top of page

How to Do A Bottom Turn: Guide

A bottom turn is done, both frontside and backside, on the bottom of the wave to redirect your board and energy towards the top of the wave in order to push yourself upwards to complete a turn.

A bottom turn can be done on both a longboard and a shortboard.

How To Bottom Turn: Step by Step

Step 1: Choose Your Wave

If you are wanting to complete any sort of trick or maneuver on a wave, you will need to pick a good one.

When choosing a wave, make sure you get one that has a good face (the clean wall of water in the direction in which you will be surfing). If you have a clean face to work your tricks on, things will go a lot smoother.

Step 2: Position Yourself

When setting up for a trick by doing a bottom turn, you want to make sure everything is in place.

Your back foot should be at the back of the board (the traction pad) and your front foot should be somewhere close to the middle of the board or wherever you want to put it at a comfortable length away from the back foot.

Be sure that your board is in or close to the pocket of the wave (where the wave is most powerful) for maximum momentum.

Step 3: Bottom Turn

When you bottom turn, you want your body to be a little more drawn in. What I mean by that is that you want your knees bent more and your hand and head a little closer to your knees, almost a ducking position as if you were surfing underneath an obstacle. As you angle your surfboard around and up the wave, you are going to gradually open up your body to the wave as the power and yourself are shifting to the top of the wave where you will do your meanuver.

Step 4: Complete Your Trick

After your bottom turn is finally complete, you will have enough power and momentum to complete your turn. After your trick, you can reset and look for another opportunity to bottom turn and set yourself up for another meanuever.

Who Does the Best Bottom Turn?

Mick Fanning

Mick Fanning is a strong surfer and has an incredibly strong bottom turn that sets him up for great, powerful maneuvers.

Ethan Ewing

Watch Ethan in any heat and you can see how flawless his bottom turn is. This is why his turns are so strong and easy looking.

Carissa Moore

Carissa has some of the best technical surfing throughout the women’s championship tour. Her bottom turns are clean and precise.

Bottom Turn: FAQs

How do I get better at bottom turns?

To get better at bottom turns, watch surfers who are really good at it and take some notes. Workout those muscles you will use to help yourself be stronger when doing bottom turns. Break down the techniques when learning; try to perfect one aspect of your bottom turn before focusing on the next.

How do you practice a bottom turn on land?

One of my favorite ways to practice bottom turns and getting better at them out of the water is by riding my Carver/surf skateboard.

By carving and practicing the technical aspects of a bottom turn on my skateboard, I have noticed improvement in the water.

If you don’t have a surf skateboard, put down a yoga mat or go on your carpet and practice the body movement required to do a bottom turn until it’s mussel memory and you can do it in the water.

How to do a bottom turn on a longboard?

Technically, the bottom turn on a shortboard and a longboard are very similar but also have a few key differences.

Obviously, a longboard is longer and also heavier. Unlike the shortboard, you will need to be a further distance to the back of your board.

You will not bend down as much as a shortboard will either.

A longboard bottom turn is controlled mostly where your back foot is located. The further your back foot is, the more your longboard will turn.

You still want to bend your knees, but you will not need to crouch down as much as a shortboarder would need to.

How to do a backhand bottom turn?

With a backhand bottom turn, it is a similar motion to the frontside bottom turn.

After you have gone to the bottom of the wave, your shoulders are going to turn a lot more than they would frontside and they are going to turn towards the direction you want to go.

Board positioning and technical aspects are still the same.

How to Do a Bottom Turn

To learn how to do a bottom turn is to learn the key to opening up so many other maneuver opportunities.

You can gain a lot of power in a bottom turn if it is completed correctly which is helpful when riding any board on any wave.


bottom of page