floater surfing trick
Min Read Time

How to Floater Surf

The floater is an amazing surfing skill that’ll prolong your ride and multiply your joy. Learn how to perform a floater with our step-by-step guide.

floater surf

There are some surfing tricks that might actually mean that your ride is finished, but you want to do it with aplomb. Airs are such tricks. They don’t in any way prolong the joy you’re getting out of your ride, but in the matter of a second, you get to have an explosive joy, a mic-drop equivalent of surfing, and paddle out off the stage.

Certain tricks aren’t all that helpful to prolong your ride because their main objective is “preventing you from having a ride.” When the oncoming wave is too weak or too strong for you, you just say “meh,” and duck dive under it to wait for a wave to your liking to appear on the horizon.

And then there are tricks like the floater that belong to neither category. So, let’s see what it’s good for, how you can perform a good floater, and make the most of the wave.

How to Perform a Good Floater: A Step-by-Step Guide

floater surf

Except for the sensation you get while performing a floater, there’s nothing really artistic about it, nor does it mean that you’re not going to surf. Rather, it’s actually a trick that helps you maintain your speed (and sometimes even gain more speed) and energy when you’re about to lose it as you get too close to the closing out section of a wave. In that sense, you can even call it a skill instead of a trick (but, yeah, that’s totally up to you).

Step #1: Build Forward Momentum

Forward momentum is important simply because the floater will require you to quickly bypass a section of the closing out wave and reach a part of it that’s about to break ahead. For that, you need to climb the wave. Therefore, you need to generate enough speed to shorten the time you’ll take to reach the open wave face ahead.

In the meanwhile, you need to be on the lookout for the breaking section of the wave. Needless to say, without knowing where it is and how it breaks, you’ll only be floating and not riding. When you’re at high speed, checking out your surroundings might sound difficult, but all it takes to learn is practice.

Step #2: Do a Bottom Turn

The bottom turn is one of the most fundamental surfing skills any surfer should master, as it’s the basis of every other skill and trick. It’s no different with the floater either. To make your entrance to the targeted section with a slight angle, you’ll need to perform a shallow bottom turn. Getting the angle right is imperative because if it’s too little, you won’t be able to complete your re-entry, and if it’s too much, there’s a good chance that the wave will spit you out.

Additionally, once you’re close to the curling lip, you need to push the nose of your surfboard up a bit to pass over the spilling white foam without drag or worse. To accomplish that, you only need to shift weight to your back foot and apply pressure to the tail of your board.

Step #3: How to Climb the White Foam

In addition to applying pressure to the tail of your board, you can also relieve the pressure from its nose by lifting your arms up and forwards in the air. The rest of what you need to do is no different than how a surfer rides medium-sized waves: stay low and compact to make most of the speed, turn your chest forward (if it wasn’t already facing forward), and make sure that you’re looking where you want to go.

Step #4: Get Back Into the Wave

floater trick

To get back down the wave, you need to turn your head, shoulders, and chest beachward. Then, once again, shift your weight to the back foot, apply pressure to your board's tail, and jump down to the open wave face.

On ideal waves, the distance of your jump could be a bit long, which means that you’ll suffer a certain impact upon landing. To make sure that your landing doesn’t throw you off balance and off the wave, crouch down and stay compact like Jackie Chan jumping on a truck from a bridge.

That, dear OMBE readers, how you do a floater surf.

Wrapping Up…

Floater is often referred to as “the pocket knife of surfing” simply because it’s quite a handy surfing skill. It saves your session and sometimes even professional performance by allowing you to re-enter the wave when your ride is in danger of finishing too soon.

Therefore, to make the most of your days out in the ocean, the earlier you master the art of floating, the better.

Written by
Jeremy Dean
surf coaching