by Peter Devries, Tofino
The frontside snap is not a cutback. It’s a quick directional
change that can be useful to surfers of all skill levels. It’s
a great move when you’re first learning to turn because you don’t
have to set your rail perfectly; but it’s also a perfect set-up
move for an experienced surfer who’s flowing into a big combo
or hitting an air section.
Catch a frontside wave of any size or shape. Cruise down the line
and look for a fairly steep section with a bit of wall off the pocket.
There has tobe a bit of wall so you can keep your speed and not dig
in your rail. If it’s flat you probably want to do a cutback
instead of a snap. You want tobottom turn at a 30 to 50 degree angle
up the face. This will help youcontinue your momentum down the line
after the snap is complete. If you try to go too vertical you’ll
get caught in the lip and loose all your speed unless your timing is
perfect. Keep your eyes focused on the section you’re about to
slash while bending your knees and driving through the bottom turn.
You want to initiate the snap right when you get to the top half of
the wave. To do this, turn your shoulders into the snap. Your front
leg should be almost completely straight, (make sure your knee is not
locked because that can lead to injury), and driving through the turn
like you’re going to do a cutback. This will only be for the
start of the turn because as soon as you start cutting back you want
to push hard on your back leg. This will cause your back leg to straighten
out, your front leg to bend and buckets of spray to fly out the back.
Push hard through the snap until your back leg is fully extended. Your
weight should be over your front foot, but your back leg needs to be
powerful and solid. Stay low and solid over top of your board. Your
eyes should be focused on the shape of the wave, and the nose and toe-side
rail of your board. You want to be sure to keep your nose up if the
wave is steep so you don’t stick it in on your next bottom turn.
If you are flowing into a combo you still need to be conscience of
digging your nose, but you need to know what’s going on down
the line so you either have to see your section before you start your
bottom turn or right after you complete the snap. Once you’ve
pushed the snap as far as it’s going to go, and your fins have
caught back into the wave (during some snaps your fins can release
for a brief second so feel for drive out of your tail again) your board
will start moving down the wave again. Keep your momentum going by
flying straight into another snap or by pumping down the line towards
the on-coming air section.
The frontside snap is a perfect set-up move that can be used on any
wave in all types of conditions. Points, reefs, beaches, anywhere,
It’s one of the best moves to have in your bag of tricks. Check
out any video section of TajBurrow. He does these all the time.
Frontside Snap Tips: