Surf Tips

Whatever Floats Your Boat

AGE: 26
SHORTBOARD: 6’1” X 181/8” X 23/16” SQUASH SPO

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.’
Ricardo Bravo

David’s Further Floater Tips
‘To pull good floaters, above all, you have to focus on speed and balance. A floater, usually, cannot be considered a big move, but something more like a solution to go through a tricky section and keep surfing the wave. If you can pull one on a big wave, right on that critical section, then you can be stoked on it just like a big air or a deep barrel.’

‘To start practising this move, you should try on small mellow waves, so you can try it over and over again without getting hurt. A thick and almost flat board will make it easier (more flotation and speed). You also need to workout your legs to avoid injuries on your knees and ankles. Strong abs, besides impressing the chicks at the beach, will also help to take your floaters to a happy ending.’

‘If you ever feel the landing will be a disaster, just hit ‘abort’ and forget about it. Doing a floater is all about feeling, perception and timing, just like everything else in surfing. Feel the wave, feel the energy and try to go with the flow. You need to practice a lot until you learn to make all those small adjustments a move like this requires. Good luck!’
Photos: Carlos Pinto


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