Herr Lipke’s one-foot layback smash
It can be like being in a 24-hour petty station late at night trying to decide between the Snickers, Mars, Twix, Lion Bar or Boost… and then suddenly the Toffee Crisp comes into the equation. Not easy. You can sleekly flick off, catching your board mid-air and land paddling, punt as high as you can in the sky probably kicking your board away, even try a cheeky 360 off the lip. Or you can smash a great big exclamation mark of a last turn like Marlon Lipke here: “I didn’t have that much speed and the wave was pretty small but I was keen to do a big move, cause I hadn’t made one all day,” Lippy recalls. “Basically I just threw my upper-body back and kicked my legs out pretty hard to the front. It wasn’t really all planned out, I just got lucky that the whitewater picked me back up.”
1. The first thing you’ll notice about this shot is that Lippy’s gone into this turn one hundred percent committed. No neutral line in, see what happens half-turn, you’re going for broke, stating your intentions clearly. Check where he’s placed this turn. While you’ll sometimes see laybacks like this performed just in front of the pocket on the face, Lippy’s planted it straight on top of roof of the lip. Highly technical, but also great for pushing it as hard as you can.
2. Marlon’s pivoting his board around the front foot area, smashing his tail out as hard as possible. You can see his arms have pulled down, his body laid back, he’s giving it everything he’s got. Like a good karate kick, momentum from upper body goes into the hips which push down and forward, extending the leg with the summary forces. Not busting roof tiles or an opponent’s solar plexus though, Lippy merely wants to blow his fins through this Brazilian beachbreak’s lip, chucking maximum spray. His foot’s right back on the tail pad, for maximum blast and control.
3. Lippy’s smashed his board along the lip to the point where it’s going backwards and his nose is reconnecting with the face at the bottom of the wave, which will begin to stop it. Note: the point where his nose is buried in the face, the centre of gravity of his laid-back body and front, controlling foot are all pretty close together, which will aid his recovery. The momentum has whipped his tail so far around that his back foot has come off, and he’s now surfing using his upper body, arms and about 30 cm2 of surfboard.
4. Marlon’s sunk both his arms deep into the face to stop himself while his board has continued to whip around, back foot now well off the pad. His tail is falling down to the bottom of the wave, still rotating around the nose end, which Lippy is clinging on to with his right foot. He may not be able too see what’s going on right now, but he knows what he’s doing, surfing purely on feeling and the instinct developed from attempting these turns a thousand times before.
5. Marlon’s somewhere underwater, his back foot’s way off (style points for pointed toes) and it looks like a lost cause. Lippy’s training programme is pretty complete, he likes to keep his fitness in the mould of German midfield general Lothar Matthaus and he’ll need every bit of this athleticism to haul himself out of this situation.
6-7. Still unsighted and laying back, he’s managed to get his left foot back on the tail and pull the board beneath him by bending his knees. He knows he had to get in this stable position before the lip finally lands on him and the wave closes out.
8-10. Once the wave has fully broken, Lippy uses his strength to haul himself back onto his feet. As the whitewater pushes his board back towards facing the beach, Marlon makes his full recovery. They don’t all have a happy ending though. “I tried one of these turns a month later at home,” Marlon adds, “and dislocated my shoulder in the process. Booo!”