As you may have heard, I’ll be teaching a Feldenkrais based workshop to help folks improve their surfing. The particular focus of this workshop will be improving your turns – bottom turns, cutbacks, or lip-blasts. Everyone can improve their turns. An important key for doing good turns is the ability to rotate the upper body (shoulders) relative to the pelvis or hips in order to develop the necessary torque to execute a good turn. So specifically, what do I mean? Lets take a Dane Reynolds backside top-turn as a extreme example:
In the image below, Dane has just iniated his turn by rotating his shoulders and upper back down the face of the wave. However, his board is still projected vertical and has not yet begun to turn back down the wave.
Dane Reynolds in Sri Lanka (courtesy of the ASP)
Note how the line of Dane’s pelvis is basically parallel with the stringer of the board, and his shoulders are perpendicular to his pelvis. This is clearer in the folowing photo. The line parallel to his shoulder is in dashed yellow, whereas the line parallel to his hips/pelvis is in green. Also, note the length Dane gets on the left side of his torso.
So before even initiating the board’s part of the turn, a very dramatic shoulder/pelvis differentiation has occured, creating a strong torque that will rapidly drive the board around. This requires the ability to, in a functional coordinated manner, turn the shoulders out of the line of the pelvis AND to lengthen the sides.
As the board turns back down the wave, the differentiated rotation between the shoulder and pelvis will be reduced as the energy coiled in Dane’s torso gets transferred through his feet to the board and the wave. See the example below (albeit from a different wave). Here the line of the shoulder’s has hardly changed, but the line of his pelvis (and board) has rotated a lot.
At the end of the turn, as the board is facing back down the wave the shoulders and pelvis come back in line. Below is an example from a different wave but hopefully the point is clear. With the board facing back down the wave, Dane is in a kind of squatting position, compressed over his board, and his shoulders and pelvis are now lined up again parallel.
Dane’s ability to powerfully rotate and lengthen his torso (spine, ribs, shoulders, head) enables him to execute amazing turns. Even if you are never going to do turns like Dane Reynolds, you can improve your bottom turns and cutbacks significantly by improving your ability to rotate and side-lengthen your torso. Check out surfers next time you are in your local lineup. You will find that the surfers doing better turns are those that are rotating their torso relative to their pelvis just prior to the board beginning the turn. Or watch some surf video in slow motion.
In the “More Torque in Your Turns” workshop, we’re going to use aspects various Awareness Through Movement Lessons to learn how more effectively do these rotational movements in a functional manner related to surfing.
The workshop will be on Saturday, June 25th 2011 at the A.Noone Feldenkrais Studio in Solana Beach. For details and registration info can be found here
Results from the previous “Improve Your Surfing Workshop: Paddling” is discussed here