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Technique question: Bottom turns

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Created by cantSUPenough A week ago, 7 Aug 2017
cantSUPenough
VIC, 1331 posts
7 Aug 2017 8:48AM
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Out at Flinders, taking off on approx head-high waves, getting up to 25 km/hr or more (according to Search GPS watch), I often have trouble pulling off a fast bottom turn. It feels really stiff. I try to lean in but it doesn't always feel like the board wants to turn and sometimes I recover by using the paddle as an outrigger. At lower speed, no worries. So, is it:

1. Me - being a pussy and not committing (digging the rail) hard enough?
2. Me - not having my back foot back far enough (although I do try to get it back)?
3. Me - not having my back foot close enough to the rail?
4. The fins. I am using C-drives now, but I feel like I had the same challenge with the standard fins
5. The board - I am riding an Acid 8'10 116 L and I am 93 kegs.
6. Something else?

sgo
VIC, 41 posts
7 Aug 2017 10:14AM
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I notice the acid has flyers on the rail similar to the speed.
I know on the speed you do need to get your back foot at least on the flyer or behind it to transform the turning performance, two different boards with foot forward or back of the flyers.

CAUTION
WA, 987 posts
7 Aug 2017 8:56AM
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back foot back, drive thru the front leg, burn that quad, engage that rail, eyes head and front shoulder facing where u want to go, paddle out for balance and pivot point

obijohn
67 posts
7 Aug 2017 10:12AM
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Here is the best advice that I can give for bottom turns. (I apologize if this is all old news to you, but maybe someone will find it useful.) It is what I teach in my wavesailing lessons, and also what I focus on when SUP surfing. My wife is patient enough to put up with my coaching on her SUP wave riding, and she will vouch that this is the key to when she gets good bottom turns.
There is a very important timing in when to flex and how to drive against the rail. Many people drop in while standing fairly tall, then flex their rear leg downward as they "dig the rail". I consider this to be a common and serious error. Instead, I think about flexing very deep as I am dropping in, with a lot of weight on the front leg. I reach the point where I intend to bottom turn in a position coiled up like I am getting ready to jump off my board and dive back out over the top of the wave. Your rear shin should be nearly parallel to the water. Once you are flexed this low, then use the load in your rear leg to drive laterally against the rail and fins. With your legs flexed this much, the pressure will not be so much downward, as towards the outside of the turn (towards the beach) in line with your rear shin, so you are driving against a banked board, and not downward on the rail.
The short version; don't flex as you are coming down on the rail, flex deeply first as you are dropping in and then unload that flexion outward against a banked board. An interesting quote from your post is "digging the rail", which to my ear implies pushing down on it. Does it make sense to change this to "driving off against a steeply banked rail"?
Other tips; the faster you are going, the more the trailing fin(s) are going to resist the board turning around the forward fins, and make the board want to track straight. On my Speeed and Flow I am currently using 3.5 to 4" trailing fins with 4.75" to 5" forward fins. Check out some of Scott McKercher's recent post on his Smik fin experiments; basically Mark Richards twin fins with a small trailing fin.
Dropping in with your weight on your flexed front leg is a great opportunity to reach that back foot back a few more inches in preparation for the bottom turn. Many people are standing on their rear leg as the try to move the foot further back, instead of having the weight on the front leg as they start the drop, and reaching the rear foot back behind them. Try this in your living room; try being balanced over your rear foot and moving it back, then balance on your flexed front leg and see how far you can reach and stretch your rear foot out behind you. For me, this is the key to getting the rear foot back where I want it.
Check where your paddle blade is skimming the surface. If it is back by your back foot, then you are trying to turn off the tail instead of the rail, which does not work well at higher speeds. Ideally I think that the paddle should be reaching out more in line with your front foot, which helps to engage more of the rail. Yes, we want the rear foot way back, but that is to generate lateral (not downward) drive against the fins coming from deeply pre-flexed legs, not to try and pivot off the tail which does kind of work at slower speeds but not at higher speeds
Just my viewpoint; hope it helps. Check out some pics and videos online and see if this makes sense.

cantSUPenough
VIC, 1331 posts
7 Aug 2017 12:41PM
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Select to expand quote
sgo said..
I notice the acid has flyers on the rail similar to the speed.
I know on the speed you do need to get your back foot at least on the flyer or behind it to transform the turning performance, two different boards with foot forward or back of the flyers.


Thanks sgo - but you may be thinking about the new Creek. The Acid does not have those channels - it is flat.

sgo
VIC, 41 posts
7 Aug 2017 12:44PM
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Select to expand quote
cantSUPenough said..

sgo said..
I notice the acid has flyers on the rail similar to the speed.
I know on the speed you do need to get your back foot at least on the flyer or behind it to transform the turning performance, two different boards with foot forward or back of the flyers.



Thanks sgo - but you may be thinking about the new Creek. The Acid does not have those channels - it is flat.


Not referring to the channels, but the step in the rail-line, out-line.

hilly
WA, 3948 posts
7 Aug 2017 10:49AM
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Can of worms where everyone will have an opinion :)

Sups are hard to bottom turn when going fast on fat sloping waves. When the wave draws off the reef and has a flat area at the bottom it is much easier. Engaging the whole rail is the key not just the back third. Moving your back foot to the side of the board helps.
Not a real big wave but sort of shows it.

hilly
WA, 3948 posts
7 Aug 2017 10:54AM
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Select to expand quote
sgo said..

cantSUPenough said..


sgo said..
I notice the acid has flyers on the rail similar to the speed.
I know on the speed you do need to get your back foot at least on the flyer or behind it to transform the turning performance, two different boards with foot forward or back of the flyers.




Thanks sgo - but you may be thinking about the new Creek. The Acid does not have those channels - it is flat.



Not referring to the channels, but the step in the rail-line, out-line.


That would be a "hip" and yes these will cause issues at speed. The Speeed with its channels seems to get around the problem to some extent.

cantSUPenough
VIC, 1331 posts
7 Aug 2017 1:24PM
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Thanks Caution and Obi John - that's great information. I have always wondered what my front leg was supposed to do... I think you are absolutely right, I am trying to do too much with my back leg and my front leg just goes for the ride. I know on the speeed I was just pivoting on the tail, and I know sometimes I feel like I am pivoting on the Acid - although on the Acid I have made more of a conscious effort to use more of the rail. But I don't think I have felt burning my front quad - I sure feel it in the rear quad.

And yes, I do think my paddle is closer to my back foot than front foot. In fact, I found some video from big left and I think sometimes I am just trying to squeeze down on the rail rather than going for a full blooded turn. Hard to tell how often I do it that way...

Thanks again for your help.

#t=26s

obijohn
67 posts
7 Aug 2017 2:06PM
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Thanks for sharing the video, it looked like a fun day and you were having some nice long rides. Wish I could have been there that day. The video kind of reinforces my previous post. You are definitely tipping the board up on rail, but not really flexing your legs very much in order to able to then create drive through the turns. One analogy I describe is using the power of your legs to drive against the rails, and the effect is a little like pushing a beach ball down into the water, and having the reaction drive it back up. If you drive your legs against a tipped rail instead of just tipping it, the board will have a similar response back up the wave. Something to play with.

gumballs
NSW, 407 posts
7 Aug 2017 4:12PM
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Always 2 and 3 for me. Sometimes I adjust my feet mid turn. But I ride 10' 6" most of the time.

cantSUPenough
VIC, 1331 posts
7 Aug 2017 4:38PM
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I (often) try to bend my legs on smaller waves - I remember seeing a vid about "springing" back up the wave, but I am sure I don't do it on the big waves. I'll give that a go. Thanks again.

(I did try and make the vid start at 26 seconds for the first right - I don't do anything going left, but they were a good size that day.)

colas
2057 posts
7 Aug 2017 3:33PM
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I second the 2 piece of advice given byobijohn:
- flex both your legs, for a squat "coiled" position beforehand
- use bigger side fins and smaller rear fin(s) than prone surfers would use. I use Al Merrick twin fin sides, and I basically bought a central rear fin in all the different sizes to experiment: for waist high waves, the al merrick trailer is great, for shoulder high, an FCS Accelerator in size "Grommet" works well, for bigger waves, a Reactor medium, etc...
Also, for quad rears, using symmetrically foiled fins like the gerry lopez rears give less bite but a smoother rail to rail transition that could help.
You may try to keep your C-Drive fronts and switch to a smaller normal fin in the rear.

And I would add a 3rd:
- make your board turn around you. At speed, when you lean inside the turn, the board will react instantly and come back under you too soon, actually making you go upright rather than leaning inside the turn. The impression is that the board "doesnt want to turn": you engage the turn, but the board goes flat again and tracks straight. The trick is, for a regular bottom turn (a turn to your right) is to begin by a small turn to the left, letting your body fall to the right. Once your body is well banked, engage the turn and make the board turn to the right, the feeling should be that the board is following a circle around your body.
If you look at videos, this is something that good surfers do unconsciously. It is quite subtle, but it is there.

I have edited a paddlewoo pic to show it: I added a blue line for the pre-turn wake, and a green line to show the slight left turn to let the body fall into the turn:


See also the step #3 in the backside bottom turn at progressionproject.com/category/paddlewoo-guides/

Also the turn below at 0:24 . I was forced to look into these issues in some depth, as it is needed to engage proper turns with wide boards that I love (I am addicted to their speed). You can also see the immediate sanction when your foot in not on the leash plug in the top turns with them :-)

SunovaBouy
78 posts
7 Aug 2017 4:01PM
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Great thread.
Great tips, thanks for the info. Sure we've all had issues bottom turning, great to hear advice and some good vids too.
Thanks.

cantSUPenough
VIC, 1331 posts
7 Aug 2017 7:16PM
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Thanks Colas - your tips, photos, and vid really help. I look forward to getting out there and trying all the tips. (I actually had a great session earlier today, but the waves were shoulder high and I find it all much easier than when the waves are much bigger and more powerful.) I will also try changing the rear fin to see if that makes a difference, but I know I need to make changes to my technique. That progressionsession.com paddlewoo site is pretty handy! There are some really good tips there.

Loz79
QLD, 417 posts
7 Aug 2017 8:26PM
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I'm no elite surfer by any means but I have notice a lot of the top guys fade back on
takeoff before engaging in the bottom turn. They engage the backhand rail first. This, as well as taking your time during the bottom turn keeps you in the power zone and you can also use the breaking lip to help come out your top turn....

Tardy
1621 posts
7 Aug 2017 6:48PM
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Ah yes I have trouble with this myself ..but have kinda worked it out ..bigger fins in bigger waves give you lift
you don't want this ...you want the board to sit down and bite in ..smaller rear fin or fins will help.
also I'm always trying to slow my board down before turning .more weight on the rear foot ,with bent knees .will do this .
i have A 9.1 and 8'8 .i find the longer board much better in bigger wave s ...no brainier really .
with 7 fronts 3 rears ,

A change of fins might be the answer .

hilly
WA, 3948 posts
7 Aug 2017 6:56PM
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Select to expand quote
Tardy said..
Ah yes I have trouble with this myself ..but have kinda worked it out ..bigger fins in bigger waves give you lift
you don't want this ...you want the board to sit down and bite in ..smaller rear fin or fins will help.
also I'm always trying to slow my board down before turning .more weight on the rear foot ,with bent knees .will do this .
i have A 9.1 and 8'8 .i find the longer board much better in bigger wave s ...no brainier really .
with 7 fronts 3 rears ,

A change of fins might be the answer .


Agree, however I would go smaller front fins.

obijohn
67 posts
8 Aug 2017 2:15AM
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Great stuff Colas. Your pic and video really illustrates what I was trying to say, but I was too lazy to add the visuals like you did.
Your comment helped me to understand something that I like to do. Many times I set up my takeoff so that it starts with a heel fade back into the peak before the first frontside bottom turn. I knew that I always liked the feel of it but I never thought about how that little backside fading turn helped to set up the lean for the frontside turn. Its a common move in skiing when starting a run to make a slight pre-turn in the opposite direction before the first full turn, because this aims the skis out from under our body and gets our center if mass quickly inside the new turn so that the skis can turn out around us. For others that ride motorcycles, I guess its a lot like how we steer the handlebars towards the opposite direction we want the bike to turn, which causes the bike to start tipping over and lean in the direction of the intended turn. Its something we all do instinctively, but nothing I thought about until I had to pass a tough riding course. Amazing that I never really thought about it until now when surfing. Thanks for that.

cantSUPenough
VIC, 1331 posts
8 Aug 2017 7:58AM
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I do like to fade left too, I like the bigger turn (and to maximize the wave). Now that I think about it, in my head it is when I just drop and run on the bigger waves (closer to the break) that I often have the problem.

I will see what I can do about a much smaller rear fin - it is probably a bit distorted as it came from GoPro footage. They are all C-drive Large. I do have a medium I can put in the back, not sure that will make enough difference.


supthecreek
1195 posts
8 Aug 2017 8:01AM
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Lots of good advice above.
Some additional thoughts:

Surfing is a mind game.
Much of surfing is limited to what you see yourself doing.

Most people "protect" their ride.... the main goal being "don't fall"
Timid surfing never produces exceptional results.

Improvement can be done quite simply.... 1 single step at a time.
Decide what you want to do..... harder turn, better paddle handling, more vertical.....
Pick one
Before taking a wave.... commit to doing ONE thing.... forget everything else:
I'm gonna do a solid committed turn
ok
Go into the next wave with only that thought
"I'm gonna coil and throw a big committed turn, out over the rail, using my paddle"

Do NOT care if you fall or screw up the wave....
all advancement comes from failures and what you learn from each one.

Each time you will learn more of what the turn feels like, and take that into your next attempt.

My best advice to people who are reluctant to look foolish or mess up a good wave:
Surf as usual...... BUT, when the wave is over, drop down, out in front of the wave and turn as hard as you can, to throw your board over the back of the wave. (with proper safe zone in the area)

This is a "free" way to learn how a carving turn feels.
Eventually, adapt that turn to mid wave and voila!

I find pictures helpful












Throwing your board over the back of the wave is an easy way to learn how to turn hard.

JEG
VIC, 483 posts
8 Aug 2017 11:49AM
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good advice supthecreek!

Johndesu
NSW, 137 posts
8 Aug 2017 1:34PM
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Select to expand quote
colas said..
I second the 2 piece of advice given byobijohn:
- flex both your legs, for a squat "coiled" position beforehand
- use bigger side fins and smaller rear fin(s) than prone surfers would use. I use Al Merrick twin fin sides, and I basically bought a central rear fin in all the different sizes to experiment: for waist high waves, the al merrick trailer is great, for shoulder high, an FCS Accelerator in size "Grommet" works well, for bigger waves, a Reactor medium, etc...
Also, for quad rears, using symmetrically foiled fins like the gerry lopez rears give less bite but a smoother rail to rail transition that could help.
You may try to keep your C-Drive fronts and switch to a smaller normal fin in the rear.

And I would add a 3rd:
- make your board turn around you. At speed, when you lean inside the turn, the board will react instantly and come back under you too soon, actually making you go upright rather than leaning inside the turn. The impression is that the board "doesnt want to turn": you engage the turn, but the board goes flat again and tracks straight. The trick is, for a regular bottom turn (a turn to your right) is to begin by a small turn to the left, letting your body fall to the right. Once your body is well banked, engage the turn and make the board turn to the right, the feeling should be that the board is following a circle around your body.
If you look at videos, this is something that good surfers do unconsciously. It is quite subtle, but it is there.

I have edited a paddlewoo pic to show it: I added a blue line for the pre-turn wake, and a green line to show the slight left turn to let the body fall into the turn:


See also the step #3 in the backside bottom turn at progressionproject.com/category/paddlewoo-guides/

Also the turn below at 0:24 . I was forced to look into these issues in some depth, as it is needed to engage proper turns with wide boards that I love (I am addicted to their speed). You can also see the immediate sanction when your foot in not on the leash plug in the top turns with them :-)



Perfect advice Colas - and I use x2 C drive fins in front and x2 super small 70/30 foil fins in the rear on a 7.4 Airborn & 7.6 Acid that work perfectly together, also I would like to see you Colas surfing on a larger more powerful wave :-)


cantSUPenough
VIC, 1331 posts
8 Aug 2017 1:35PM
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Great STC - thanks very much for such a detailed reply! It is extremely helpful to see it done correctly and incorrectly. (Did you make that turn in the third shot? Impressive!)

I am going to mount my camera on the nose again so I can see what I am actually doing. I am reasonably happy with the results of my turns on the smaller waves, but I don't really know if I am pivoting on the tail or driving with the rail. On the bigger waves, I am either not committing, or my technique is catching up with me (or the fins are stopping me). The video does not lie!

colas
2057 posts
8 Aug 2017 3:03PM
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supthecreek, excellent point: even if we know what to do in theory, often the challenge is to find how to put it in practice, it is often useful to set ourselves a goal that will make things click in place. For me, for instance, it is to try to squat a la spiderman/stinkbug that helps me the most for the bottom turns.

Johndesu "I would like to see you Colas surfing on a larger more powerful wave", actually, I am a bit like cantSUPenough, above some size, I do not have the commitment nor technique to manage handling wide boards, so I kind of "cheat" by resorting to narrower boards and/or bigger rear fin(s) (and smaller front fins) and/or straighter outlines, all things that slow down the board response to a roll and let my body lean to the inside without immediately doing a sharp turn. Or I just place myself more forward on the board for the same effect.
But I must say that when waves are big I now tend to grab the foil and have fun in sheltered spots, as big swells here is what creates these long non-breaking waves that are so insane to foil on.

An example what not to do: On my bottom turn I did not squat and thus did not perform the "counter turn" and you can see how the wide board stays flat. This half-assed tun would have worked on a narrow board.

SunovaBouy
78 posts
8 Aug 2017 6:11PM
Thumbs Up

Such a great thread.

Traff
SA, 51 posts
8 Aug 2017 7:52PM
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Select to expand quote
hilly said..

sgo said..


cantSUPenough said..



sgo said..
I notice the acid has flyers on the rail similar to the speed.
I know on the speed you do need to get your back foot at least on the flyer or behind it to transform the turning performance, two different boards with foot forward or back of the flyers.





Thanks sgo - but you may be thinking about the new Creek. The Acid does not have those channels - it is flat.




Not referring to the channels, but the step in the rail-line, out-line.



That would be a "hip" and yes these will cause issues at speed. The Speeed with its channels seems to get around the problem to some extent.


I agree with Hilly 100%. I have an Acid and have sometimes had issues (only on my fore hand) with bottom turns skipping out. I feel I have nurse my bottom turns in bigger waves. I have just purchased a new Creek and so far had no issues with this. One of the channels is right on the hip/flyer and helps give more bite when driving hard off the bottom.

cantSUPenough
VIC, 1331 posts
8 Aug 2017 8:43PM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
hilly said..
Can of worms where everyone will have an opinion :)

Sups are hard to bottom turn when going fast on fat sloping waves. When the wave draws off the reef and has a flat area at the bottom it is much easier. Engaging the whole rail is the key not just the back third. Moving your back foot to the side of the board helps.
Not a real big wave but sort of shows it.


Thanks Hilly - sorry, I just noticed your post. I will definitely give that a go. I looked at some video and I noticed that I often don't get my feet over the rail on the bigger waves - my feet are more mobile on the smaller (lower speed) waves.

hilly
WA, 3948 posts
8 Aug 2017 8:35PM
Thumbs Up

Select to expand quote
Traff said..


hilly said..



sgo said..




cantSUPenough said..





sgo said..
I notice the acid has flyers on the rail similar to the speed.
I know on the speed you do need to get your back foot at least on the flyer or behind it to transform the turning performance, two different boards with foot forward or back of the flyers.







Thanks sgo - but you may be thinking about the new Creek. The Acid does not have those channels - it is flat.






Not referring to the channels, but the step in the rail-line, out-line.





That would be a "hip" and yes these will cause issues at speed. The Speeed with its channels seems to get around the problem to some extent.




I agree with Hilly 100%. I have an Acid and have sometimes had issues (only on my fore hand) with bottom turns skipping out. I feel I have nurse my bottom turns in bigger waves. I have just purchased a new Creek and so far had no issues with this. One of the channels is right on the hip/flyer and helps give more bite when driving hard off the bottom.



The channels thin the hip out and add rocker. Thin rails and tail rocker are needed for good bottom turns so it is a brilliant design. Love my Speeed and my custom Insane in juice. In smaller waves not so good.

FRP
51 posts
8 Aug 2017 9:21PM
Thumbs Up

Thanks everyone. My Sup surf guru here in Tofino Catherine Bruhwiler gave me this advice on learning to bottom turn. The first five waves you catch practice the bottom turn and comit to it so that the goal is to launch straight off the back of the wave. That she said "is a bottom turn". Today I will take that advice and with the pearls that have been given by Creek and Colas and others will hope to have a better bottom turn.
Cheers
Bob

cantSUPenough
VIC, 1331 posts
9 Aug 2017 3:07AM
Thumbs Up

A couple of thoughts. I agree with Bob's (and Catherine's) conclusions about learning to bottom-turn by turning so hard that you go off the back of the wave*, however, from what I have learned in this thread, you can do that the "right way" (using the rail and carving) or the "wrong way" (using the tail and pivoting). My personal challenge is to do this with the rail, and do it at high speed (on bigger, more powerful waves).

* that's actually where this started for me a while ago when Tardy (Phil) urged me to "go vertical" - if you aim to go off the back of the wave that's the closest you can get to "going vertical" - but you have to be balanced so that you can actually turn and come back down



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"Technique question: Bottom turns" started by cantSUPenough