.html to see more.  

 

 

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Surfing Pop Up

Are you having problems Riding down the wave, Bottom turning, Getting tossed in the soup ?  I always recommend to look 2 steps back.   Your problem might be your Pop Up / Stance.  

 

Problem #1:   Not Letting Go.

Not letting go of the rail means you're not confident or scared to stand up fully.  But that causes the head and upper body to go past the right rail and the butt to counter the other way.  

 

The one hand down compacts the body.  The HANDS not hand, should push off the deck not just let go of the board.  Notice she is on her back foot toes, not flat to the board. Very unstable.  Look down Go down.  

 

Problem #2:   Forward Triangle

"I want to go down the wave faster",  so people think to push down on the front foot.  BUT NO.  You drive the board forward by the pushing against the tail.  You steer with your front foot.   That front foot bias creates the Forward triangle stance.  ( looking down makes you stiff too )

 

Here the triangle is even more extreme.  He probably read that your back foot should be on the pad ( over the fins ).  That is true when you turn, but not taking off. One hand down throws his head forward and flings the front hand back to counter balance.  He's all twisted up !

 

Problem #3:   Butt out, Side eye, Outrigger,

Broken body line

Half standing up.  Body line is broken.  Head is NOT over the butt.  He is consciously trying to keep his vision up and out, but he looking from the side.  ( still little bit scared to let go or reaching out for an invisible railing to supoort him that isn't there )

 

1) broken bodyline.  Upper body / head goes past the rail ( butt will stick out the other way to counter balance )

2) reaching for an invisble railing

3) front foot pointed to the rail at 9 o'clock  ( should be more to 10-11 o'clock for a goofy footer ) 

4) front hand should be leading but now just defending 

 

"What's a good board ?  Can a shortboard help me turn better ?  I can't catch green faces, is PU better than Epoxy ?" 

 

All that DOES NOT matter if you don't have the basics of the most basics part of surfing down.  A good paddle and a good pop up.   Don't worry about how fast you can run if you can't walk properly.  And if you can't even crawl yet ................ then what ?

 

If you want to get better at surfing, learn step by step.  Master one technique before moving on to the next. It's not just my rule......

 

 

please check out Phillipine Surf Report on FB to see more.  

 

 

 

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How to surf small mushy waves on a shortboard ?

How do surf small mushy waves, particularly on shortboard ?

 

  

Even in Small Mushy waves, it is still possible to do radical turns.  But it's not only choosing the right board and fin set up.   It is being in the right place on the board and the board in the right place on the wave.  

 

To do extreme turns in mediocre conditons, you need to create extreme angles.  Rider rips his armback and across his chest.  Opens his chest to the face of the wave.

 

Then slams the door back shut.   Board comes from hard inside rail to hard outside rail.  Extreme angles mean more movement of water.  

 

1) Flat straight lines aren't aggressive. 

2) Reaching out trying to brace against an inivisble wall.

3) Bodyline broken kills power.

4) Stiff legs equal Stiff movements. 

 

Less angles equals less spray and movement.  Notice her tight cocked stiff arms and body versus the rider two photos above ?   On a shorter board, there is less room for error. 

 

 

Going straight in, is no good either.   You need to try to get on the face so you board/rail can trim across.  "So what if there's no face and it's just a closeout ?"   Then the waves/ride is over, nothing you can do. 

 

"On small wave my shortboard feels so unstable/squirrely,  so should I Crouch / Squat down ?"    No, your bent knees touching your chest CUTS OUT the power transfer from body thru to board.  

 

Riding Small Mushy Closeouts you need to be even more PRO-ACTIVE.   You need to begin your move BEFORE you see it, not just be RE-ACTIVE after the fact.  

 

Rider sees the throwing lip and times the rolls from inside rail to hit the lip on the flat bottom ( for more stability/float ) and eyes his landing spot before the top of the turn.  

 

Waist high wave going Straight Up Vertical.  You don't need Big waves to do Big moves.  

 

Shortboards are high performance vehicles for riding in high performance waves. If the waves are small and mushy, should you be on a shortboard ?  Or woud it be easier on larger board ............ Hmmmmm ? 

 

please check Matsunosuke Kugenuma on FB and http://starb.on.coocan.jp/daily/daily0.html to see more.  

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Layback turn

"How do you do a Layback turn ?"   Well for starters,  you need to be able to do really good cutbacks first. 

 

Usually the term Layback is included when describing a deep Cutback. So deep the rider's back touches the water.  

 

Somethings to notice in a Layback:

1) hand or butt drag.

2) fin(s) out.

3) closing radius turn as flows around the pivot point.

4) most of rail engage or flat to the wave.  

 

Hand and/or Butt creates a braking / pivot point.  

 

Sometimes a hand back/down acts as a support.  The curl of the waves helps to pop the rider back onto the board after the layback.  

 

Deep Layback Hack.  Butt and Hand buried into the wave. Front foot pulling the board back under the rider.

 

Curl of the wave throwing the lip over helps to push the rider's Butt back over the deck.  ( also a lot of core strength is needed to pull youself up )

 

Another version is a Layback Slide, in which you pop up on to a closeout or oncoming lip.   Almost like a floater, but this time you layback.  

 

Again the back hand and Butt act as a support.   Front foot draws the board back under the body.  

This is a good way to start practicing Laybacks. 

 

 This longboarder is doing a fall back, not layback.  

 

Laybacks are normally down with one hand down and one hand up.  If you're really daring like this girl, you can do "Double-Handed" Laybacks, but those really torque the shoulders out.   And still another version is where you transfer from back hand to front hand thru the turn ( that's if your name is Dane Reynolds ).   

 

Before you do Laybacks, you need to be really good at doing regular Cutbacks first.   Timing and a lot of speed and speed control is needed, so you can pop back up from the laying down position and link your turns.  

 

please check out Philippines Surf Report and Hope Cheng on FB to see more.   

 

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Frontside cutback / Backside bottom turn

When you turn "backside", you go away from your frontside.  So for a regular foot surfer, turning left is going backside, if just for a moment.

 

Frontside cutback.  Board rolls from inside right rail, to flat bottom ( this photo ), then to outside right rail.  

Look closely at the rider's technique.  What do you see that is good ?  

 

What's wrong here ?   

1) back arm goes up instead of across the chest.

2) front arm is bracing against a invisible wall.

3) butt gets way past the heels. 

 

1)

1) front arm is locked to the body.

2) front arm is trying to steer just from the wrist.

3) bodyline broken.

4) back arm goes up.

5) head goes past butt, butt goes past heels.

 

Which leads to arms switching positions to try to catch himself.   But the action is opposite of the turn. 

( a lot of this could be remedied by turning his front foot to the 11 o'clock position instead of 9 o'clock ) 

 

He wants to go Left, but his body is showing Right.  

 

Front hand should lead the turn, back arm should come across the chest.   Here it is opposite. 

 

Which leads to the rider getting bucked off the board. 

( he is also to far forward to the middle of the board to turn, he needs to get his back foot over the fins )

 

Sometimes a hand up is for style, which is okay.  Drop-knee cutback.  Bodyline in line with deck.

 

Shoulder alignment going against the turn. Butt way behind feet.  

 

Remember the first photo ?  What was the good technique ?

1) Eyes looking thru the turn.

2) Front arm leads the turn.

3) Back arm comes across the chest.

4) Head stays over the feet.

5) " I " beam effect of the angle of deck and the rider's shoulders. 

 

Surfing is 50/50.  You can't only go right all the time. Sooner or later you need to turn backside to utilize the whole wave and get the most out of your surfing.  

 

please check out Hope Cheng on FB to see more.

 

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