How To Do A Cutback In Bodyboarding

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As a bodyboarder, performing a cutback is an essential skill to master. It allows you to change direction mid-wave and maximize your time on the wave face. In this article, we will teach you step-by-step how to perform a cutback, including techniques, tips, and common mistakes to avoid.


What is a cutback in bodyboarding?

In bodyboarding, a “cutback” is a fundamental maneuver performed by riders to change direction on a wave. It is commonly used to regain speed or set up for another maneuver. The cutback involves redirecting the board sharply back towards the breaking part of the wave after riding towards the shoulder (the sloping part of the wave face).

To execute a cutback, a bodyboarder typically starts by angling their board down the face of the wave and generating speed. As they approach the shoulder of the wave, they lean into the wave and apply pressure on the inside rail of the board, which helps to pivot the board. The rider then shifts their weight to the back foot and uses their arms and upper body to initiate the turn. By digging the inside rail into the face of the wave, the rider redirects the board back towards the power source of the wave, allowing them to maintain speed and continue riding.

The cutback is a versatile maneuver that can be adjusted in terms of the angle and intensity, depending on the wave conditions and the rider’s preferences. It is often combined with other maneuvers such as bottom turns, top turns, and aerial maneuvers to create fluid and dynamic bodyboarding rides.


How to set up for a cutback?

Before attempting a cutback, it’s essential to have good wave selection and positioning. You should choose a wave with enough speed and momentum, so you can carry out the maneuver. As you approach the bottom turn or the top of the wave, shift your weight to your back foot and start carving towards the wave’s white water.


What is the proper body positioning for a cutback?

A proper body positioning is fundamental to performing a successful cutback. As you approach the white water, you should lean back and shift your weight onto your back foot. Keep your upper body and head facing forward, and your shoulders and arms relaxed. Your rear hand should be positioned on the tail of the board to provide extra control and stability.


How do you carve for a cutback?

Carving is the key to performing a proper cutback. As you approach the white water, shift your weight onto your back foot and start carving in a horizontal motion. Use your hips and lower body to initiate the turn, and keep your upper body stable. The angle of the carve should be around 45 degrees, and you should aim to cut back towards the wave’s pocket.


What is the importance of timing in a cutback?

Timing is crucial in executing a cutback successfully. It’s essential to read the wave and anticipate the timing of the maneuver. As you approach the white water, wait for the wave to break and start carving just before the section hits you. This timing will allow you to generate more speed and maximize the maneuver’s potential.


What are the common mistakes to avoid when attempting a cutback?

There are some common mistakes that bodyboarders make when attempting a cutback. These include:

– Poor wave selection: Choosing the wrong wave with insufficient speed and power for the maneuver.
– Incorrect positioning: Failing to position yourself correctly on the wave face before attempting the cutback.
– Lack of speed: Not generating enough speed before attempting the maneuver.
– Overturning: Carving too sharply, which can cause you to lose control and wipe out.
– Poor weight distribution: Failing to shift your weight onto the back foot, which can affect the maneuver’s power and stability.
– Bad timing: Starting the carve too early or too late can affect the maneuver’s speed and direction.



In conclusion, performing a cutback requires good timing, body positioning, and balance. It’s a fundamental skill for bodyboarders and a great way to change direction mid-wave. By following the step-by-step guide outlined in this article and avoiding common mistakes, you’ll be able to execute a successful cutback and improve your bodyboarding technique.

Josh Mitchell

Josh Mitchell

"I live and breath boardriding"

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