Tips On Back Surfing A Sea Kayak

by  tOM Humphries

Most waves this day were not big enough outside to carry to the break & impact zone, so we stayed inside the soup or in this case settled for catching short rides between the build & dumpy break, which can get tricky. Successful take-off, starting to plane-off in front of the building wave. Time to establish direction, starting with the outside edge carve while I go for a rudder to the inside.
All Photos by Mark Boyd


Planed-off with enough speed to have some quick fun in front of the building break wave. Looks like I'm just starting to come off from cranking a quick little turn to the looker's left. Ruddering on the inside of the turn and trying to carve with the outside edge,; this takes less speed from the boat and allows me to accelerate down the modest wave face. My left foot is pushing hard, right foot is light while I try to anchor with my right cheek,(no, not my face). Foot pressures ect. would be reversed if surfing forward.
 



Already time to set-up for the bail-out before the break in the impact zone. Starting a hard bottom wave cut-back to looker's right. Having built enough speed to start outrunning the wave, I can crank up that inside edge a touch along with my inside rudder, it feels a lot like banking or balancing a bike through a turn.
 



I still have good speed here and am just waiting for the right moment to crank into the wave to avoid either a pitch pole or window shade. You can see there are two waves converging just to my right; the wave on my right will be the foam pile I want to brace into. I'm just a little early here, so I'm coasting; I don't want to work back up the wave when it's about to dump and get worked in a windowshade. If I were in deeper water I might be able to cut-back hard to the left & run out the wave face but not here where it'll dump.




Making the exit move! If I don't get to a side surf here, my bow will get lifted causing my stern to auger in & prolly pitch me over. You can clearly see the speed I'm holding here, I want to crank it over hard to scrub some of that and to get sideways to the foam pile. Things are happening fast now and I want my paddle at the ready, hips are cranked as far as I can, left knee is up, right foot pushing hard.




Safe! Cranked hard into the wave first with a high brace, flicking my hips & boat toward shore then pulling my boat back under me & transitioning to a low brace as the foam pile catches up,(remember to keep elbows down & in when high bracing no matter what your hips are doing). Short, exciting & fun. Be ready to pay for moves like this one with plenty of failures. All the best, tOM & all The Neptune's Rangers.