Here’s a raw video breakdown. I know a lot of you have been asking for this for a while. And we’ve wanted to do produced tech videos, but the reality is we spend all the time making it polished and at the end of the day we can’t convey as much info. It’s why I love podcasts and why instead of doing the polished videos I figured we try some raw breakdowns first. This is as raw as it gets, it’s like sitting down over breakfast and going through footage. This type of analysis is how I learn and practice…
Let me know if you all like it and I can knock out more. Pretty easy and I have a boatload of footage.
Last week I headed down to Grand Bahama with the family (we were forced to leave the United States to renew our international health care), and it just so happened that the Pryde Group dealer meeting was going on at Taino Beach. Now, this wasn’t exactly a coincidence, Garry Menk, head of Pryde Group Americas, is a good friend and when I told him we had to leave the US, he invited us to come down, check out the new 2018 gear, learn to kite and sit down with Werner Gnigler the shaper for JP.
Werner’s roots are from windsurfing, first a competitor at the highest level, then shaper and designer. As JP moved into standup, Werner took the best of windsurfing design and tech and applied those elements to his paddle surf boards. Working with the likes of Keahi de Aboitiz (podcast here), Werner has refined his SUP designs to be some of the best in the sport. The new JP 7.6 x 27 is an incredible board.
On the show we get very technical about his shapes, board technologies, fin setups and innovation process. This is definitely a show for the paddle surfing nerds, and one you could listen to a couple times… Enjoy
Here’s a simple cheatsheet for foot position in surfing.
You can break maneuvers into two categories. Speed conserving/generating and speed killing.
Foot position for speed conserving/generating maneuvers is generally on top of or right in front of (towards the nose) the front fin on the inside (in the water) rail.
Foot position for speed killing turns, sharper snaps and cutbacks, is on the back fin, inside rail.
Front foot position should almost always be on the stringer (center) and in a vertical location where you have access without moving it to the tail.
Spray signature is a good way to tell what type of turn is happening. Conserving turns, done off the front fin, use the rail and spray is smaller and thicker. These turns aren’t your best photos normally. (weak wave, wrapping back into the pocket. Below)
Big sprays come from turning velocity into force and throw water off the tail. Fins out turns, tight snaps. (Steep section, sliding tail, killing speed, but lots of potential energy. Below)
Placement of turns –
Speed conserving turns are done in areas of low potential energy on the wave. The bottom of the wave for bottom turns, the weak shoulder for cutbacks. (Rail buried, weight forward, back foot over larger front fin. Below)
Speed burning turns should be done in areas of high potential energy where you can burn your speed and then “drop” back into the wave regaining velocity. Think a skater stalling at the top of a vert ramp. He can rest for a second and then redrop. Same holds true for surfing, tail throwing turns off the lip kill the majority of your speed, but you’re high on a steep section of the wave, so regain velocity on the drop.
(Lots of spray show that the top turn killed speed, but all the speed you need is in the wave, all potential energy. Below)
On April 4th, after 6 months of my wife having strange symptoms, many trips to the states and specialists, I took her for a brain MRI in San Jose. All the doctors we’d seen said that wasn’t necessary, but a feeling I couldn’t shake made me say, “why not, it’s only 4 hours, we’ll be back at midnight, and I’ll be coaching in the morning.”
That MRI showed a large tumor. We flew back to the states with the clothes on our backs 14 hours later, and 24 hours after that she had her first of three surgeries. These past 5 weeks have been the most difficult and most beautiful of our lives. Sarah is doing great, and the outpouring of love and support from family and friends has been amazing.
She is pushing me to write about the experience, and I might do that in the future, but I’m not sure how to do that yet. We’ve learned a lifetime of lessons, I know they would be more beneficial than anything I’ve shared about surfing, but it’s still too fresh.
Our need to be close to exceptional neuro care and desire to be close to family has forced a move back to the states. We decided on Jacksonville Beach and just bought a beautiful little house right next to a new skatepark. Damo is frothing on it.
I wasn’t sure if I’d continue to coach paddle surfing, but it turns out my love of coaching is almost as deep as my love of surfing. I’ve found myself training family in the gym, helping a good friend navigate a career change with perspective on quality life and family, and now, in Jax working on stroke technique with new friends in the neighborhood. I guess coaching has become a part of me in these past few years.
And actually, after surfing here for a few days, small surf is much better for fundamental learning. Growth edge can only be pushed in one direction, and these small conditions are perfect for stroke, footwork, and opening turn game – and that’s where 80% of my coaching has been focused.
I’m not sure of the format yet, but I’ll probably take on a few clients in the area. I’ve had some offers over the past year to coach in amazing locations and I’ll be thinking about that when the dust settles for our family, so maybe Fall/Winter trips. If you’re interested, reach out.
This week was focused on understanding bottom turns. I was frustrated with the new Rawson (7.9×26) on the bottom of the wave.
Some notes on the board – At 7.9 it’s a bit bigger than what I’ve been riding. It has an extreme tail rocker with fins a bit farther forward than my other boards. The board trims forward of center, so doesn’t carry speed off the tail.
All that said, I know it surfs amazing because I have a ton of Mo footage riding it better than anyone rides any board. So the problem is with the rider at this point.
I got frustrated on Tuesday, and decided to figure it out. This is my normal process for learning/refining a skill.
Go to the source. In this case Mo. I broke down Mo videos for an hour or so. I found the Cali video most helpful (below). After watching a few times I started to realize how much rail he’s putting in the water. Also, back foot, which on a thruster is normally right on top of the back inside rail fin, seems to be a touch farther forward. It made sense to me, with a looser tail, you’d need more rail, but I didn’t realize how much Mo is burying the rail until now. His bottom turn looks a lot like that of Julian Wilson, very compact and low.
Go drill. I rode the Rawson for the next 2 sessions and still couldn’t get it. I had some great moments, off the lip game is strong with the tail rocker and quad, but bottom game was still lacking.
Try other equipment. At this point I rode 3 different boards for the next 3 sessions. The small 7.7×24 Hobie, the L41 6.10×26 and the bigger Hobie at 7.6×26.5. Bottom turns felt better and focusing on the bottom turn with the three different boards really allowed me to dial in the feel and foot placement. But, I still didn’t have the a-ha moment.
Back to the video… This time I took the last few days of me surfing and broke it down with the below video. That’s when I saw it. Directly preceding Mo’s bottom turn he’ll do a stroke into the flats. I always thought it was stylish, but never gave it much thought outside of speed. But, it has massive implications for the bottom turn.
Boards turn on rail better when the wave face has the greatest opposed angle. So, bottom turns are easier in the flats and cutbacks are easier when the wave is bending at you. Have you ever tried to lay down a huge carve on a wave bending away? It’s almost impossible. So, that extra stroke isn’t as much about speed as it is about clearing distance into the flats which allows more rail penetration and a tighter bottom turn. Which, if your riding a loose quad, is needed to maintain speed to the lip.
The video above on instagram is after 2 days of practicing the paddle into the flats. Bottom turns are grabbing and redirecting like I’ve never felt before.