Let's start our list of fundamental surfing tricks from the easiest and finish with the most complicated ones. Of course, these surf tricks are not related to beginner surfers, and mastering them means that you already have enough knowledge about basic skills such as standing up, trimming, pumping, and duck diving.

Bottom turn

A bottom turn in surfing is a foundational maneuver where a surfer uses the bottom of the wave to generate speed and set up for maneuvers on the wave face. It involves turning the board sharply towards the wave face at the bottom of the wave after dropping in, allowing the surfer to gain momentum and start their ride along the wave face. Bottom turns are essential for setting up for more advanced maneuvers, such as cutbacks, snaps, or aerial maneuvers, and are a key element in linking together various maneuvers during a surf session.

 

bottom turn surf trick

Improving your bottom turn is crucial for executing more advanced maneuvers and maintaining speed and control while surfing. Here are some tips to enhance your bottom turn:

  1. Body Positioning: Ensure your body weight is evenly distributed on your board as you approach the bottom turn. Keep your knees bent and your center of gravity low for better balance and control.
  2. Eye Focus: Look where you want to go. Your eyes should be focused on the section of the wave where you want to perform your next maneuver. This helps with maintaining direction and control throughout the turn.
  3. Timing: Time your bottom turn properly. Initiate the turn just as you reach the bottom of the wave and start ascending the face. This allows you to use the wave's energy to propel yourself back up the wave.
  4. Use Your Rails: Engage the rails of your board by leaning into the turn. Use your back foot to drive the turn while applying pressure to the rail. This helps generate speed and control through the turn.
  5. Generate Speed: Focus on generating speed through your bottom turn. The faster you can execute the turn, the more momentum you'll have for your next maneuver.

 

Cutback

A "cutback" in surfing is a maneuver where the surfer makes a smooth turn back towards the breaking part of the wave after riding towards the shoulder. It's a way for the surfer to maintain speed and stay in the most powerful part of the wave while changing direction. A well-executed cutback can add style, fluidity, and versatility to your surfing, allowing you to maximize your time on the wave and make the most of varying wave conditions. Practice and experimentation with timing, body positioning, and weight distribution will help you master this essential maneuver.

Improving your cutback requires a combination of technique, timing, and practice. Here are some tips to help you enhance your cutback:

 

Cutback surfing trick
  1. Body Positioning: Focus on maintaining a low center of gravity and balanced stance throughout the maneuver. Keep your knees bent and your weight centered over your board to maximize control and stability.
  2. Engage Your Rails: Use your back foot to initiate the turn by applying pressure to the tail of your board. Simultaneously, engage the rail of your board by leaning into the turn with your body. This helps you carve more efficiently through the maneuver.
  3. Timing: Time your cutback appropriately to maximize the wave's energy and momentum. Initiate the turn just as you reach the critical section of the wave where you want to redirect your board. This allows you to harness the wave's power and maintain speed throughout the maneuver.
  4. Eye Focus: Keep your eyes focused on your desired path of travel throughout the cutback. Visualizing where you want to go helps with precision and control, allowing you to execute the maneuver more effectively.
  5. Weight Transfer: Shift your weight towards the inside rail of your board as you pivot through the turn. This helps you generate more drive and control, allowing for a smoother and more fluid cutback.
  6. Utilize Wave Features: Take advantage of the wave's shape and features to enhance your cutback. Look for sections of the wave with a steeper face or more energy to execute more powerful and dynamic maneuvers.

Top Turn

A "top turn" in surfing is when a surfer rides up the face of the wave towards the crest or lip and then turns sharply back down towards the wave's face. It's a maneuver that allows the surfer to generate speed and change direction while riding the wave.

Improving your top turn is essential for advancing your surfing skills and maximizing your performance on the wave. Here are some tips to help you enhance your top turn:

 

Top turn surf maneuver
  1. Speed and Momentum: Generate enough speed and momentum to perform the top turn effectively. Approach the section of the wave with sufficient speed to carry you up towards the lip.
  2. Timing: Time your top turn to coincide with the lip of the wave. Aim to make contact with the lip at the peak of your turn to maximize power and projection.
  3. Eye Focus: Keep your eyes focused on your intended line and the section of the wave where you want to perform the top turn. Visualizing your trajectory helps with precision and timing.
  4. Body Positioning: As you approach the lip, shift your weight slightly towards your back foot to engage the tail of your board. Keep your body low and centered over your board for stability and control.
  5. Engage Rails: Use your back foot to drive the turn by applying pressure to the tail of your board. Simultaneously, lean into the turn with your upper body to engage the rail and carve through the maneuver.
  6. Carve and Pivot: Carve your board sharply towards the direction you want to go, using the wave's energy to pivot around the lip. Focus on maintaining a smooth and controlled arc throughout the turn.
  7. Extension: Extend your body and legs as you complete the turn to absorb the impact and maintain balance. Keep your eyes focused down the line of the wave as you exit the turn, ready to continue riding or set up for another maneuver.

Floater

A floater is a surfing maneuver where the surfer rides up and over the whitewater or breaking section of the wave without losing speed. It's a versatile maneuver that allows surfers to maintain momentum and continue their ride across sections of the wave that might otherwise slow them down or cause them to lose their line.

Improving your floater requires a combination of technique, timing, and practice. Here are some tips to help you enhance your floater:

 

Floater surf trick
  1. Speed and Momentum: Generate enough speed and momentum to carry you over the whitewater or breaking section of the wave. Approach the section with enough speed to maintain forward motion throughout the maneuver.
  2. Timing: Time your floater to coincide with the breaking section of the wave. Aim to ride up and over the whitewater just as it's breaking to maximize the effect of the maneuver.
  3. Eye Focus: Keep your eyes focused on the section of the wave where you want to perform the floater. Visualizing your line and trajectory helps with precision and timing.
  4. Weight Distribution: Shift your weight slightly forward as you approach the breaking section of the wave to keep your board planing on the surface of the water. This helps you maintain control and stability as you ride over the whitewater.
  5. Engage Rails and Lift: Use your back foot to apply pressure to the tail of your board, engaging the rail and lifting the nose slightly as you ride up and over the whitewater. Keep your body low and centered over your board to maintain balance and control.
  6. Extension and Absorption: As you ride over the whitewater, extend your body and legs to absorb the impact and maintain balance. Keep your eyes focused down the line of the wave as you exit the floater, ready to continue riding or set up for another maneuver.

Re-entry

  1. A re-entry is a dynamic surfing maneuver where the surfer drives the board back into the lip of the wave after riding down the face, often with power and speed. It involves redirecting the board towards the breaking part of the wave and re-engaging the lip with the intention of continuing the ride or performing additional maneuvers. The re-entry can be performed on both open faces and closeout sections of the wave, and it's often executed as part of a combination of maneuvers to maximize scoring potential in competitive surfing or to add style and progression to free surfing.
re-entry surf maneuvers

Improving your re-entry requires a combination of technique, timing, and confidence. Here are some tips to help you enhance your re-entry:

  1. Speed and Momentum: Generate enough speed and momentum to carry you up into the lip of the wave. Approach the section with enough speed to execute the maneuver effectively.
  2. Timing: Time your re-entry to coincide with the critical section of the wave. Aim to make contact with the lip at the peak of your turn to maximize power and projection.
  3. Eye Focus: Keep your eyes focused on your intended line and the section of the wave where you want to perform the re-entry. Visualizing your trajectory helps with precision and timing.
  4. Body Positioning: As you approach the lip, shift your weight slightly towards your back foot to engage the tail of your board. Keep your body low and centered over your board for stability and control.
  5. Engage Rails and Drive: Use your back foot to drive the turn by applying pressure to the tail of your board. Simultaneously, use your upper body to twist and lean into the turn, further engaging the rail and generating power.
  6. Carve and Pivot: Carve your board sharply towards the direction you want to go, using the wave's energy to pivot around the lip. Focus on maintaining a smooth and controlled arc throughout the turn.
  7. Extension and Absorption: As you make contact with the lip, extend your body and legs to absorb the impact and maintain balance. Keep your eyes focused down the line of the wave as you exit the re-entry, ready to continue riding or set up for another maneuver.

Snap

A snap is a dynamic and aggressive surfing maneuver where the surfer performs a quick and powerful turn in the pocket or critical section of the wave. It's characterized by a rapid redirection of the board, often with speed and intensity, and is typically executed in the steeper part of the wave where the most energy is concentrated.

Improving your snap requires a combination of technique, timing, and practice. Here are some tips to help you enhance your snap:

snap surfing trick
  1. Speed and Momentum: Generate enough speed and momentum to carry you through the snap. Approach the section with enough speed to execute the maneuver effectively.
  2. Timing: Time your snap to coincide with the critical section of the wave. Aim to make contact with the lip at the peak of your turn to maximize power and projection.
  3. Eye Focus: Keep your eyes focused on your intended line and the section of the wave where you want to perform the snap. Visualizing your trajectory helps with precision and timing.
  4. Body Positioning: As you approach the lip, shift your weight slightly towards your back foot to engage the tail of your board. Keep your body low and centered over your board for stability and control.
  5. Engage Rails and Drive: Use your back foot to drive the turn by applying pressure to the tail of your board. Simultaneously, use your upper body to twist and lean into the turn, further engaging the rail and generating speed.
  6. Carve and Pivot: Carve your board sharply towards the direction you want to go, using the wave's energy to pivot around the critical section. Focus on maintaining a smooth and controlled arc throughout the turn.
  7. Release and Redirect: As you reach the peak of the turn, release the fins of your board to allow it to slide slightly. This helps you redirect your momentum and generate additional speed out of the maneuver.
  8. Extension and Absorption: Extend your body and legs as you complete the turn to absorb the impact and maintain balance. Keep your eyes focused down the line of the wave as you exit the snap, ready to continue riding or set up for another maneuver.

Tube Ride

A tube ride, often referred to as "getting barreled," is the ultimate experience in surfing, offering a thrilling and memorable sensation that every surfer dreams of. It occurs when a surfer successfully positions themselves inside the hollow, cylindrical section of a breaking wave, known as the tube or barrel.

Riding a tube is the epitome of surfing mastery, requiring skill, timing, and an intimate understanding of wave dynamics.

 

tube ride or barell surfing

Improving your ability to ride a perfect tube requires mastering various aspects of surfing, from wave selection to technique. Here are some tips to help you enhance your tube riding skills:

  1. Wave Selection: Choose waves with the right shape and size for tube riding. Look for hollow, barreling waves with a clean face and an open barrel section.
  2. Positioning: Position yourself in the critical section of the wave where the barrel is forming. Anticipate the wave's behavior and paddle into position to catch it at the perfect moment.
  3. Entry: Time your entry into the barrel with precision. Paddle with determination and commit fully to entering the tube as it pitches over and hollows out.
  4. Body Positioning: Once inside the barrel, maintain a low and centered stance on your board. Keep your body aligned with the curvature of the wave and your weight distributed evenly for stability.
  5. Trimming: Adjust your positioning within the barrel by shifting your weight slightly forward or backward on your board. Make subtle adjustments to stay in the optimal position and maximize your time inside the tube.
  6. Reading the Wave: Continuously assess the shape and movement of the wave as you ride inside the barrel. Stay attuned to the wave's nuances and adjust your positioning and movements accordingly.
  7. Focus and Awareness: Keep your focus fixed on the opening of the barrel and maintain awareness of your surroundings inside the tube. Stay present in the moment and react quickly to changes in the wave's behavior.
  8. Commitment: Commit fully to riding the barrel and staying inside for as long as possible. Trust your instincts and stay relaxed and composed under pressure.
  9. Practice Tube Riding: Spend dedicated time practicing tube riding in various conditions. Seek out waves with barrel sections and focus on perfecting your technique and positioning.
  10. Learn from Experience: Reflect on each tube ride experience and learn from both successful and unsuccessful attempts. Analyze your performance and identify areas for improvement to refine your tube riding skills over time.

Aerial

An aerial, also known as an aerial maneuver or air, is an advanced and dynamic surfing maneuver where the surfer and their board leave the surface of the wave and become airborne. It's a high-risk, high-reward maneuver that requires speed, timing, and technical skill to execute successfully.

Aerial maneuvers are a testament to the creativity and athleticism of surfing, offering surfers the opportunity to express themselves and push the boundaries of what's possible on a surfboard. With dedication, practice, and a fearless mindset, you can master the art of aerial surfing and add an exciting dimension to your surfing performance.

 

experienced surf instructors
  1. Build Speed and Momentum: Aerials require significant speed and momentum to launch successfully. Focus on generating speed by pumping your board and utilizing the energy of the wave to build momentum before attempting an aerial.
  2. Perfect Your Takeoff: The takeoff is crucial for launching into the air with control and power. Practice timing your takeoff so that you hit the lip or critical section of the wave with enough force to propel yourself upward.
  3. Focus on Technique: Pay close attention to your technique when performing aerials. Maintain a compact and controlled posture in the air, keeping your body centered over your board and your arms close to your body for stability.
  4. Practice Rotations: Experiment with different aerial maneuvers and rotations to expand your aerial repertoire. Start with smaller rotations, such as 180-degree spins, and gradually progress to more advanced maneuvers as you build confidence and skill.
  5. Commitment: Aerials require commitment and confidence to execute successfully. Fully commit to each maneuver and trust your instincts as you launch into the air. Remember to stay focused and maintain your composure throughout the maneuver.
  6. Spot Your Landing: Spotting your landing is essential for a successful aerial. Keep your eyes focused on the landing zone as you rotate in the air, and anticipate the timing and angle of your descent to ensure a smooth re-entry onto the wave.
  7. Progress Gradually: Start with smaller jumps and basic aerial maneuvers before progressing to more advanced tricks. Focus on mastering each maneuver individually before moving on to more complex combinations or variations.

The complete list of surfing tricks and maneuvers is much more extensive and includes names such as 360 Air, Rodeo Flip, Frontside Grab, Backside Grab, Alley-Oop, Air Reverse, etc. This list is constantly evolving and will likely change very soon. However, the maneuvers we include in the fundamental list of surf tricks is an essential foundation for advanced surfing performance. To progress effectively, consider the following advice:

    1. Seek Feedback: Don't hesitate to seek feedback from more experienced surfers or instructors. They can offer insights and tips to help you refine your technique and overcome any obstacles you may encounter.
    2. Film Yourself: Consider filming your surf sessions to review your maneuvers. Watching yourself surf can provide valuable feedback and help you identify areas for improvement in your technique.
    3. Experiment with Variations: Try out different variations of surf tricks. Each variation offers its own unique challenges and opportunities for expression, allowing you to develop your personal style and repertoire.
    4. Practice and Refinement: Mastering takes practice and patience like any surfing maneuver. Spend time improving your technique in various wave conditions, and seek feedback from experienced surfers and instructors taking individual surf lessons to refine your skills further.