Tofino surfing: Frontside Floaters
by Peter Devries, Tofino
Basic manoeuvres, such as front side floaters, are often overlooked
in modern surfing, but they can be very useful for a variety of situations.
Floaters can be used to make sections, or to finish off a wave, and
they are always a good way of generating speed for your next manoeuvre.
There are three important things to notice when learning to successfully
complete a floater: getting on to the lip, riding the lip, and re-entering
back into the wave. The first thing you need is speed so stay high
in the wave, and generate as much speed as you can.
Next, look for a section that is just about to break, and start your
bottom turn from the middle of the wave face. Bottom turn at 20 or
30 degrees, and carry your speed up and along the wave. You donât
want to go straight up (90 degrees) because then you wonÕt go
anywhere when you get on to the lip. At this point you want to watch
the lip carefully. Place your board on the curling lip while staying
low with your centre of gravity over your back foot. Once on the lip
shift your weight from your toe edge to your heel edge. This allows
you to stay on top of the lip without getting left behind the moving
wave. Shift your weight to your front foot in order to get as much
distance out of the floater as you can. Your eyes should be focused
on the lip line ahead of you as you move along the top of the wave.
When you feel yourself slowing down, or the wave is about to close
out, turn your head over your shoulder to spot the landing. When
you are coming off of the lip you can either ride off with the falling
lip, or you can ollie off to the bottom of the wave. An ollie should
be used when the lip is heavy, or when the wave is sizeable.
Coming off the lip will cause your body to extend so try to keep
your style together as much as possible, and brace yourself for the
Place your board flat on the wave face, bend your knees to absorb
the shock of landing, and use the speed you have gained for your
When you first learn this manoeuvre start on small crumbly waves,
preferably a beach break. Once you get it down move up to bigger
adding your own style and tweaks. Have fun!