The complete list of surfing tricks
Find out which surfing trick is which, what they’re called, what they look like in real life, their level of difficulty and more.
Use the links below to jump to the surf trick of choice, or read through them all and become an expert at each.
SURFING TRICKS: THE COMPLETE LIST
The bottom turn isn't seen as a surf trick as such, but it sets up the foundation of ALL good surfing.
Often overlooked, the bottom turn is a manoeuvre pivotal to maintaining speed and setting up virtually every other surf trick in the book.
FOREHAND BOTTOM TURN
BACKHAND BOTTOM TURN
A cutback is a 180° directional change on a surfboard.
Surfers use the cutback to manoeuvre themselves back into the power source of the wave to maintain speed.
The roundhouse cutback is a full figure of eight movement whereby the surfer redirects from the open face of the wave back to the whitewater, maintaining speed throughout.
FOREHAND ROUNDHOUSE CUTBACK
BACKHAND ROUNDHOUSE CUTBACK
The snap is one of the most functional, most used tricks in surfing, often the first technical manoeuvre a surfer will learn.
A snap is where a surfer pivots and changes direction quickly in the pocket of the wave.
A re-entry is a trick similar to a snap (very similar to be honest), but rather than turning in the pocket, a re-entry will be a turn off the lip of the wave.
Most commonly done at the end of a wave as it closes out, referred to as a 'closeout re-entry'.
A floater is where a surfer rides over the top of the wave.
The basic version of the trick can be performed over crumbling whitewater - riding over and across it - and the more advanced version of the trick will see a surfer riding on top of the wave as it's barrelling.
There are extreme versions of laybacks whereby a surfer will push so hard into a carving turn that they are literally laying on their back on the waves face, and there are more functional versions where a surfer will lean right back into the turn - laying back slightly and riding out.
A tailslide is an extension of the snap whereby a surfer will project through the turn so much so that the fins are release out the back of the wave, allowing the tail of the board to slide.
A 360° is (you guessed it) a full 360° turn of the board.
They can be done on the flat-ish part of the wave, or can be done as part of a carving turn (these are known as carving 360°'s).
A reverse 360° is where a surfer will rotate in the opposite direction to the bottom turn.
A reverse 360° will start with a bottom turn to snap combination, followed by a tail slide to drift the surfboard around in a full spin.
FOREHAND REVERSE 360°
BACKHAND REVERSE 360°
The club sandwich is an extension of the reverse 360°, but performed under the lip of a barreling wave making the turn more inverted.
A barrel or tube is where a surfer is riding inside a breaking wave.
The best feeling you will ever experience if you're lucky enough to snag one.
An aerial is a trick whereby the surfer launches their board above the lip of a breaking wave.
A chop-hop is a trick taken from skateboarding.
This manoeuvre doesn't require a surfer to project out of the lip, instead it can be performed on the flats, or on the shoulder of a wave.
An air reverse is where a surfer will project into an aerial manoeuvre, land with their tail facing the beach, and continue to spin out of the turn in a full 360° rotation.
If a surfer manages to complete the entire 360° spin in the air the trick is called 'full-rotation air reverse'.
FOREHAND AIR REVERSE
BACKHAND AIR REVERSE
An alley-oop is an aerial trick whereby a surfer projects into the air continuing the tradjectory of the bottom turn, rotating mid air and landing back into the wave.
A varial is an aerial manouvre whereby a surfers feet are removed from the board and the board rotates underneath them.
WRAPPING IT UP
With a bit of luck you're no longer in the dark when it comes to understanding what the hell people are talking about when it comes to surfing tricks.
Whether you can do them on the other hand is a different question
But, with a little practice you should be able to start working your way through this list, progressing and improving along the way.
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.