Late Drops with Todd Prestage

“Paddle as hard as you can, close your eyes, and hope for the best.”¿Todd Prestage

Step One:When the wave comes through, usually you don’t have any time. You go over a two-foot wave and there’s a six-foot wave sitting right there. You have to turn around, and paddle as hard as you can. It all comes down to your paddle. If you can paddle into it fast enough, and get into it as quickly, it’ll make it a lot easier for you.

Step Two:Get down the wave, because you’ve more or less hit a backdoor peak. Here I’m completely stretched. Concentrate on getting through the flat section and up into the barrel with enough speed to make it through the barrel.

Step Three: Stay crouched, and concentrate on the landing.

Step Four: Try to get a rail in the water so you can bottom turn up into the barrel.

Steps Five and Six:Get up into the tube. Once you’re in the tube, it’s fine. The wave is open enough and you’ll come flying out.


So Todd, when you were paddling for this wave, did you realize that the bottom was going to drop out on you?This place I’m surfing is one of those spots where every wave is a late drop. If you make the drop, you get the barrel of your life. If you don’t, you end up on the reef. That day was no different than any other time I’ve surfed it. It’s one of those spots that’s just sick.

What size board are you riding there? It looks a little short for what you’re doing.When we started off, the waves were only about three to four feet, so I was riding a six-one. That’s all I had on me. I was going surfing with a friend, Michael Lowe. A couple sets came through and that was one of them. When you’re in the lineup and a set comes through, you’ve got to go. I just paddled as hard as I could and I hung on for grim death.

The second shot of the sequence looks like your getting stretched out on a taffy machine. What was going through your mind? How did you make it off the bottom there?Looking at that, I’m completely stretched. I sort of free-fell. That place, it’s like a complete free fall. You fall into the flat section of the wave. From that point, I knew I was going to make the drop, but I didn’t know if I was going to make the flat section. I ran into the barrel. I was concentrating on getting through the flat section and up into the barrel with enough speed to make it through. I think the third shot is the one where I’m sitting completely flat, crouched, and I’m trying to get a rail in the water to bottom turn and get up into the barrel. Like I said, at that place, every wave pits and throws you out. You free-fall. The main thing is just landing and trying to drive into the barrel. It looks like I’ve been drinking some beer or something, I’ve put a little bit of weight on, and paddling a little bit slower.

Any last words?Yeah, I can’t tell you where this break is, but if you come to my house, I’ll show you.