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.|
|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.