Interview by Morgan Williamson | Photo by Ryan Miller
The bottom turn is surfing’s lay-up: Without it, there’s no dunk…
Bottom turns aren’t given much thought or discussion. They tend to slide up the feed without a double tap, in search of more W O W. They’re surfing’s lay-up, everything else is the dunk. Without them, there’d be no manoeuvre. Surfing would be reduced to straight-line mundanity – perhaps a joy for some, but certainly not us. A bottom turn is like the leather jacket that’s never gone out of fashion and Mr. Reynolds is wearing his proud.
Dane: Feel it out. You don’t really go out in the water thinking about how you’re going to bottom turn. You stand up, you’re going down the face of the wave and you have to get a feel for the stability of your board, how it’s rolling on the rail, if it wants to track out or project forward, and then you have to improvise and react. The more you ride a board the more you can predict what it’s going to do when you go to lay it on rail.
It’s a utility not a manoeuvre. You want the board to be solid in the water. You don’t want any fluttering or shaky stuff. You want to set your rail and get as much forward projection as possible. You use it for speed and positioning
Frontside and backside, the general mechanics are the same. You adapt to the wave as it goes. Basically, you’re at the bottom of the wave looking at the lip and trying to put pressure on your rail at the right degree to angle your board up to the lip for where you want to go. You need to consider what manoeuvre you want to do. It’s a connection to the next move.
If you’re going for an air you’re not turning deep. You’re angled at the lip at 45 degrees instead of trying to get vertical. If you take a bottom turn too deep when going for an air you’ll lose all your speed. You slice bottom turns for airs with a drawn out arc off the bottom. If you’re going for a turn or going vertical you want to take a deeper, sharper bottom turn.
Different fin placements allow more or less push. On a twin fin you nurse your bottom turn more than on a thruster or a quad. Quads draw out your bottom turns a lot more, it’s harder to do a tight arc on a quad. A thruster to me is the perfect blend of control and speed. On a single fin you’re not going to be doing anything radical, so you’re not trying to get vertical. The bottom turn is more a product of timing and flow.
There isn’t such a thing as the best bottom turn. It’s just how you utilise it to the rest of your wave and how you use it to get to the lip. Stylistically there are a lot of different bottom turns. Julian is really patient in his bottom turn, he doesn’t push too hard and leans on rail. Then there’s someone like Kelly who’s aggressive with them. Kelly probably has the best bottom turns. I like the way he bottom turns when he goes up into his carving 360’s. He does this real deep, hard cutting bottom turns where he’s almost laying on the water, those are rad. what it’s going to do when you go to lay it on rail.