How to do a bottom turn on your bodyboard with Rob Barber – Bodyboard Holidays
The humble bottom turn is a critical aspect of any bodyboarders riding and one of the hardest moves to do properly. The execution of a well-performed bottom turn will set you up for the rest of the wave and whatever you may choose to do with it. Whether it is an aerial manoeuvre or barrel ride, performing a powerful bottom turn is crucial to how the rest of your wave play’s out.
This is a move we’re well versed at here at Bodyboard Holidays and when coaching on any of our bodyboard holidays or coaching weekends, we embrace the importance of giving you the right information to perfect this fundamental skill. Once you’ve got the hang of it, your power and speed will become vastly improved and your overall wave riding technique instantly better.
Like any manoeuvre performed on a bodyboard, it starts with choosing a good wave and paddling into it with speed. The earlier you can get into the breaking wave, the easier and smoother your bottom turn will be. The bigger and more ‘sucky’ the waves are, the harder this move will become as timing becomes more crucial.
Once you’ve caught the wave and have dropped into it, you’ll need to be thinking about the transferring the speed you generate from the initial drop down the waves face, to ‘down the line speed’. To maintain the speed through your turn it must be smooth and well calculated (check video @ 0.28).
To do this, you’ll need to do something called a ‘scoop’ (check video @ 0.29). A scoop is a motion in which you put just enough weight onto the inside rail of your bodyboard, engaging it enough that it draws you off the bottom of the wave and in to the section of the wave you want to be. Begin the bottom turn as you reach the bottom third of the wave. You will need to be looking, leaning and lunging in the direction that you’re going, whilst trying to create the curved line associated with a good bottom turn. The bigger the wave, the lower on the wave you should draw the bottom turn. The smaller the wave the higher on the wave face it should be.
In theory, this sounds relatively easy, but there is a fine line between engaging your inside rail just enough, and over engaging (bogging) your rail by leaning too far into it, resulting in your elbow or arm dragging in the face of the wave (check video @ 0.44).
The moment you over engage your rail and drag your elbow or arm, any speed generated from the initial drop into the wave will be lost, this will likely result in the wave engulfing you and pushing you out in front of the whitewash. Not engaging the rail enough will end up in you going straight out in front of the wave, outrunning it and eventually losing all your speed. This is known as sliding out. Again, you will end up being engulfed by the whitewash and instead of being out on the wall of the wave you want to be riding; you’ll be clinging to your bodyboard, heading straight for the shore.
A good bottom turn will result in you being in a great position on the wave for a tube ride, aerial manoeuvre or trimming position, with plenty of speed still carrying you along the waves face.