This is another manoeuvre that has been labelled as simply a “trick” and “not a functional manoeuvre” in the competition arena. However, Joel Tudor frequently pulled them off in competitions in good sized surf with no leash – just because he could! They are a fun manoeuvre to try and probably one of the first “tricks” you will attempt on your longboard. Photo above courtesy of www.jamiebottphotography.com
There are a number of ways to perform this manoeuvre, but they all involve the same key elements:
- Early wave entry – by paddling as fast as possible.
- Staying relaxed and light footed.
- Keeping your head up to maintain balance.
- Lying further back on the board than normal for the take off, (to keep the fins out of the water).
- Assuming a slightly wider stance than normal.
Method 1 – The Traditional Method
Start paddling for the wave when it is at least 3 board lengths away, as you need to get into the wave well before the wave starts pitching. As you feel the approaching swell lifting the tail of the board, angle the nose slightly to one side depending on which way you want the board to rotate. As soon as you feel you have caught the wave, jump to your feet but stay low in a crouched position for balance.
As the board travels down the face of the wave, put 50% of your weight on your inside rail. The fins should lock in the wave face and your board will naturally turn itself 180 degrees (It will turn very quickly, so be ready and stay light footed). The board will now be facing the correct way, but you will be facing backwards to the beach and be slightly disorientated as you will be standing in the opposite way to your natural stance. All that is left to do now is switch stance and continue on your way.
Method 2 – The Switch Foot
This is essentially the same as method 1, however instead of jumping to your feet in your normal stance, you pop up with your opposite foot forward, i.e. if you are natural footed, you jump up in the goofy foot stance. This saves you switching stance once the board has rotated and stops you losing time and speed, as you can get straight into your bottom turn without breaking the flow. However, trying to force yourself to pop up in your unnatural stance is a lot harder than it sounds when you are looking down the face of a large wave!
“All you do is hang on and go with the flow.”–Jye Byrnes.
Method 3 – The Shove It
This method is more of a skate board manoeuvre and requires a modern lightweight longboard to pull it off. Paddle into the wave as before, and as the board starts to travel down the face of the wave, put 50 % of your weight on your toe side edge and set the rail. Next, put all your weight onto your front foot and lean forward. As soon as you do this, the board will start rotating. With your weight slightly over your front foot, you need to “shove” the tail of the board around behind your back by first lifting your back foot up in the air, and then your front foot in quick succession as the longboard rotates underneath you.
This method requires you to assume a more upright stance than the previous methods, so stay very light on your toes. This is by far the hardest method, but looks the most impressive if you pull it off!
“Make sure you keep some weight on your front foot so the fins stay in the water – otherwise you will look like a goose just going straight.” –Jared Neal.
Lee Ryan – Photo sequence: Jamie Bott www.tubeframe.com
Tip: The Fin First take off is easier to accomplish in a 2-3ft wave than a 1ft wave, as the longboard has more face to rotate in and therefore, there is less chance of you catching a rail.
Jenny Smith making it look easy – Photos: “Moonwalker” www.moonwalkerphotos.com
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