Vertical Backhand Snap:
The vertical backhand snap is one of the more colorful snap variations in surfing, and is a bit more difficult than a conventional snap back into the wave. It is advised to being this trick with a strong and fast bottom turn with some steepness, with one’s aim being trained upon the section of the wave with the highest available power and energy. It is important to hit the section of the wave up near the whitewash or the breaking barrel of the overall wave, while raising the surf board up while approaching the target.
The next step is essentially to raise the board and sharply bring it back down and around using core muscles, hips, shoulders, all while feeling out the landing zone as visibility will be limited. It is imperative to force yourself back down into the wave in order to make the timing work. When performed correctly, the vertical backhand snap is an awesome trick for intermediate to advanced surfers to work on.
For one of the more advanced surfing tricks on our countdown here, the backside air-reverse is an aerial surfing trick that should only be attempted by surfers with significant experience and skill. When done right, the backside air-reverse is up there with some of the most jaw-dropping surfing tricks in the book. The best wave types for this surfing aerial are going to be peaky, wedging waves that tend to have a section that will jump up and peak over everything else. It is definitely not advantageous to have an excessive amount of slope or steepness in the wave for this trick, because it will tend to throw off launch trajectories.
Once the jumping section of the wave has been targeted, the next step is to blast into a sort of ollie motion from the wave peak. Inverting the board is critical for this trick because that is a major factor in terms of making the surf board stay on the rider’s feet during the aerial. Some extra tips for this aerial are to kick the back foot out to help encourage the rotation, and also to widen one’s stance over the board in midair to maintain control during the maneuver.
The alley-oop is a classic favorite of veteran advanced surfers, and although it is a hallmark of contemporary surfing it also has deep roots as a prominent maneuver in surfing. Essentially the ideal waves for this maneuver are about head-high to overhead wave breaks, with the wind blowing toward the onshore direction and behind the wave. There is a major advantage with the alley-oop when the winds are blowing onshore, since this will keep the board connected to the surfer’s feet and push them with the break to be able to make it into the landing zone in the wave trough.
It is critical to remember that in this maneuver a counterclockwise 360-degree aerial spin is required, as opposed to the regular rotation 360-degree spin. For this kind of spin an accurate and well-timed shoulder turn into the rotation will be necessary, and the rotation tempo has to be exactly right for this move to work out. A couple big things to remember when attempting the alley-oop on a wave are that this trick requires a tremendous amount of speed to pull off, and also to never stand up too straight or the overall balance of the alley-oop being attempted will be compromised.
Another one of the most advanced tricks on this surfing tricks countdown, the superman air is something that only accomplished surfers are going to want to even consider. This is a trick that will work best on roughly three to four foot wave breaks, with the peaking sections hanging at about two to three feet. Beginning out the trick with a gradual, open bottom turn, cut back up and air from the wave lip.
The next step is to kick the board out from under your feet once in the air, and grab onto the board rails firmly to ensure that the board is not let go of during the trick. While holding the board by both rails, at the same time the rider will be needing to scope out their landing zone making sure they are paying close attention to the tempo of the wave. While learning this admittedly difficult trick, it can be a good suggestion to aim landings onto the back section of the wave to avoid major wipeouts from landing back into the breaking wave trough before becoming truly familiarized with the trick.
The backside snap is yet another snap variation, and when performed correctly this snap can really throw some serious spray out and look really impressive. Starting out the backside snap, the surfer will begin into a mid-angle bottom turn while staying very low and compact. A low center of gravity is going to be imperative during the backside snap approach, and without it the proper angle will likely not be achieved on approach.
Rotating the body with the hips parallel in the bottom turn is important, and the bottom turn for a backside snap will need to be performed in such a way as to allow the surfer to generate maximum momentum into the top lip of the wave break. Once reaching the lip and target area for the backside snap, the next step is to abruptly transfer weight to the tail of the surf board, using core and shoulder muscles to force a hard, snap turn that continues back into the trough of the breaking wave.
The layback snap is considered a high-power snap maneuver in surfing, and other one requiring a lot of speed and inertia being carried into the trick. Another trick requiring a mid-angle bottom turn to set it up, the layback snap has a very distinct look since the “layback” aspect of the trick describes the surfer literally leaning back either into open space or even into the water of the breaking wave. While not the most difficult trick by any means, the layback snap is a great trick to have in a repertoire because it is such a stylish maneuver.
It is recommended that when performing a layback snap, the surfer will need to spot a section about a foot or two underneath the wave lip, move up while driving hard into the snap. During the layback snap, the surfer will need to let their back arm fall backward, and depending on how involved the execution of the trick is, leaning all the way into the wave face becomes possible. This maneuver is considered to be old-school in some circles of surfing, but when applied with style this can be a very innovative trick to work into a routine or by itself.
Blow the Tail:
In surfing, performing a trick called “blowing the tail” is an advanced level maneuver requiring some fairly complex and multi-faceted movements. A very deep bottom turn is going to be necessary for setting up the trick, since loading all possible energy into this trick is a critical aspect of performing it correctly. As you approach the wave lip out of the heavy bottom turn, it is going to be important to grab onto the board rail so that it doesn’t fly out during the trick.
Moving into the slight tail-blowing rotation, suddenly lean into the front foot allowing the tail section of the surf board to “blow out” and transition into either a floater or simply back into the wave trough. It is important to blow the tail out using as much pivot-directed energy as you can muster to ensure that the movement is completed. Essentially what is taking place in this trick is that a revert is happening where the back foot and tail section suddenly reverts and ends up where the front board section was only a second earlier.
A floater is a highly versatile trick in surfing, and is often used either by itself or as a method for transitioning and clearing over wave sections to alter positioning on the wave. It is a great trick for intermediate surfers to begin working on in order to solidify their foundation for learning harder tricks and learning to traverse the wave surface in different ways. When approaching for a floater on the wave top, tempo and speed are important to have on your side.
Although when moving too fast it can also be important to bleed off some excess speed to avoid overshooting the planting of the float. Move up toward the wave top while staying relatively mid-face in the wave on approach, preparing to raise up into the wave crest and hang up floating on the wave lip once reaching the top or crest of the break. Have your board and front foot up heading into the crest so your board can make it overtop, and once riding the float simply determine duration of float based on where you want to end up back on the wave.