Tofino Surfing: The Layback Snap
by Peter Devries, Tofino
Laybacks are one of my favourite moves because they are so unpredictable.
You never know what will happen. You could kick your tail out the back
and fall right away; or you could hang on with one foot and pull the
best move of your life. There are a few keys, but you just have to
go with the flow, and trust yourself and the wave on your recovery.
Approach the section on your forehand with speed. You can either
do laybacks on steep sections or on closeouts that aren’t bowling
too much. You want about as much speed as you would for a little frontside
air. Start your bottom turn earlier than you would if you were going
to hit the lip to get to the lip before it breaks. A 50 to 70 degree
angle is what you want. Stay low, focus on the section, and get ready
to push your back leg out. You want to start laybacks early so you
don’t kick your fins out the back, and loose control. Half way
up the wave is a good place to initiate the turn. Initialize the layback
by leaning back, sticking your back arm in the water and pushing as
hard as you can on your back leg. You want this to be a smooth motion.
Your arm will serve as a pivot point and give you stability through
the turn. Don’t just kick you tail out of the water with all
the power you can because you will loose control. Push hard through
the turn with your back foot to throw buckets out the back while still
in control. You won’t be able to see to much once your tail has
kicked out and you’re laying back in the wash so you just have
to go on feeling. Hold on! Don’t give up at this point because
sometimes miracles can happen. Even if you’re hanging on with
one toe try to make it. Once your board has turned as far as possible
try to pull it back towards you and under your body. If you choose
the right section to do a layback on the wave will help you get back
up, but having a strong core and stomach muscles will help. The longer
you wait to get up the harder it will be. Getting your board close
to you by pulling with your feet and bending your knees combined with
using the wave against your back will get you to your feet. Ride out
of the wash with style and look for the next section.
Layback snaps are a tricky move. A lot of trial and error goes into
learning them, but when you finally get lucky and land one it will
all be worth it. Slater and AI are the best in the game at laybacks,
so watch them for inspiration. Do your sit-ups too.
Peter Devries grew up in Tofino and has been in surf competitions
since he was 14. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tofino surf school: Tofino surfing expert Peter Devries explains the 'Layback Snap' in this article for Tofino Time Magazine.