December 14th, 2011
THE FRONTSIDE PUNT
Spying a perfect little launch section, approach with heaps of speed, and as you begin to move up the ramp shift most of your weight to your back foot, using your front foot to simply guide you up to the top of the wave. Maintain eye contact on the section you’re hoping to boost from. Drive through your bottom turn into a clean launch off the top and carry your momentum off the lip into the air. Your board needs to lay flat on the lip when you take off. The key here is to get up high. “To do that you need to drive your momentum off the top of the wave by pushing off the tail of your board,” explains Taj Burrow.
Once you hit the section try to completely un-weight your board by springing above the lip. Continue to keep the weight off your board during the altitude climb, and at this point think about contracting your upper body towards your lower body – this will make you more compact and centered as you fly through the air. “As you get airborne, try and turn the nose of your board towards the beach by straightening out your back leg. Just stay above your board, and pull your knees up to your chest to stay in control and to stay stylish in the air. The wind coming towards you can really make a difference here,” continues Taj. “You’ve got to stay over the top of your board, and not lean back too far.” Consider applying a little pressure with your back foot to ensure that your flight path is spot on. If you feel like your board is going to get away from you, this is the time to grab the rail. There are all kinds of different variations you can do – double grabs, mute grabs and frontside grabs; almost anything you want. I don’t really plan it all out most the time. I just experiment and learn by feel.” As you reach the apex of the air you’re going to need to spot a landing zone. Staying focused on where you’re coming down is the key to sticking it.
The toughest part of flying is undoubtedly the landing, so make sure you’ve got yourself together as you start coming down. Be it a busted knee or a tweaked ankle, it’s really easy to get hurt landing airs, so don’t be afraid to bail out if you don’t feel right. If you do feel good, start coming down with weight evenly distributed and maybe just a bit more pressure on your back foot. “As I start to come back down I let go of my grab and check out the softest landing area, which is usually the whitewater,” tells Taj. “I try to extend my legs a little so my knees can absorb the impact.” Avoid the temptation to ‘stomp’ the move down because straight-legging it at this stage is a recipe for disaster. Negotiate the whitewash by quickly squaring up your shoulders over your board, and with knees bent and tucked firmly under your torso. From there it’s just a matter of not falling off.
Add Some Style
Parko adds: “Style is a lot more important today. It used to be guys would just throw it up into the air and let it fall where they may. But guys like Taj have made style an issue by doing it so well. There are two ways to add style, says Parko. First, use your knees as shock absorbers, and stay low to keep your center gravity and balance. And second, finish strong with more speed: connect as smoothly as possible, complete the wave, and continue to ride.”
This post was taken from Surfing The Manual: Advanced by Jim Kempton.