Backside snap in surfing

A well-timed and powerful backside snap is an absolute masterpiece.

It may not be the most excellent maneuver, but he lies at the heart of actual progressive surfing. Nat Young, known for performing the most powerful snaps, spoke about the nuances of his signature maneuver.

Bottom turn

You won’t be able to snap a photo without a good bottom turn.

A good bottom turn is the foundation of almost any surfing maneuver, but it is essential for a backside snap.

The real difference lies in the trajectory. If you want to make a real vertical snap, you need to make a deep bottom turn in the lower segment of the wave.

It would help if you didn’t get too close to the sole. Otherwise, you won’t be able to take advantage of the wave’s total energy at the beginning of the bottom of the turn.

It is also not worth starting at an average height. Otherwise, there will not be enough time for a complete turn and exit to the vertical.

It is necessary to find the ideal size, usually in the lower third of the wave, and start the reversal. If you find the correct point, you will immediately feel it during the turn.

Position of the legs

When my backside snaps, I pay special attention to the position of the back leg.

I try to place my foot as close to the trailing edge of the tail pad as possible, right on top of the kicker.

It provides the best control over the board during the reversal, from the bottom of the turn to the snap itself, allowing the rail to wedge into the wave well.

The board’s handling is generally highly dependent on the correct placement of the back foot. For a backside snap, place your foot as close to the stern as possible on the trailing edge of the pad.


If I am doing a strictly vertical snap, I swing my chest to the oncoming lip to take the most upright position at the exit of the bottom of the turn.

When you feel the board roll onto the ridge, you can start to snap. The maneuver must be fast and powerful, which can only be achieved through training.

A good snap is a balancing exercise in which weight is transferred from the back foot to the lead as you go into the top turn.

Describing the process is quite tricky – it’s like telling how to dance. When you succeed, you will feel. And when you think, repeatedly repeat until you learn to perform the trick automatically.

Bend your knees

There are a couple more general points worth mentioning.

First, training and pumping up your legs is of paramount importance.

I pay a lot of attention to this, and believe me – the difference is quite tangible. Secondly, it is essential to learn how to bend the body into spring as it exits the bottom of the turn.

It would help if you bent very low so that your knees almost touch your chest and be able to quickly “shoot” from this position.

Sequence of maneuvers

For me, great back-to-wave surfing is all about a continuous sequence of maneuvers. As soon as I finish the backside snap, I immediately look at the starting point for the next turn.

If I see a lip forming, I take the following image, and if there is a flatter section ahead, I can do a cutback. The main point is a quick transition from one maneuver to another.



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