improve your style and technique surfing
Min Read Time

Fix your surfing style with this one tip & improve your technique, so you don't surf flat

This guide will show you how to improve your style & technique by explaining how to surf to your potential and actually execute the manoeuvres you want to.

Listen to this Episode

You can listen to this whole guide on our podcast with the player above or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Podcast Playlist

The Full Guide

Do you surf with your hands in your pockets?

Or does it look like you are surfing with your hands in your pocket?

What I mean by this is, does your surfing look flat and do you look dead on the board?

Quite often what this looks like is someone just standing there and they look really unstylish, 

Not sure what to do with my hands

This right here. 

The whole idea of this guide is to get you to start surfing with potential, to start looking like you are ready to do something.

This is going to improve your style and technique.

You’ll know what this looks like in better surfers, those surfers you can’t just not watch in the line up because you are always waiting to see what they do next.

So why is it then, that most average surfers, if they aren’t wildly flapping their arms, look like they have their hands in their pockets and end up never looking like they are going to do something?

surfing flat

And then…even worse…

When they do something, it’s uncoordinated.

Moving with purpose and coordination

I’ve said all this before, where you need to move with purpose and intent. Purposeful movement and to follow through with the movement.

It's going to improve your style and technique.

This is the next step on top of that building block.

If you go to the gym and do a box jump or any other movement outside of surfing, skating especially, you put yourself in the proper position to do the movement.

You don’t start from zero, aka pooman stance or hands in your pocket.

A skater will adjust their feet, stance, body position and where they are looking. They don’t start from straight legs and attempt to do the trick from there.

You can tell they are looking to do something.

inspiration from skaters

This is all about how you need to take inspiration from that and apply it into your surfing.

Otherwise, your surfing, whatever it is, longboards, mid-lengths, shortboards etc will always look a bit awkward, miss timed and just miss the mark.

Setting the intent

This all starts with setting the intent of what you want to do.

But you know what comes before that?

Having the decency to at least look at the wave you are surfing.

Paying attention to the wave and reading it, to see what it wants you to do.

This is not seen in surfers racing a head of the wave out to the shoulder. Once they get there, they suddenly notice the wave and look for a section but end up on the weak, flat shoulder, wondering why there is no section or do a very crappy manoeuvre.

Slow it down, look at the wave, be closer to the pocket and set the intention of what you want to do.

This is so important, if you don’t have any clue what you want to do, then how do you expect to do anything. 

Showing your potential

Now that you have an intent, you need to show your potential. Aka get your stance, body and positioning set to look like you are ready for what you want.

For most average surfers, that will be keeping their hands up, in front of themselves, roughly chest or shoulder level.

It is easy to do what you want to do if your body is already in the starting position.

For most parts as well in surfing, it will start with a bottom turn, so prior to that, you’ll riding down the face of the wave for maximum speed, not in the flats and will be compressing down into your knees, not back bending.

Back upright and hands in front of you with the inside hand lower than the outside arm which will be slightly higher to balance the other hand and deepen the lean.

There is so many different ways to go from here, so I will keep it brief to stay on topic.

From here you want to know how to do that movement. If you don’t you can start a 14-day trial and get access to all of the OMBE Surf training programs.

By knowing how the movement works, you’ll know how to move the body, so the starting position and the other various stages with it.

Surfing with potential

Think backside snap or carve, your inside/front arm needs to be down lower for the bottom turn, but then needs to lift and go up above your head to create the lift and make space for your body to get up and twist around to do the turn.

If you are stuck side on, trying to look over your shoulder and can’t see half the wave and not doing a bottom turn. You look more like you are trying to figure it all out rather than do something. 

improve your stance surfing

This is the same with cross-stepping, if you have hands down by your side, you aren’t in a position to properly balance and control yourself when you initiate the cross-step. 

You want your whole body to be ready, not just a part.

By doing this, your style will drastically improve and you’ll find making the small nuanced changes and adjustments while riding a wave so much easier.

You’ll wonder how you surfed with your hands in your pockets before.

This is a very surface level look at the concept of showing potential, but you need to think about the idea of how you start that movement or manoeuvre and go from there.

Using your potential, matching it with your intent to create an outcome in your surfing

It’s not about how you look or this narcissism, it’s about being ready and creating the opportunity for you to meet your potential and actually do it.

That’s it, now just do, you understand the movement, you’ve set an intent and put yourself in a position to do it so now do.

If you continue to surf around like you are never going to do anything and just stand there, you won’t do much or when you do, it’s always going to look and feel awkward.

This is all set up work and it’s a great way to get out of bad habits.

If you want to try it and need a trigger word, try:

  • show your potential
  • potential
  • set up
  • or anything along those lines or whatever connects with you

Otherwise, make specific ones for manoeuvres to work on getting out of old patterns of behaviours.

One last trick to help you reset

If you find yourself getting frustrated or you’ve done something wrong and just feel that urghhh moment.

Take a moment to reset yourself. This is so powerful in setting yourself up and not continuing down a negative path.

Instead of repeating the bad habit, just stop, reset your stance and take that moment to just go urghhh and do a full body sigh.

You can put your hands behind your back for a quick second and then reset into a neutral stance if you want.

The point of this is that sighing cuts tension and eases off the pressure.

The hands behind the back just quickly detracts from whatever else you are doing, otherwise, just find a neutral stance.

The critical part you want to do, is take a high line while doing this, you don’t want to be too low on the wave that you kill all your speed, just take a rough high line, reset yourself and then you can then drop back down the wave, get speed and carry on with a clean slate.

Next Week

Is this something that you’ve been doing? 

Do you go out surfing with your hands in your pockets and wonder why your technique suffers?

Or do you never show any potential in your surfing and always look like

Is this something you are going to try?

I’d love to know, you can reach out anytime, message me in the app or send me an email at,

Next week I am going to dive into how you can better finish off your waves and what to do at the end of every wave. Hint it is not kicking out the back of the wave.

Written by
Luke Hardacre
surf coaching