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How To Do a Layback Snap

The layback snap is one of the most powerful-looking maneuvers you can do on a wave. It is very similar to a regular snap maneuver, but the layback is exactly how you would imagine it: you are laying as far back as you can while completing your turn.





How To Do A Layback Snap: Step by Step Process

Step 1: Choose Your Wave.

When wanting to perform a layback snap, or any other powerful or intricate maneuver, you are going to want to choose a wave with a good, clean face.


The face of the wave is the part that looks like a clean wall of water.


You want to ride the face of the wave (with the white water to your back) to perform a layback snap more efficiently and have a higher chance of landing the move.

Step 2: Correct Board Positioning

When you paddle for your chosen wave and stand up, you should be positioned on your board correctly so you can perform your maneuver.


You should have your back foot on the traction pad on the back end of your board and your front foot within a comfortable distance away, usually near the middle of your board, for ultimate balance and board control.


Step 3: Setting Up For Success

Before you do your layback, there are important factors you should be aware of. You will need to generate good speed on your wave for momentum when completing your turn.


This can be done by pumping your board through the pocket of the wave (where the wave’s energy is highest).


Once you gain speed, you should be sure you are in a good position on the wave itself- have a clean face ready to carve, it’s hard to complete a turn like a layback when there isn’t a nice wall of water.


Step 4: Layback

Your hips will be your guides, angle your board at a slant up towards the top of the wave.


Once your board is heading towards the top of the wave, you want to push harder on your foot that’s on the tail while guiding the board back down the wave with your other foot.


While doing all of that, you want to lay back on the wave (keep your balance and power on the board) and put your back hand in the wave for momentary support.

Step 5: Set Up For Your Next Trick

After completing your layback snap, make sure you find your way back into the pocket of the wave so you can read the wave better and figure out which next trick will be best.


The Best Layback Snaps Today


John John Florence

A layback snap is a staple for John John. He completes the turn in a stylish way that looks incredibly powerful while looking incredibly easy.




Filipe Toledo

Filipe throws a lot of power into his layback snaps. You will see him pick up a lot of speed and when there’s not a section for an air, he pulls the brakes by completing a layback snap.


Josh Kerr

Josh is great at layback snaps and really good at teaching them. He has been a pro surfer for a long time and has tutorial videos online on how to do certain tricks. He explains them well and shows you how he does it.





Layback Snap: FAQS


How do you do a layback snap?

When performing a layback snap, you want to choose a wave with a clean face, you should position yourself well for ultimate control over your board, gain enough speed in the pocket of the wave, angle your board slanted up towards the wave and push on the tail while laying back in the wave itself with your back hand guiding you and your front foot guiding your board safely back down.


How do you do a frontside snap?

When performing a frontside snap, you want to choose a wave with a clean face. Frontside means that your body will be facing towards the wave whereas backside is when your back is to the wave.


A frontside snap is completed by gaining enough speed in the pocket of the wave, angle your board slanted up towards the wave and push down on the tail with your back foot while guiding the board around and down with your front foot and your hips. You don’t lay back into the wave like a layback snap, the frontside snap is completed upright on the board without your body getting support from the wave.


How to train for layback snaps on land?

Lee Stanbury, author of Advanced Surf Fitness for High Performance Surfing, says the best workouts you can do to improve or train for a layback snap would be a reverse curl, basic bridge, and basic lunge.

Layback Snap

A layback snap is definitely one of the most powerful-looking maneuvers out there to learn although it will take some time to get the hang of. Overall, the layback snap looks incredibly stylish and has been a staple trick for surfers over the years.


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