We can’t all be genetically gifted like rear end royalty Nicki Minaj or Jennifer Lopez. But there’s a lot we can do to improve our backside surfing. The biggest problem with surfing backside is it tends to get ignored, it’s everyone’s achilles heel. Most surfers will select mainly frontside waves because it’s easier and it looks better. But if you focus on your weakest link, ie your backside, it can up your entire game.
Of course, I’m as guilty as the next surfer at neglecting my backside, here’s a photo of me getting it all wrong. I mean, is it possible for me to stick out my ass any further? I suck at backside, but I’m on mission to get better.
The first part of improving your backside is understanding that it’s very different to surfing frontside. The shapes you makewith your body are like night and day. It’s like in tennis where a player’s forehand is very different to their backhand.
1) Starting with the backside pop up, try to keep both shoulders facing towards the nose of your surfboard. Don’t let your leading shoulder do what it wants to do, ie lead. Retract the leading shoulder and nudge the trailing shoulder forward. Whilst you’re popping up tell your front knee to kiss your trailing upper arm.
2) Make sure you are looking where you want to go, be especially disciplined with your eyes when going backside.
3) Be careful of your foot placement. There’s much more potential for the dreaded FFS (front foot syndrome) where the front foot lands on the rail instead of on the stringer.
4) If you can try to angle your back foot to 45 degrees to the stringer. This will allow your upper body to rotate more easily.
5) The backside stance is a much more athletic setup than its frontside cousin. Keep the shoulders aligned over the rails of the surfboard. Do not turn your back to the wave, instead try to turn your chest towards the wave. This of course goes against your intuition. Intuition will tell you it’s much safer to put your back to that scary wave. But don’t be shy and face up to it.
6) Position the leading arm on the same side as the wave face. The leading arm should not be on the same side as the trailing arm because that will put you into the dreaded poo stance.
7) In this athletic stance drop your back knee down towards the board’s stringer. This will give you much better stability and balance.
Ok, that’s going to keep you outta trouble for a while. The main message is don’t shy away from going backside. What could possibly be better than a shapely, but tight backside?