Doing a Solid Cutback

From time to time, I have people asking me to help them out with their surfing. Due to this, I have decided to post a few tips here and there on this page to help out the surfing public. For my first post, I have decided to focus on the cut back. Being in Florida, knowing how to use your rails and to do a solid cut back is critical. A surfer should try to stay within a 3 foot square of the white water as they ride. Of course, if you are in a break that is chugging off like a freight train, you are probably not to concerned with staying close to the pocket.

Mind my scribbling on the photos but it will illustrate my point.

Picture 1.

So what is my subject doing wrong? Like any sport, your head is your guide. First off, notice where the subject is looking. He is looking down to the trough. Long before he was in this position, the surfer should have rotated his upper body around to see where the white water is that he wants to bank off of. As you noticed, I drew arrows coming off of his arms…that is show that he should be rotating his upper body then down through his trunk. The next issue is his legs. The surfer should be low and driving through his turns. The surfer has his front leg locked out which will make a good turn impossible. This is also why his front foot is lifting off of the board. Basically, this guy is heading towards a failure.

Pic 2

As I stated before, this surfer’s poor execution causes him to bog out and yes, he is throwing a nice spray but as his board clearly shows, he is about to go for a swim. Due to his lack of upper body rotation and not spotting where the white water is to bank off of, the surfer bogs instead of doing a complete cutback. I drew a cross through the surfers body to illustrate where his arms should have been or even a bit higher to get lift out of the cutback. As you can see, his shoulders are far below that point and he is not in a “T” stance at all. His poor technique also caused the last death-blow which is that his weight is now way over his front foot at the bottom of the wave. Adios amigo!

So remember these steps:

  1. Get up high into the face and then turn your head to spot where you are going.
  2. Keep your body in a “T” shape and open up your shoulders.
  3. Throw your upper body into the cutback to get the desired angle and bend your knees and compress through the turn.
  4. Lift your upper body as you approach the lip line that you are going to bank off of.
  5. By the time your board is hitting the foam, you should be looking at where your bottom turn is going to be. Remember…your head leads the way.

Hope this helps and if you have any questions…feel free to drop me an e-mail.

Thanks and stay in the pocket!


About 1stpeaksteve

Welcome to The Side Wedge! The Side Wedge is a product of the journey through life of Steve Zima. Former professional surfer, a writer, surf coach, and hospitality manager. This is a collection of travel tips, motivation, and stories from my past. Finally, I offer surf coaching through The Side Wedge. Please feel free to contact me with questions if you want to improve your performance today! Thanks for reading!
This entry was posted in Surf Training and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Doing a Solid Cutback

  1. michael "grunion" goldstein says:

    hey man i just found out about this Website. LOving the content, i also struggle with the sloppy waves florida has but man i wish i had read this before i went out today.

  2. Pingback: Improve Your Surfing – And More! Pt. 2 | The Side Wedge

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