Editor’s Note: Check out Ace Buchan’s Guide to Precision Surfing and more courses designed by the best in surf and outdoors on Inspire Courses. The Inertia readers can enter code WELCOME10 to save 10 percent.
We all learn pretty early on that foot placement impacts our speed and maneuverability on a surfboard. Still, it takes a lot of waves (and therefore a lot of time) before we instinctively apply that knowledge and fine tune all the movements that control our speed on a wave.
In his Guide to Precision Surfing with Inspire Courses, Championship Tour vet Ace Buchan elaborates on the basic points of foot placement by watching video of himself set up for a barreling section on his frontside and then coming out of that barrel, only to set himself up for the same cycle once more.
“On this wave here, you can see I’m starting to shift my back foot forward as I look to gain speed,” he says as he’s setting up to race through a fast, barreling section. “I’ve shifted (my back foot) forward (and) I’m completely in front of the grip pad.”
Buchan suggests thinking of this part of the board like a car’s engine. Or as if you’re stepping on the gas pedal. “As you shift forward, you’re over that engine and you can generate speed,” he says.
“And then as I come out, I’m going to shift it back onto the tail pad and wash off the speed, set up the tube (again), and then I’ve shifted it forward, again, to get on the gas pedal. When you want that (maneuverability), you’re going to step back into the more sensitive (section) and find that part of the board.”
Buchan uses other examples to help us visualize and understand these mechanics, including how high or low he is on a wave for the best opportunities to harness speed, his “compression extension” philosophy for body movement, and more in his Guide to Precision Surfing.
Check out Ace Buchan’s Guide to Precision Surfing now. The Inertia readers save 10 percent with code WELCOME10 and you can read about Ace’s insights on board selection here.