How To: Stall For A Backside Barrel With Dane Reynolds
As seen in the new (June 2013) issue of TransWorld SURF magazine. Subscribe today and get a free gift!
This somewhat-awkward-yet-functional stall might have been intentional, or it's simply the product of a warbly and unpredictable wave. Either way, the Dane Reynolds sequence above demonstrates how learning to adapt to changes on a wave will ultimately lead to glory.—Nick Jiampa
Setting up barrels off of the bottom turn is all about timing, so pick a spot on the wave where you want to get to and try to time it so that you can get there just as the lip is pitching. This will take a ton of practice and trial and error, but you'll usually want to burn a little bit of speed by digging into a bottom turn to match how fast the barrel section is going. If it's just one short pitching section, you'll want to slow way down. If it's roping down the line, do your bottom turn at a slighter angle to project out with more speed.
Every wave is a little bit different, so sometimes you'll end up getting out in front of a wave, and you can start to tinker with how to get back in the sweet spot. Instead of taking a really aggressive line, take a second to look back, pull a quick little speed check, and then stall while the barrel section materializes.
Once you burn off a little speed, the wave will pass you by if you don't position yourself well. Get high up on the wave so that you can quickly get a burst of speed by dropping back down the face.
When the wave starts to pitch over you, grab a rail and get low so that you're balanced and streamlined to best be able to stall or pump in the barrel on your backhand. Lean forward and use your front hand to dig in if you need to slow down.
The cliché about tube riding is that you just pull in and go straight. In reality, the best guys are constantly adjusting to little changes in the wave, whether that's pumping through a fast section, stalling harder, taking a higher or lower line, and lots of other things.
While you're changing or stretching on the beach before your paddle out, survey the conditions and notice what the better surfers are doing and what kind of lines they're drawing. This will help you be more prepared for what the waves will offer.
Sometimes you'll be heading into a huge bottom turn ready to go straight into a grab-rail stall or a big vertical smack and the wave will have different plans, so be ready for anything as you bottom turn. Don't let a backwash warble or a seaweed speed bump throw you off your game.
Choosing how deep your bottom turn is really depends on how much speed you want to burn. Often, if your bottom turn is too deep then you'll end up not being able to make it back up the face with enough time to get barreled or do a turn, and if your bottom turn is too quick you'll just outrun any hollow sections.
Andy Irons was one of the best backside barrel riders of all time. Watch his section from High Five and take notes from the best ever.