And why you should learn to ride them all. (well most of them)
So, you jump in the water, put your feet up to the board, the boat starts to go, you pull outside of the wake, the boat picks up speed, the wave sets up, you pull yourself into the bottom of that wave and toss the rope. BOOM!! You’re surfing.
If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you have done this process from one to hundreds if not thousands of times and it looked and felt pretty much the same every time. Looking for something new? A new challenge? Well would it surprise you if I told you there’s eight different ways to ride that board you have under your feet?
Well, there is and each one of them comes with a purpose and their own separate unique set of challenges. Everyone is used to riding with the fins at the back of the board, whatever the most comfortable foot forward and more often than not, toes to the wave.
Have you ever thought about riding with your heels to the wave? How about wrong foot forward? You can turn that board around to have fins face forward. Now you would have the board in the revert position.
This isn’t some fancy parlor trick. You can pretend it is if you want and lie to your friends but here are some reasons to learn and practice them and we are going to list them.
Why??? Because we love lists.
Frontside/Toeside – Normal foot forward, toes to the wave, fins at the back.
This is usually the way most people learn to start surfing and the way we suggest learning first. You will have the most control over your board, your body will be in the most natural, athletic position and you can see what and where you are going.
Good for lipslides,boardslides, chophops, balance tricks, airs, spins, recovering from a trick and catching back up to the boat. This is the strongest position and side after all.
Frontside/Toeside Revert – Normal foot forward, toes to the wave, fins at the front. (Revert position)
Now comes some fun stuff. Set up on the same side as you would Frontside/Toeside but orientate your board the opposite way. The fins should now be in front of you. Re-adjust your feet to stand with your back foot on the nose (now the tail) of the board. This is a good starting point. Little adjustments go a long way. Remember there is no wrong answer as long as you feel comfortable and you can ride that wave. Pay attention to where you are putting your feet. Experiment a little. You can learn more about riding revert here>
You can do all the same tricks as normal toeside but being able to ride in this position enables you to land or initiate tricks in this position. Learning a drifter while in this position is super critical to skim style revert riding as it gives you tons of control and a comfort you never knew was possible.
Good for any trick that has a 180 rotation. Frontside 180’s, Drifter 180’s, Backside 180’s, Shuv tricks.
Backside/Heelside – Normal foot forward, heels to the wave, Fins at the back
Set your boat up with the wave on the other side of what you would normally ride. Keep your board oriented with the fins to the back and pull on out. It’s like learning to surf again and provides a whole new set of challenges.
Good for adding a whole new dimension to your riding and for those days you are on a friend’s boat that rides the opposite side than you and it’s a bit of a pain to switch sides. Backside riding is super fun!!
Backside/Heelside Revert – Normal foot forward, heels to the wave, fins in the front (revert position)
This is one of the positions that won’t really benefit you until later on. It’s good to know but would really only be used in advance/pro level tricks.
Switch Frontside/Toeside – Wrong foot forward, toes to the wave, fins at the back
It’s fun to try it out. It will feel like you’re learning to surf again, and you will have to remember all those basics from when you first learned to surf. No cheating here!! You will have to move those feet around and creep those toes over. It’s a good reminder of what and how things work and keeps you sharp.
Switch Frontside Revert – Wrong foot forward, toes to the wave, fins at the front (revert position)
This is also one of the positions that won’t really benefit you until later on. It’s good to know but would really only be used in advance/pro level tricks.
Switch Backside/Heelside – Wrong foot forward, heels to the wave, fins at the back.
This one is big. Really big. If you ever watch any of the pros, they go back and forth between switch and regular constantly. It’s what allows us to do 180-degree rotations and be able to continue riding without falling on our face. If you’re doing a 540 you are going to end up switch at some point. If you have tried riding revert toeside, you probably know by now that revert isn’t exactly a walk in the park. When you get up toeside revert and spin a 180 you go from riding revert (surface 180) to having that board switch heelside. More importantly you have that fin under your back foot while riding switch making life just a little bit easier.
Good for any trick that has a 180 rotation. Frontside 180’s, Drifter 180’s, Halfcab, Backside 180’s, 540’s, Switch shoves, Body varials, Switch Bigspin
Switch Backside/Heelside Revert – Wrong foot forward, heels to the wave, fins at the front (revert position)
This is the hardest and most challenging way you can ride a surfboard.
It’s great to practice a few times with the rope if you are wanting to do 180 style tricks on either a surf or skim. Air 180, Surface 180, Stalled out 360’s, 180 to shove combos. It’s extremely difficult to hold but the more often you try it the more comfortable you will get helping all those trick that are just out of reach become super consistent.
Good for learning 180 surf style tricks where you would be holding the board switch revert for a short period of time before returning to your normal toeside orientation. Air 180, Surface 180, Stalled 360
Now some of these are easier than others. We highly suggest frontside/toeside (normal and revert), backside and switch backside. These are the building blocks for a whole bunch of tricks.
(Did you know a Switch floater will help your 360 immensely?)
Learn all about that here>
Bottom line: When you conquer these, you will be King (or Queen) of the lake!!
…well at least your surf crew 🙂
p.s. don’t forget that falling is part of the process. If you’re not falling you’re not learning.
And that’s it!
You now have a pretty in-depth article that will get you riding revert> and backside> in no time!!
As always, remember the #1 rule in wakesurfing…HAVE FUN!!!