Setting Trim Line Frontside from Surf Stance

Erik Antonson
Erik Antonson
May 8, 2016

Morning folks and Happy Mother’s Day.  We’re headed up the coast in a bit with the family to hang on the beach for the day.  The wave where we’re going is a nice little right point break, but it can be pretty soft.  We surfed it on the film trip with Kalama, Colin and Boehne (it gets good when it’s pumping) and I had a terrible session riding the starboard, that board doesn’t go well in flatter sections, but my plan for today is to try and figure it out.  What I’m specifically going to try to work on is to see if doing a slingshot frontside cutback and focusing on using the tail for the turn will hold better.  The problem is that the front rails are fat and they dig if you bury them, and slow down the turn.

On to the daily…  Since we discussed surf stance in such depth over the past 4 days, I thought giving you a compelling reason to work on it might help get you there…  In coaching I continuously see folks not getting down the line on good waves because they are getting situated on their boards while the wave is running away from them.  Or, the latter, and very ugly, is when folks paddle into the wave in parallel stance and then realize the wave will run away and “ski” down the line.  The stance that looks like snow skiing, but with only one pole.  In that case, you might make the wave, but you’re not going to be able to maneuver.  You’ll see a lot of heel rail digs from skiers and some pretty bad wipeouts.

Now that you’ve learned surf stance, the big advantage is being able to set your rail right off the drop.  As you’re paddling into the wave (let’s focus on frontside right now) you should be gauging how fast the wave is going to peel down the line.  With that data you can then decide at what angle you need to set your rail.  Setting your rail is engaging your toe side rail by leaning on it, bracing on your paddle for balance, which will turn your board in the toe side direction.  This is the beginning of the bottom turn, but done high up on the wave to conserve potential energy.  The higher you stay on a wave, the more energy because the wave is steeper in that area and the more potential energy (acceleration) you have when you decide to come down.  So, you gauge how fast the wave is going to run, set your rail and run down the line.    And being in surf stance means that that’s all you have to think about when your catching the wave.  You move up or back on your board depending on the speed you need or how much you want to turn.  Turning comes off the tail, and speed comes farther up on the board.





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  • Elias

    Awesome posts Erik! I’m loving the content. Question regarding the deck pad situation you referred to in your post; I have a board that came without a deck pad (Jimmy Lewis SuperTech). Do you suggest having at least front traction pads (like you have and have seen a few others sport)

    • Erik -- PaddleWoo

      Hey Elias. I would suggest having a tail pad and most likely a front pad too. What size board is it? On smaller boards you don’t use all of your board. I think it is imperative to have a tail pad so you can tell where your fins are and where your tail is while moving back. The tactile feel helps automate the process. I, personally, like the front pad. Here in Costa Rica it’s though to get wax to stick and it’s so hot that even tropical wax will get a bit slick if you’re standing in the same spot for a while. I have tried a few boards without the pad and didn’t realize how much it change how I feel the board until I put a pad on this starboard for the first time. It felt like it added 5 liters of float in the increased balance. After doing it and talking about it on the progression project, I’ve seen that Zane puts a pad up front not too. Now, Colin and Bohne both use wax up front, but say they don’t like it here in the warm water. But in Cali it’s fine… Last plus I’ll mention is that it will save your deck a bit. You won’t get as big of pressure dings from where you’re standing. E

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