How To Put More Power Into Backside Turns
Backside Power By Seth Elmer
The beginning of the turn is the most important, because once your line is activated, you must commit 100 percent. This is where the most spray is thrown. If you’ve generated enough speed, have come off the bottom, and are now approaching the face with your rail in the correct position to carve – you’re set up to throw a huge, fast-carving snap.
Backside snaps are temperamental at this stage, because it’s very easy to apply too much pressure in the turn. If you apply too much, you’ll dig rail and eat it. Applying too little pressure makes it look weak, and doesnà•t appear to the viewer as a completed turn. If you feel you have the speed, the line, and the power at this pointÐ you’re now in the driver’s seat to lay into the turn.
This sequence of my turn is where I had enough speed to torque the snap with as much pressure as I could possibly apply. This is the time and place where training pays off. If you’ve ever noticed, the most powerful surfers have very strong abs. For example, Tom Carroll Ðhis body is so strong he has always been able to execute the most gut-carving snaps ever. If you study the surfers with strong stomachs, you’ll notice they use their gut as the center source of all their turns.
Keith Malloy and Taylor Knox are other excellent examples of surfers who use their abs when they turn. Tom Carroll once said: “It’s all in the stomach.” This will always prove true when you need the stability to hold your turn in a critical part of the wave. You must have strong oblique muscles (the right and left sides of your abs) as well as strong lower and upper ab muscles.
Release the pressure and return to the original state of speed. One of the most difficult aspects of doing a snap like this is maintaining your speed throughout the turn. If you have the same amount of speed coming out of the turn as you did going in, you’ve successfully completed the turn. The number-one example of this quality would be Kelly Slater. He will either increase his speed or maintain it. He does this more consistently than any other surfer. Executing the proper body mechanics will help you return to the source of your speed.
Whatever you do, give it 100 percent. Find the areas in your surfing you need to work on. If your equipment is not allowing your surfing to bloom, work on getting the right boards until your problem is solved. If your weakness is physical, watch the best surfers perform; study the body mechanics involved. If you need a stronger mid-section, work on it and maintain it with consistency. Surf longer or thicker boards to build your strength, and then switch back down to your standard dimensions. Best of luck.ÐSeth Elmer