WHATEVER FLOATS YOUR BOAT
Back in the big 80’s pulling a floater was like, totally gnarly, and while today things have changed a bit in the rad department, you’ll still see all the top guys pulling them as both a functional way to go around a section and to score points. While it takes some practice to get those long, fast, projected ones and land them on heavier sections, forehand floaters are one of the first moves less experienced surfers can try, particularly at sectiony, semi-closeout beachies.
1: ‘Go for the lip with speed and with good timing. As soon as the lip starts to rise you have to go. Don’t draw your bottom turn too wide or go up the wave too vertical. Remember, it’s a totally different approach than a hack.’
2-3: ‘Get your board floating on the lip. You need to find the perfect spot, that place where the foam seems to flatten. Not too far behind, not too much in front; move your weight from the back foot, to both feet, trying to make it even. Get your balance and just let the board float. Try to be as light on your board as possible.’
4-5: ‘Bend your legs and keep your body close to the board to help balance. Use your torso and arm position to get even more balance and projection. Your shoulders have to aim at where you want to go. Use all that speed to project over that cascading lip as long as you can (a great feeling). But speed, although essential isn’t everything – you also have to think about landing. In this case, as you can see, I decided to use the lip movement to help me go down smoothly. In shot 5, I have my shoulders already turning to the beach and I’ve put my weight back to the back foot.’
6: ‘Time to get ready for landing. As soon as you feel the lip going down, you have to choose where you want to land. Turn your shoulders and start turning your body and board towards the beach. Put all the pressure on your back foot and get your board under control.’
7-11: ‘Prepare to deal with the impact of landing. Press your feet against the board, keep your legs stretched but loose, so that you won’t get hurt when the board hits the flats. Open your arms wide, and always think that you’re making it. You need to land with the lip, not before, and especially not after.’