Why Bottom Out When You Can 'Bottom Turn'?
One of the unique aspects of surfing on an inflatable standup paddleboard (iSUP) is that you can simply glide on waves and enjoy a really relaxing surfing experience. But what if you want more out of your time out on the water? If you want to learn new surfing tricks that not only let you ride waves for longer but also with more style and pizzaz, one of the most effective and eye-catching moves you can pick up is the bottom turn.
Getting to the Bottom of the Bottom Turn
Let’s take a deeper dive into why it is so important to learn. The bottom turn is one of the surfing tricks that let you aggressively turn at the bottom of a wave so that you are facing it again. Facing a wave lets you climb back up easily and get into position for any additional maneuver you want to do on the wave face.
Timing the Bottom Turn
Before we explain exactly how to perform a bottom turn, it’s important to know when to actually deploy it and how to gauge if you are in the right place on a wave to perform a bottom turn. Like most surfing tricks, this one requires great timing and planning. You should keep these three major steps in mind when trying to time your bottom turn perfectly:
1. Flat Water
The curved part of a wave simply isn’t conducive to a good bottom turn. As the surfing trick’s name implies, you should perform a bottom turn at the bottom of a wave where the water is flatter.
2. Downward Momentum
To perform a bottom turn, you’ll have to get to the bottom of the wave quickly, which means ignoring your natural tendency to glide down a wave diagonally. Instead, these surfing tricks demand that you head vertically down the wave and trust that you’ll be able to perform the move correctly when the time is right.
3. In the Pocket
You should execute your bottom turn in sight of the wave pocket. Doing this means that you can climb right back in the pocket where there is plenty of energy from the wave to harness as you surf.
Bottom Turn Stance
Your stance when performing a bottom turn is absolutely pivotal to complete these surfing tricks correctly. Make sure you are standing near the tail (back) of your board because if your stance is toward the center of the front of your board, you will simply be unable to turn sharply enough. Push down with your toes and keep your knees bent if you’re trying to execute a ‘toeside turn’. This will direct your board to turn in the direction your toes are facing. Alternatively, you can push down with your heels if you wish to perform a ‘heelside turn’ and angle your board in the direction that your heels are facing. The amount of pressure you apply when you press down with your toes or heels will determine how sharply your board will turn.
Is a Bottom Turn Different Between a Surfboard and an iSUP?
The simple answer is yes. Performing this surfing trick requires very different techniques between a traditional surfboard and an iSUP. Below are three key differences that you should keep in mind when doing a bottom turn on an iSUP, especially if you’re used to bottom turning on a surfboard.
1. Board Width
One of the key differences between an iSUP and a traditional surfboard is the width of each board. iSUPs are generally much wider than surfboards and allow surfers to shift their stance even closer to the rail (edge) they’re carving on for greater turning maneuverability. In addition to maneuverability, shifting your stance closer to the rail on an iSUP lets you minimize the chances of sliding out and failing to perform a successful bottom turn.
2. Board Length
As mentioned earlier, when performing a bottom turn, you’ll need to shift your stance toward the tail-end of your board. Make sure to keep in mind that an iSUP is often longer than traditional surfboards, which might mean that it takes more time to get into the right position.
3. Planting Your Paddle
Possibly the biggest difference between surfing on a traditional surfboard and an iSUP is the use of a paddle. iSUP surfers can use their paddles as a pivot point when turning at the bottom of a wave to get extra sharpness to their turn. It is also important to keep your paddle low and just skimming the surface of the water on the face of the wave when turning. Plunging it in too deep will halt your momentum and cause you to lose balance or drop your paddle.
When looking for a board to practice surfing maneuvers, using a surfing iSUP like the Hurley PhantomSurf Ombré 9’ makes practicing your wave techniques a breeze.
5 Easy Steps for a Successful Bottom Turn
- Surf vertically down the face of the wave and avoid the natural urge to go down diagonally
- Wait until your board is at the bottom of the wave on flatter water before beginning to execute the bottom turn
- Shift your stance to the tail of your board and also toward the rail of your board
- Bend your knees and apply pressure on your toes or heels to perform a toeside turn or heelside turn
- Let your paddle skim the surface of the wave face as you shift your stance and begin to turn. This will serve as a pivot point and guide you back up the wave face
Turn Up Your Surfing Game
It may take a bit of practice to land a successful bottom turn in the beginning, but this surfing trick will open up even more possibilities if you’re looking to surf with style. Not only does bottom turning look great, but it also allows you to use the entire wave face, and can even set you up for more surfing tricks. For iSUP surfing enthusiasts, mastering this maneuver is a must and will truly turn up your surfing game!