How to turn your surfboard

It’s no doubt that being able to turn your board is a crucial aspect of your surf progression. So let’s look at 3 basic guidelines to follow no matter what type of board you’re riding. What I call the 3 L’s: Look, Lean, Lift.


Looking where you want to go is always the first step as it tells both your body & your board where you’re heading.

Just like turning a car or bike, you look first to see the path ahead & begin your turn from there.

More importantly though, your eyes lead the way for your body to follow by opening your chest & hips in the direction you want to go. This is what causes your board to want to turn as well.

I say “want” bc w/o the next 2 things your body will begin to turn in a new direction but your board will not 😅.


As you rotate your body, next comes a slight lean to tilt your board on rail. This is done by leaning your entire body – think Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Keep your knees bent but don’t bend at the waist (a common mistake for newer surfers).

If you were on solid ground doing this, you would feel as if you were going to tip over but guess what? You’re not bc the ground (i.e. your board) will lean over with you. Trust it.


While you’re leaning, you’re simultaneously lifting the nose of your board up to make the turn. This is actually more about getting most of the rail out of the water rather than the nose bc otherwise you’ll bog a rail.

Do this by applying pressure to the tail of your board by shifting weight into your back leg.

Depending on what size board you’re on, you may need to move your back foot slightly back or move your entire stance back (which is often the case on longboards).

💬 Any other tips or tricks that have helped you turn with confidence?

🙏 Enjoying this series? Share the stoke & buy me a beer! 😄🍻

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