By Shawn Tracht (Surfer) / Photos: Andy Bowlin
So let’s start out as cliche as possible: …like any maneuver in surfing, speed is the number one key to successfully completing your turns.
Phew…now that that’s over…
Seriously though, when trying to successfully complete a 360 reverse off the white water, speed is an asset, but it’s what you do with that speed by controlling it through the turn that has the greatest impact.
Angles: The number one thing to know, with any successful maneuver, is your angles. So as you study the slideshow, and you try to visualize yourself completing this maneuver, be very cognizant of the angles in which my board, head, and arms are facing.
- When you come towards a white wash section that is heading straight at you, instead of taking a steep bottom turn, you actually hardly want to take a bottom turn at all. Rather, you want to stay high on the wave.
- As you come to meet the foam section, the number one thing to remember is that before you go for the grab, you need to bank your board off the on-coming foam, making very sure that your intent is to bring the nose of your board to the bottom of the wave, the bottom of the foam, before you go for the grab and spin.
- Interlude: Obviously this all happens very quickly, however, you just want to be attempting to get the nose of the board down towards the bottom of the on-coming white wash foam right before you simultaneously go for the grab.
- Go for the grab later than you would think you should. Rotate your body first, and then once your body and head are twisting for the bottom, grab.
- Once you grab, you don’t even really have to pull on your board at all if your angle is heading down the face of the wave, as mentioned above. The grab will help you stay centered over your board and will also quickly release the fins from the wash, which is crucial.
- OK, this is the critical moment: As your fins release and whip around, continue to look in the direction you want to go! If you really want to complete the 360, then continue twisting your head in the direction that you want to go, stay centered over your front foot, hang on, and don’t give up on yourself even though going backwards is going to be a little scary.
- If you can make it past 180 degrees and you stay committed to looking in the direction that you want to go, you will have a moment of release where your fins will catch and spin you quickly the rest of the way around to 360. So stay committed!
- After you ride it out, paddle out calmly like it happens all the time, whether it’s your first one ever, or just your first one of the day.
Synopsis: Remember, start high, head towards the bottom of the on coming white wash, then grab, don’t give up when you get scared going backwards, continuing twisting your head in the direction you want to go, and Voila, you’re now a 360 spinner!