November 29

How To Turn A Surfboard – Three Important Techniques


I know what you’re thinking, what does turning your surfboard around have to do with actually surfing?

Well, you’ll be surprised to know that this simple skill is WAY more important than you might think, and there’s a big difference between being able to do it ok vs doing it like the pros.

In this post you’ll learn:

  • The three turning techniques - Which one is the best, and which one’s to  avoid.
  • Why being able to turn your surfboard on a dime is a bigger deal than you first thought.
  • Exactly how to do a 180 directional swivel in under 0.5secs
  • And a whole lot more…

Let's go.


Granted, every surfer that hits the water from day one is able to turn their surfboard around in some shape or form.

But, there’s a big difference in being able to do it in 0.5 seconds vs 5 seconds as we’re about to find out…


Get this turning manoeuvre right, and it’ll open up your surfing in the following ways.


Being able to turn your surfboard around quickly means you can make better positional changes in the lineup. 

Why is this important?

Well, it means you no longer have to be static in the ocean, happy with the cards you’ve been dealt, and instead you can make big positional adjustments to get yourself in the right spots more often. 

The result?

It means being in the right place, at the right time - more often. 

Which’ll send your make-rate through the roof.


Surfing onshore waves is very different to surfing offshore waves.

The waves are less uniform and much closer together, and as such, make them much more difficult to catch.  

Surfing waves like this requires much quicker reflexes giving you much less time to prepare for each wave you catch.  

The ability to swivel fast really helps in these scenarios.

COMPETING FOR WAVES: Lots of waves that people paddle for they fail to catch, and if you're not able to swivel quickly and react in these situations you'll miss waves that could've been yours.


Lots of waves that people paddle for they fail to catch, and if you're not able to swivel quickly and react in these situations you'll miss waves that could've been yours.

More waves = More opportunity to improve

Who would’ve thought so much good could come from a simple swivel of the board hey?


Alright, now there are three ways you can turn your surfboard around in the water.

Two of them are slow as hell and should be avoided like the plague, and the other one is the one we recommend... 

Let’s take a look at all three below;


The Titanic turn is when a surfer is lying on their surfboard in the prone position, using just their arms with tiny little paddles to slowly (very slowly) turn their surfboard around.

This is by far the slowest way to turn around, and should be avoided.

Turning Time: 5 Seconds +


The Helicopter technique is where a surfer will be sitting on their surfboard using their legs and arms rotating in a circular motion to turn their surfboards around. 

This is the most common board turning technique you’ll see, and it serves a purpose to a degree, but it’s still much too slow for us. 

Turning time: 2-3 Seconds


The Swivel is by far the fastest way to turn a surfboard around.

Done well a surfer will be able to make a complete 180 turn in under 0.5 seconds.

It's the technique used by the pro's and it's the technique we recommend to our students too.

The swivel - when done correctly - is more of a controlled fall than a steady pivot.

Done right, it's one fluid motion from sitting on your board looking out to sea, to full 180 swivel into paddle in one motion.

It'll take a lot of practice to get it right, but it's well worth the investment that's for sure.

Here's how it's done.

  • Sit on your board with it facing out to the horizon.
  • Depending on which direction you prefer to swivel in - around to your left, or to your right - hold your outside rail with one hand.
  • Lean back over the shoulder of your opposite arm, to the point whereby you're almost falling backwards.
  • Allow yourself to fall back, swivelling your board as you do so, turning the whole 180 degrees in one complete movement - almost in a controlled fall.
  • And that's it, you've done it!


Being able to turn your surfboard around in under 0.5secs has a BIG impact out in the water.

You’ll catch more waves, be able to manoeuvre into better positions, and increase your success rate as a result.

This little skill really packs a punch, and getting it dialled will elevate your surfing to a whole new level. 

You got this.


Rowan 🤙


Rowan is the nerd behind the scenes.  But when he's not knee-deep in code, you'll find him immersed in the crypto-world or sending it at his local beachie.

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