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Editor’s Note: This guide was created in collaboration with The Art of Surfing Academy, an online surf coaching program designed to help people break through performance plateaus and improve faster, including new content that is added monthly. Save more than 50 percent (now just $99 instead of $204) by accessing TAOS here before 9/15.


You’ve made it to your feet, either by avoiding tripping over them altogether or gracefully swinging them through those imaginary gates with balance and ease. Now you’re tasked with the thing you’ve suited up for — riding a wave.

In most cases, the first thing any surfer will do once they’ve moved from a prone position to their feet and are riding along the face of the wave is make a bottom turn. It sounds simple and straightforward, and you wouldn’t be alone to forget how many dominos fall if and when your bottom turn reveals a kink. A poorly-executed bottom turn can turn into a loss of speed, it can be the reason you miss that first fast section, the reason you don’t stand a chance sticking your first turn off the top, and the list goes on. According to the head of the New Zealand Olympic Surf Team and Founder & Head Coach of The Art of Surfing,  Matt Scorringe, bottom turn mistakes are common and varied, and diagnosing which mistake you are prone to can unravel a line of other hurdles to overcome. Here are five common mistakes Scorringe sees in surfer’s bottom turns:

  1. Attempting to perform a bottom turn too high on the wave.
  2. Racing too far out in front of the section and overlooking their bottom turn marker.
  3. Not compressing through the bottom turn (or compressing too late)
  4. Not engaging the rail.
  5. Standing tall (or decompressing) too soon.

Scorringe explains each in detail in the above video as part of The Art of Surfing Academy‘s online program.

If you’re interested in making a commitment to improving your surfing, access The Art of Surfing, and save 50 percent until 9/15.

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