HOW TO: CARVING CUTBACK
Carving is the milk and honey of board sports. A good carve feels amazing and looks good too – a combination of power and flow. To carve a cutback, surfers guide the board with their arms. The surfer’s method does not work on a windsurfer since we have a boom in our hands, so a bit of extra technique helps! Also, on a windsurfer the wind pulls us laterally, counteracting the centripetal force needed to keep the board carving in an arc. If you remember only one thing: push the board below and around you, as your body pivots in place.
Words Graham Ezzy // Photos John Carter
You need a wave board. Full stop. Other kinds of boards neither stay on the rail nor turn in a tight enough radius. To state the obvious: you need waves.
The steeper the better; think of a race car going around a banked corner. An awareness of waves helps too. As does timing and a fast bottom turn. But, you should try carving cutbacks even if you are new to waves.
Finish your bottom turn early (10 o’clock) and under the lip. Bring your back hand forward on the boom so that your hands are close together. Turn your head in the direction of the turn. Bend your back leg and keep your front leg straight.
Do: Go fast (speed makes everything easier in wave riding). Find a steep, smooth spot of wave face below a feathering lip.
Don’t: Don’t go too vertical in your bottom turn. Don’t hit the top of the wave because that will cause the fins to release.
Drive the board below you into the empty space created by the steepness of the wave. Pivot your hips into the direction of the turn. With weight on your heels, push your legs against the board so that your lower body is perpendicular with the board and leaning inside the arc of the turn.
Do: Push your butt back so that your body weight is near to the centre of the circle that is your turn. Hinge at the waist to stay in control, but keep your torso straight to have maximum power delivery. Keep the sail neutral.
Don’t: The biggest mistake is pushing the board down the line, which loads the fins instead of the rail, causing the board to slide. Don’t sheet in because this will introduce lateral force.
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At this point, you need to engage the rail at the nose in order to redirect the energy of the board and drive it the opposite direction. Keep twisting your hips and torso in the direction of the turn. Stay close to the water with your body, and think of the board drawing a circle around you.
Do: Use your front leg to drive the nose of the board down to engage the forward rail. Sheet out the sail.
Don’t: Don’t keep your weight on the tail of the board because then the board will pivot instead of carve.
At this point, spraying behind you is the water displaced by the board as it carves through the wave. Keep pushing with your body twisted into the turn.
Do: Look in the direction you want to go.
Don’t: Don’t stop pushing too soon.
The carve finishes when the board begins to point into the eye of the wind. Your body should be low and in a forward position over the board. You might feel like you are hanging from the boom, that is OK.
Do: Sheet in for stability as the board navigates into the eye of the wind. Let the board come under you so that your weight is now over the board.
Don’t: Do not lean back because if you lean back at the end of the turn, you will lose speed or fall on your bum.
To finish, push your body onto your toes and down the line. This redirects the board without a loss of speed. In this picture, you can see how much I push my knee forward towards the nose of the board. During the carve, my knee is almost touching the deck.
Do: Look down the line and get ready for your next bottom turn.
Don’t: Don’t hesitate too long before your next turn or you will lose the flow of the wave.