Easy bottom turn for surfers: Squat like a dog

Stay longer on the wave by doing the bottom turn well.

In this series, so far we have covered fixing the nosedive, hand placement, fixing your surf stance and controlling your speed. You know the basics of standing up on your board and having the right balance on it. Now we will make sure you can do the bottom turn after you popped up.

This is the fun part, now let’s start to turn on the wave.

As usual, we will take some inspiration. This time, from a magical Asian dog:

Quick analysis — why you fall in the water when doing the bottom turn

Here is what is usually happening when you have paddled enough and are dropping in on the wave:

Even if you are thinking that you are not doing it, if you are a beginner, you really look like this from the outside

If you find that you falling flat in the water instead of turning, you are using your torso instead of your legs. You are leaning too much with your upper body instead of using your back leg to pivot the board. And probably standing too erect during turning.

How to bottom turns the right way

Keep nice and low

When you take off, you want to ride down on the wave to the bottom. Pay attention to the following:

  • Lean forward toward the inside rail of the board.
  • Keep your knees bent — a low center of gravity provides better balance
  • Compress your body — make your body as small as you would do when doing a regular squat!
  • Lots of bodyweight on the back leg — back foot toe pressure
  • Trailing hand is almost touching the water as if to use it as a pivot to hang on to
  • Always look at the section you want to hit with your turn — keep your eyes on the “target”

How to practice catching waves at an angle at home

1, Create a line on the floor by using masking tape or a rubber band/string. Stand on the line in the correct surf position as it were the center line of your board:

  • Arms spread out nicely for more balance
  • Torso (chest is facing forward)
  • Knees are squeezed

2. Put something parallel next to your feet 40–60 cm away from you, or create an “X” with masking tape. Imagine that this is the center of a circle. This item will be the target what you want to reach with your trailing hand during the squats

3. Compress your body, bend your knees as much as you can and try to reach the spot with your back hand. Shift your hip backward — put more weight on the back leg/pressure on your back foot’s toes

4, return to the surf stance as per step 1 and repeat the drill 10x. While you are in the 3rd position, stay there for 4–5 seconds. Feel your body, check if you have the mobility/flexibility to do this. If you don’t, email me for some stretch exercises.

This exercise will help you to memorize how deep you have to reach during the bottom turn. Practice this drill 10x in your living room or gym, so you commit it to your muscle memory. Then just remember the squatting dog any time you want to do a bottom turn.

Using this simple drill, you will ride more waves and have more fun surfing. And that is what matters.

Because fun in surfing = catching the most waves during your session.

Let me know if this helped you, or what you want me to cover next by emailing me at [email protected], or sign up below.



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