One frequent question asked by students during a lesson is how they can turn their surfboards. Turning is typically a more intermediate skill that can take time to learn and understand. I will break down the fundamental steps that initiate a surfboard to turn in the water and encourage anyone learning the skill to remain patient and persistent while enjoying the progress!
The first step in turning your surfboard is to point your head in the direction you are attempting to turn. Always lead with your head, the rest of your body will gradually follow. Beginner surfboards like the soft-tops we use to teach students can be tough to turn on a wave, so being sure not to throw your upper body weight around is crucial. Look where you would like the board to turn, follow with your shoulders, hips, and be sure to keep your knees bent!
Grabbing the rail on the side of the board you are turning away from is also very helpful when learning how to turn a long foam surfboard. Pull the opposite rail up out of the water to disengage the fin on that side of the board. This will set the rail you are turning onto the wave in place to glide your board with speed and stability. Sitting your butt low and keeping your knees bent is crucial if you are grabbing rail otherwise your body could move from the center of the board and cause you to fall!
Learning to turn can take time, so please be patient with yourself and keep working to improve!