Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How I do it: Back side, paddle-to-the-outside top turn.

Top turning a big, wide stando is tough. I've got two different top turn techniques- I decide which one I'm going to use based on the size and power of the wave I'm surfing. Down here, I've been riding pretty small, mushy waves so it's been a lot easier to complete my top turns using a paddle-to-the-outside approach. Here's what I do. 

First, get a solid bottom turn figured out.  If you can't come off the bottom with speed, you'll just bog in the lip and probably fall out the back. Riding a smaller board, like the 8'6 Stamps that I'm on here, helps but don't let the size of your board hold you back- learn to whip that thing off the bottom.

Thanks to Jeff Wallis for all of the following shots!

This is a bottom turn with the paddle to the outside. Notice how small and mushy this wave is- a perfect time for the paddle to the outside top turn.
I'll go with paddle-on-the-outside on small, weak waves because I know that when I get to the top, there won't be much power up there for me to get the board out of the lip and back down into the wave. I'll need to use the paddle to assist me in getting the board all the way around and back down into the wave. Here's the whole sequence:

Compare where I'm looking from the shot above to this one. Notice in the above picture I'm looking over my shoulder to where I want to go. In this shot, I've turned my head and am letting the board start up the face. Turning your head and looking to where you want to go is key.
So this is what I'm talking about- a super gutless wave requires some paddle drag assistance to get that turn going. Here, I'm dragging the paddle, using it to pull me around through the turn. Notice I'm still looking where I want to go.
As the board starts to come around, start putting your back leg into the turn, pushing the board through the last few degrees of arc.
Carry the turn further through the arc then you think you should- believe me, it's not as big of a hack as you think it is- pushing it further looks a lot better than a half-turn so go for it (by the way- I could have pushed this much further).
The paddle-to-the-outside top turn is great for weak waves but don't be afraid to crank it on bigger stuff too. The beauty of reaching down with your blade to pull you around out of the lip is that it gets your weight over your toes and onto your inside rail (go back and look at the third photo and  you can see how I'm leaning over that inside rail). Often, surfers don't get their weight transferred across to that rail enough to really apply power with their legs- burying the paddle forces your weight where it should be. 

Personally, I don't think that a bottom turn with the paddle to the outside looks as good as a bottom turn with the paddle to the inside. If you're going to crank it with paddle to the outside, try to keep the blade low through the bottom turn. You don't want to bottom turn with your paddle held straight up in the air like a tall-flag majorette in front of a marching band- that looks lame, so if possible keep the paddle level and low. 

Next time, we'll run through the much tougher top turn- paddle-to-the-inside.


Anonymous said...

thanks for this great post! would love to hear how you break down the bottom and top turns on the front side as well. do you move your back foot to the inside rail, for example, after you have completed the bottom turn so that you can turn the board back off the lip? from your post, i'm wondering if i'm losing too much speed in the bottom turn, because i am having a hard time bringing the board back around off the lip. from watching other videos, it seems as if i should just be able to transfer my weight from my toes to my heels in order to get the torque required for the top turn, but i just can't seem to get enough power at the moment! cheers, --james

John Ashley said...

Hey James!

Glad it was helpful- I'll write a post about a frontside top turn after I do the paddle-to-the-inside top turn.... but you've got to sign up as the 115th Follower... deal?

Unknown said...

Now that looks fun!

Anonymous said...

Deal! I subscribed to the RSS FEED a while ago, but didn't realize there was another way to follow. -james

John Ashley said...

Sweet- I'll talk about that turn tomorrow... Thanks! 115 looks so much better than 114.