Put Your Back Into It
Drew Danielo drops the knowledge on surfing backside.
Words: Drew Danielo
Once you have mastered surfing frontside, it is always a blast to totally reteach yourself and learn how to surf backside. This is a little tricky at first, but you’ll get it in no time — here are a few tips that will help.
1. When you get pulled up backside and you are just learning, it helps to cheat your feet closer to the heelside edge of the board. This will help keep you locked in the wave. The most typical problem with surfing backside is that beginners will keep their shoulders in line with their feet and turn out of the wave. To remedy this, keep your head looking at the back of the boat and keep your shoulders twisted more toward the back of the boat. This will keep you locked in the sweet spot.
2. When you get up and are riding the wave, remember to keep the rope in your hand. Hold it with your front hand and feel out the wave and how it feels to be on your heels. You want to keep a little more weight on your heels than when you’re riding frontside, and use your weight on your front foot and back foot to speed up and slow down. If you are getting stuck at the top of the wave, put a little weight on your toes and less on your heels. If you are getting stuck at the bottom of the wave or riding out from the wave, add a little weight to your heels and make sure you’re opening your shoulders up toward the back of the boat.
3. Once you start riding and can stay on the wake, you will notice the rope going slack. At this point you can throw the rope to your buddies and start free riding. Remember to use your weight on your front and back foot to keep you speeding up or slowing down and staying in the sweet section of the wake by anticipating any change in speed.
4. When you are ready to throw down a new trick, the first thing to start with is a backside 180. The easiest way is to start out riding switch frontside on the wave. When you’re up and riding, reach into the wave and slowly spin yourself into a backside 180 by bringing the leading tip of the board up and over the top of the wave until you are now riding regular backside on the wave. Now all your friends are freaking out and yelling how cool that was, but just keep your cool and your weight on your heels. After you settle down, you can spin a frontside 180. Bend your knees so you can reach the top of the wave with your hand. Reach into the wave and slowly pull yourself around frontside, bringing the nose of the board up and over the top of the wave. Now you are riding switch frontside again and cruising.
5. Once you have mastered those moves you can link them into a frontside 360. Start out riding backside behind the boat. Build some speed and reach down and grab the wave. Spin up toward the top of the wave and let yourself go all the way around. Keep your head looking over your leading shoulder until you spot the back of the boat. Once you see it, keep your head looking at the boat and allow your spin to slow down so when you hit 360 you can stop spinning and cruise again.