(Intermediate) Surf Lessons No.19: 360 Spin

Surf 360 – How to Land Them Frontside

Doing a Surf 360 is super fun to learn, the thing is when you start to learn them whether you realise it or not that’s all you will do, every wave you will take off on you will end up trying 360’s.

You might be making them every time and hooked on the feeling of spinning or you might be getting super close but not quite there and that is what is driving you to keep trying them. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s the best way to get good at anything but the truth is they are not the best move in the world of surfing but they are an essential move to opening up all sorts of doors to the biggest and best moves in surfing! You think of any move in surfing that involves a 360 spin… backhand air reverse, backhand reverse, floater reverse, ally oop to name just a couple. Well all those surfing moves require you to learn the surf 360 first because they all have spins in them and before you can do them you need to know the feeling of what its like to go backwards on your surfboard and also the feeling of how your fins catch back in the water to spin you all the way round!


The Steps of the Surf 360

The best way to learn a 360 surfing is off a mushy section of white water, there are way too many kids trying to learn them like Kelly Slater or Bruce Irons do them which is in a big carving motion. Trying to learn them this way will get you nowhere. You have to learn the basics before you move onto the big stuff!

So what you want is a pretty fat wave which is about 2-3ft, if its too steep you will come down the face backwards too fast for you to handle and you will fall.

It helps to have a bit of speed going into it and you want to look for a crumbly softish lip. What you are going to try and do is not a 360 but a 180! You want to put your board in a position where you end up coming down the wave backwards the wave will do the other 180 for you to complete the full 360 degree spin.

So go along the wave and generate some speed and look for a section with a crumbly lip. This can be mid way along a wave or on a closeout section, whatever soft crumbly section you can get your hands on!

As the lip crumbles down the wave you want to take a slowish bottom turn (too hard and you will go straight over the section and off the back of the wave) as you bottom turn into it on your toe side rail you want to place your board on the section that is coming down, as you do this its all about weight distribution, you are now going to need to transfer your weight onto your front foot, the problem with this being if you do it too early you will stop at the top and end up off the back off the wave and if you do it too late you will come down the wave backwards with too much weight on the back foot and your tail will dive underwater. Its going to take a number of attempts on good sections before you even get the feel for how its supposed to go so be persistent.

As you put your board on the white water crumbly section wait for the feeling to come that the wave has picked you up and your starting to travel backwards. As soon as you get that feeling that you are moving backwards transfer pretty much all your weight onto your front foot and keep in a low crouched position, the more crouched you are the better chance you have of staying on your board when you spin. By transferring your body weight onto your front foot it brings the fins out the water as you travel down the wave backwards, this makes for a much more forgiving experience. During the entire time you start going backwards you should be looking over your back shoulder, remember you will generally go where you are looking so make sure your looking over your back shoulder and down your toe edge rail. If you try looking over your front shoulder and heel edge rail there is a good chance you will spin back the way you came. So as you get closer towards the bottom of the wave you need to be ready for your fins to bite back into the wave, this will cause the spin, it can come at any time depending on how your stance is going backwards so be prepared. Once the fins catch back in the water your board will spin, this is where it’s especially important for your upper body to be in a good position to take the spin. As your board starts to spin and you are pretty much facing the beach again it’s a good time to come out of your crouch and feel the excitement that runs through your body now that you have completed a surf 360.


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