Surfing on an SUP is definitely one of the most unique feelings in the world, and it's often enough simply cruise down the line and enjoy the glide. However, if you want to start surfing top to bottom where you use the entire face the wave to do more aggressive turns, you'll need to start by learning how to do a proper bottom turn, and that's we're going to learn in this episode. The bottom turn is pretty self-explanatory. It's an aggressive turn down at the bottom of a wave which lets you curve back up to face it.
First off, bottom turns don't work well on the curved part of a wave because the fins have a tendency to slide out. So,it's important that you wait and initiate your bottom turn out in front of the wave where the water is flat. This means that you need to fight the natural tendency, put your board on edge, and trim diagonally on the wave face down the line. Instead, you need to commit to going straight down the face of the wave having faith that once you initiate your turn, you'll accelerate down the line, and not get caught by the whitewater. Keep in mind that the closer you are to the pocket of the wave, which is where the green face meet the breaking part of the wave, the more energy there is, and therefore the more energy you can harness to do your turns. With that being said, ideally your bottom turn will set you up right back into the pocket of the wave.
The first step to the bottom turn is stepping back to the tail of your board because the only way to turn your SUP, or a surfboard, for that matter, is from the tail. As you reach the flat water in the front of the wave, it's time to set your rail before your board loses its speed. With your knees bent, push down on your toes, if you're doing a toe side turn, or on your heals if you're initiating a healside turn while applying more pressure with your back foot to firmly set the rail. The more pressure you apply with your back foot the more aggressively your board will turn.
Also, because SUPs are wide, one thing you can do is move your feet toward the rail that you're carving on. That can really help to engage that rail, and set the rail. So you have less chance of sliding out. As you push through the turn, your legs will begin to straighten, and you'll begin to head back up the face of the wave. Keep your paddle low just on the surface of the water, and use it as a pivot point. When done properly, your board will drive through the bottom turn. What that means is when you set the board on the rail, the board is going to accelerate out in front of the wave, down the line, and set you up perfectly for your next move back up the face of the wave.