tofino surfing - speed on a backside wave

Tofino Surfing: Speed on a Backside Wave

by Peter Devries


Getting speed on a backside wave is a little more difficult than getting speed on a frontside wave, but you follow the same idea. All you have to remember is to stay high on the wave, and you'll have success getting all the speed you need to make sections.

Paddle for a backside wave. As you're paddling angle your board towards the open face and pop to your feet as soon as possible. When you reach your feet get back to the top of the wave by pumping. Your back foot should be farther forward than it would be if you were doing a turn. This will enable you to get on the flat part of your board therefore making it easier to get speed. Use pressure from your back foot to turn your board up the wave.

Your front foot should guide you and drive your board up the wave. This first mini pump is the most important because it will give you speed for the rest of the wave. When you reach the top of the wave you can do your first full pump. Put pressure on your the toe side edge of your front foot, as you bend your knees.

Drive down towards the middle of the wave with as much power as you can. Watch the wave ahead of you by looking over your leading shoulder, and stay low with your arms in front of your body pointed down the line. This will keep your momentum going forward. When you reach the middle of the wave drive back up to the top by putting pressure on the heel side edge of your front foot. Push hard on your back foot while lifting your front foot. Your body will extend when you go up the wave, so try to keep your arms in front of your chest pointed down the line.

Watch the place on the wave where you are going and the shape of the wave down the line. Drive up the wave as hard as you can to get as much speed out of the pump as possible. When you reach the top of the wave go straight into your next pump to get even more speed. After pumping through a few sections try banking a hard power turn or boosting an air to make full use of your speed.

Over time pumping becomes natural and you will learn how to take one pump and utilize the speed you get for the whole wave. A great example of getting speed on small waves is Taj Burrows‚ section in Untitled.

Backside Wave Speed Tips:

  1. Pop up quickly and take a mini pump to get back to the top of the wave.
  2. Bend your knees and get farther forward on to the flat portion of your board.
  3. Push hard on your front foot when going down the wave, and pull up on it when going up the wave.
  4. Always watch the lip as well as the section ahead of you.

Pete Devries grew up in Tofino and has been in surf competitions since he was 14.

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Tofino surf lesson article by Peter Devries for Tofino Time Magazine: Speed on a backside Wave.

tofino time february 2007

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