Tofino Surfing: Backside Air
by Peter Devries, Tofino
Backside airs are great to have in your repertoire of tricks. They're
perfect for finishing off a wave, and they feel really smooth when
you do them correctly. In my opinion they are easier to do than frontside
airs because it's easier to launch off the lip on your backhand,
but the landings can be a little tricky.
Start by catching a steep backside wave with a bowling end section.
Steep beach breaks are an ideal place to learn this trick. While you're
paddling into the wave, angle your board down the line towards the
open face of the wave in order to get lots of speed off the take-off.
Pop to your feet as fast as you can, and drive up the wave with a powerful
pump. Remember speed is going to be the key to getting your board over
the lip so try to put as much effort into pumping as you can.
When you reach the top of the wave push down on your front foot to
drive down the wave to gain more speed. Watch the wave carefully
because the end section that you want to launch off will be coming
at you very
Start your bottom turn from in between the bottom and the middle
of the wave at a 20 to 30 degree angle so that when you reach the top
of the wave your board will connect with the close out. If you do
much of a bottom turn your momentum will carry you out the back of
the wave when you launch off the lip so you have to be very precise.
While doing your bottom turn watch the lip you are about to launch
off. Your arms should be balanced on either side of you and your
head and upper body should be slightly turn towards the lip. Centre
weight and bend your knees before you launch off the lip.
Project your momentum off the lip by riding off the steepest part
of the wave, right where the whitewater meets the open face. Bend your
knees and suck your board up towards your body while turning your
towards the beach, and pushing on your back leg. This will cause
your board to rotate slightly so the tail of your board will be higher
the nose of your board(style purposes). Try and stay balanced over
the top of your board by staying low, and try not to kick your back
foot off your board.
Once you reach your high point and start to descend, look for a place
to land. You either want to land on the top of the wave (if it has
closed out), or in the transition, not in the flats in front of of
the wave. As you are coming down your body will extend. Keep your knees
bent and try to keep your style together. Don't land airs with
straight legs, unless you want to wreck your knees and ankles. Stomp
your landing, and bend your knees to absorb the shock. Ride it out,
and claim it for everyone on the beach.
Once you get straight backside airs down try to do rotations or to
add grabs in for variation. I think it's actually easier to do
rotation airs rather than straight airs on your backhand because your
momentum carries you off the lip when you spin. You might want to try
those if your finding straight airs too difficult. Check out Taj, and
Andy for these ones.
Backside Air Tips: