This is an easy turn to do, but a hard turn to do well. To get it right, we’re going to look at the fine details and technicalities of it, but don’t get caught up in the thought, or you’ll fall off your chair before you even get on your board: If Jeremy started thinking during this turn, he would have fallen off too, so feel your way through the turn while you are reading and picture yourself doing it. Like any good turn, it all starts with a good bottom turn.
SETTING UP: Look at the bottom turn as a means of getting into the right position. Feel yourself picking a fast line from the pocket into your set up. Feel your board, inch your feet into the right position, which for this turn will be over your front fins to keep speed, power and drive. The bottom turn will be a little more shallow for this turn because you are going out to the face and this will hold the speed needed to carry a turn this long. Once you have speed and are extending up into the top of the turn, look for your exact point that you are going to turn the rail over and start your transition. Get specific with your spot. I’m talking ten-pence piece. Go into the turn with a low centre of gravity and don’t start over-extending yet, as it is a long turn and you will finish it too early. So get low to hold control through the power and speed, grabbing rail will help. Not so much to control your board, but it will just keep you low.
DRIVE: Drive through the first part of the turn, keeping low, then when you get to the bottom, you extend and rotate. Taylor Knox is very good at rail control and knowing when to open up his body. This part is all about timing because you have to get to the top of the wave again. Let go of the rail and extend, guiding your leading shoulder across your chest as you drive back up the face. The more you rotate, the more projection and power.
This is the difference between the pros and your average surfer: the amount of rotation they get (body torque) through turns. Watch Occy on a backhand bottom turn at J-Bay or Bells, Mick Fanning on a forehand whipping carve, or Taylor Knox through his cutbacks. These are your best face carvers and it is for this reason: how much body torque or rotation they get. So when you think you are rotating too much, rotate more and you will be getting closer. Feel yourself doing it. The length of the turn depends on the size of the wave. If it is small, keep your arms closer to your body, because the turn is smaller and tighter, if it is bigger, you can use your arms more.
ZERO IN: At this point your body is also extending and climbing, maximising power and climbing towards your target. Again, get specific with your target, pick a tiny spot on the lip and zero in on it. At the top of your turn back up the face, your chest should be facing the target point, your shoulder squared off to it. Feel it, picture yourself doing it. Then, just before you hit it, give your body and your board a little squirt forward into it, like a shagging hip thrust. At the same time rotating back the opposite way, bringing your opposite shoulder and arm across your body. It’s hard to keep speed through a turn this long so it becomes really important to once again, get the little things right: length and timing of the turn. Then even more importantly – and even harder to do, try and come off the lip or whitewater high. That way the turn doesn’t just look more complete, but because you are hitting it higher, you get the down ramp out of the turn to build speed and keep flow through your wave, so you don’t have to two-stage bottom turn for speed out of it. Once again, get right over your board, centre your weight and point your shoulder, like a golfer would, in the direction you want to go and your board will follow that line.