(Intermediate) Surf Lessons No.21: Roundhouse Cutback – Frontside

The frontside roundhouse cutback is probably one of the most pleasing to watch and do turns in surfing. Roundhouse cutbacks are all about using your rails and taking a clean line.


So what is a Roundhouse Cutback and how does it differ from a normal cutback?

A roundhouse is a cutty where you do a cutback and then keep going until you do a backhand Reo off the wash that is coming at you. A good roundhouse will be one that is done in one single motion, not a series of little ones to get all the way round, it will have lots of spray and your will do your backside Reo at the end of the turn high off the wash!

You might be doing a cutback with a little slide at the end then the lip hits you in the back but you’re not doing a roundhouse until you are going all the way round in a figure 8 and hitting the wash at the end.

Doing a Roundhouse correctly is a lot to do with positioning and taking the correct line! Start you cutback in the wrong place and you will never get all the way round or you will lose all your speed before you have a chance to get all the way round!

How to Stomp a Roundhouse Cutback

We are starting with the Frontside Roundhouse in this lesson and in the next we will teach Backside Roundhouse’s. Here is how you do them and keep your speed all the way through to the rebound section.

Firstly you want to start by NOT doing a massive bottom turn, this is a drawn out turn and you have got a lot of ground to cover so keeping your speed for the whole thing is vital. When you start your cutback don’t jam it into a hard turn, this is where picking your line is so crucial. This is the first thing you should subs. Don’t worry about trying to whip it around hard and smash the lip just concentrate on learning the line you need to take and how to maintain your speed through the whole thing. So go into your turn with a line in mind more so than power. Get some speed down the line and head for the shoulder, do a slow bottom turn up the face, when it comes to starting the cutback don’t start it with a hard turn, you want to do a carving drawn out arc to get the ball rolling, you want to keep your body centered over your board the whole way as well as keeping your rail in the wave the whole way in one continuous motion. If you feel you need a little more speed put some pressure into your tail using your back foot to squirt a bit of drive into the turn. Once you start coming round you should be able to see the wash coming at you, keep your shoulders turned and point them towards the top of the wash where you want to do your rebound, look up at that section with your head as well so you can see where you are going, you want to be able to see the section you are about to hit (but don’t jar your neck too much trying to spot it)! As you approach the wash its more than likely that you are going to feel you are too late to do the turn, don’t be afraid you’re not, it will feel like it but keep telling yourself you will get your board up there and complete the turn. Again a lot of the final phase of this turn is to do with confidence, believe you are going to get round and get that turn in. If it happens that you really are too late and you fall don’t worry about it because it’s not going to hurt you. The roundhouse isn’t a dangerous maneuver to do. As you approach the lip get some pressure on that back foot to really get your board up there (as if you were going to do a backside reo), as you do this, turn your shoulders and your head back down the wave so that as soon as your board hits the lip you can turn out of it and head off back down the line.

Remember if you are finding it difficult to get your roundhouse cutback all the way round just keep doing it, even if you are getting far enough to do a tiny little tap off the bottom of the foam its all a good starting point and the more you try it the more you will feel out the correct line you need to take and when you need to push your board to get the most out of it!


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