Photo: Ben Thouard.
SAN DIEGO, California - As you progress and further develop your surfing skills on your stand up paddle board, one trick to add to your bag is definitely the frontside top turn. The frontside top turn is likely one of the most performed maneuvers on a wave. Here, I will help you get more familiar with the process of it.
As you are learning how to improve your SUP surfing skills through these 'tip' series that have been published each week, you will find that the very basis for any great maneuver comes from the bottom turn. The bottom turn is an entirely separate move itself but it is the very foundation of any great maneuver, for most all maneuvers that is. So, in the frontside top turn, you are going to want to initiate that all-so-familiar bottom turn, paddle planted on the water in front of you, weight shifted overtop of the paddle as the inside rail naturally sinks and puts you in the trajectory of turning up the wave face.
Note: your weight will naturally be more forward and on your front foot in bottom turns.
Approaching the Lip
As you approach the top of the wave face, or lip, you want to begin to shift your weight from your front foot to your back foot. | Photos: Matty & Elena Schweitzer
As you approach the top of the wave face, or lip, you want to begin to shift your weight from your front foot to your back foot. This shift is going to position you to be able to pivot your board off its tail and help redirect your board back down the wave face. On a bottom turn it's common for your back foot to be further in front of where it will need to be when you start your pivot turn. If you need to step back, doing so right before you apply full pressure on your back foot is a good time to do it. This would be just a second or two before you do the full pivot turn.
Note: the closer your back foot is to the tail, the easier you will pivot. Don't be scared to step back.
Using your paddle to assist in the pivot turn at the lip is critical for a successful and powerful top turn, (yes, power, we want it ;)). The use of your paddle will be used at the same time you start applying heavy pressure to your back foot. So, the idea would be back foot pressure tied in with a paddle plant in the wave face, or in some cases if you're at the lip, planted in the lip.
Use your paddle to leverage yourself by pushing into your turn with your back foot but also using it to power through your turn as you pivot and push through your tail. | Photo: Matty & Elena Schweitzer
You are going to use your paddle to leverage yourself by pushing into your turn with your back foot but also using it to power through your turn as you pivot and push through your tail. Even though the paddle doesn't move and it's you pivoting around it, the motion, to put in easier terms, would be something like a 90° sweep of the paddle around the tail of your board, starting from your back inside rail edge, taking it around to the back outside rail edge.
During this seemingly 90° sweep (where it's actually you and your board turning) you want to pour all of your strength into it, powering through your shoulders, arms, and legs in order to pivot that board around in a more forceful manner that would consider it a top turn.
When you exit the top turn you want to shift your weight forward again back onto your front foot and onto your toes. | Photos: Matty & Elena Schweitzer
When you exit the top turn, meaning, just after you pivot the board around and are coming back down the wave face, you want to shift your weight forward again back onto your front foot and onto your toes in order to set the edge (sharp rail of the board) to direct yourself back down the line. Now you can line yourself up for another, bottom turn!
Go get it!!
Were these tips helpful? Tell us what you thought in the comments below! To see more tips from SUP surfing expert and Starboard Dream Team member Sean Poynter, click here.