How To Do Bottom Turn In Surfing

Table of Contents

Surfing is an exhilarating water sport that allows individuals to connect with the power of the ocean and ride the waves. One of the fundamental maneuvers every surfer should learn is the bottom turn. A bottom turn serves as the foundation for executing more advanced moves and enables surfers to generate speed and set up for other maneuvers on a wave. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of performing a perfect bottom turn, breaking down the technique step by step.


Understanding the Bottom Turn

Before diving into the mechanics of executing a bottom turn, it is crucial to comprehend its purpose. A bottom turn allows surfers to redirect their momentum and change direction while riding a wave. It involves carving a smooth arc at the bottom of the wave, setting up for more dynamic maneuvers on the face of the wave. The bottom turn essentially helps a surfer generate speed and power by utilizing the energy of the wave.


Proper Body Positioning

To initiate a bottom turn effectively, maintaining the correct body positioning is key. Start by centering your weight over the midpoint of your surfboard, with your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly bent knees. Keep your upper body facing forward, maintaining a relaxed and balanced stance. As you approach the bottom of the wave, lean slightly into the turn, bending your knees more and engaging your core muscles for stability.


Timing and Speed Control

Timing is everything in surfing, especially when it comes to executing a bottom turn. To time your bottom turn correctly, it is essential to read the wave and anticipate when it starts to peel. As the wave begins to break, shift your weight slightly forward and apply pressure on your front foot. This will help you maintain control and ensure a smooth transition as you initiate the bottom turn. Additionally, learning how to control your speed by adjusting your body position and subtly adjusting your weight distribution will allow you to execute the turn with precision and finesse.


Foot Placement and Weight Distribution

Proper foot placement and weight distribution play a crucial role in executing a successful bottom turn. As you approach the bottom of the wave, your front foot should be angled slightly towards the wave face, providing stability and control. The back foot should be positioned closer to the tail of the surfboard, allowing for better maneuverability and responsiveness. During the turn, shift your weight slightly onto your toes and apply pressure on the inside rail of the board. This will help you engage the rail and carve through the water smoothly, generating speed and setting up for your next move.


Engaging the Rail

Mastering the art of engaging the rail is essential to perform a powerful and precise bottom turn. As you initiate the turn, focus on driving your surfboard’s rail into the water. By leaning into the turn and applying pressure on the inside rail, you create a deeper carve, which helps you generate speed and maintain control. It’s important to distribute your weight evenly on both feet, ensuring that you maintain stability and control throughout the turn. By effectively engaging the rail, you can maximize the energy transfer from the wave to your surfboard, allowing you to execute a smooth and efficient bottom turn.


Common Mistakes to Avoid

Even experienced surfers can make mistakes when performing a bottom turn. It’s crucial to be aware of these common errors and pitfalls to improve your technique. Some common mistakes to avoid include leaning back too much, which can cause you to lose control and lose speed, and not bending your knees enough, which hinders your ability to maneuver smoothly. It’s also important to avoid rushing the turn and not looking where you want to go, as this can lead to loss of balance and direction. By being mindful of these mistakes and focusing on maintaining proper body positioning and weight distribution, you can enhance your bottom turn technique.


Advancing Your Bottom Turn

Once you have mastered the fundamentals of a bottom turn, it’s time to take it to the next level. This section will introduce advanced techniques to refine your bottom turn skills. You can experiment with different bottom turn variations, such as a more vertical or horizontal turn, depending on the wave and your desired maneuver. Combining maneuvers, such as linking a bottom turn into a cutback or an off-the-lip, will add fluidity and style to your surfing. Additionally, adapting your bottom turn technique to different wave conditions, such as beach breaks or point breaks, will further enhance your versatility as a surfer.



Mastering the bottom turn is a fundamental skill for any surfer aiming to elevate their performance. By understanding the technique, body positioning, and weight distribution, and avoiding common mistakes, you can execute powerful and precise bottom turns. Keep practicing, experimenting, and pushing your limits, and soon you’ll be carving up the waves with confidence and style.

Remember, surfing is not just about nailing the moves—it’s about embracing the ocean, immersing yourself in the moment, and enjoying the incredible journey it offers. So, grab your board, hit the waves, and experience the thrill of a perfectly executed bottom turn.

Josh Mitchell

Josh Mitchell

"I live and breath boardriding"

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