The bottom turn is performed at the trough or bottom of the wave. Hence, it is called the bottom turn. It is usually the first turn you perform after you have taken off on a wave.

Once you have taken a wave, you ideally want to build up as much speed as possible. So you head down to the through of the wave. The bigger the drop down the wave, the more speed you will gain.

Once you reach the bottom of the wave, the wave will probably pass you by, or knock you off, if you do not turn to get back onto the face of the wave.

The speed at which you can go into the turn and the amount you lean into your turn will depend on your level of ability.

When you are first learning this turn, you will begin by performing smaller bottom turns where you have only built up a minimal amount of speed. You may not be taking off down the wave too steeply but more likely on an angled take off across the waves face.


Step 1: Ride to the bottom of the wave, where the wave goes flat.

Pro tip: Look down the line and decide which bottom turn will be best for the oncoming section:

  • Deep bottom turn = Snap, Re-entry
  • Shallow bottom turn = Roundhouse, Cutback

Step 2: Compress your body nice and low.

Step 3: Lean forward and place your weight on your toes (do not drag your toes in the water).

Step 4: Place trailing hand into the water (use as a pivot) and hold this position for an extra second.

Step 5: Turn your shoulders into the wave and focus on where you want to go.

Step 6: Get the rail of your surfboard into the water, push all the weight through your legs to your toes to tilt the board.

Step 7: Push with your back foot as you come off the bottom to steer the board.

Step 8: Keep your knees bent and drive up the wave’s face using your speed through the transition.

Step 9: Rotate your hips and torso to follow the nose of the board.

Step 10: Extend all the way through your turn.


X Leaning too hard and falling off into the wave face.

X Leaning over without having enough speed. This will cause you to fall off.

X Grabbing a rail in the water (i.e. the water is holding the rail) resulting in you not being able to turn the board. This generally happens when you do not have enough speed or you put too much weight over your front foot.

X Going too far out in front of the wave before turning (losing speed). When you turn, you will come to a stop. The wave will catch up to you and knock you off your board.


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