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How to Surf- Aerial

How to Surf- Aerial

  1. Pick the right day.
  2. Generate speed! 
  3. Look for a ramp.
  4. Approach the lip more horizontally rather than vertically
  5. Spot your landing.
  6. Re-adjust your footing and ride out.


I won’t go into the explanation to all the bits of equipment in this article (see How to surf broken waves), but this is what you’ll need:
Foam surf board
Billabong Foil wetsuit
Ripcurl Flashbomb
Surfing leash
Soft board rack
Tail Pad

How to Surf- Aerial

Now considered the epitome of surfing prowess by young surfers, the aerial is one of the toughest of manoeuvres to complete and is often considered a judge of your ability as a surfer. It takes an incredible amount of practice, patience and good judgement of the shape of a breaking wave, but being provided with a rough guide of the technique, could save you one hell of a lot of wasted sections! We show you how.

If you haven’t already, first learn how to surf broken waves and then how to surf unbroken waves.

Photo Credit: Designlazy.com


1- Pick the right day. Although an offshore day may provide more ramps on a cleaner face, a strong offshore wind makes it very difficult to keep your board underneath you. No wind or a very slight onshore breeze is best for this.

2- Generate speed! Without speed, you will not have sufficient power to lift off of the wave. Find a racey section on a walled wave, and use it! Pump for extra speed if you need to.

3- Look for a ramp. Find a possible take-off spot on a steep part of the wave. 

4- Approach the lip more horizontally rather than vertically i.e. not from a large bottom turn as you’ll lose speed. Widen your stance slightly and stay low to your board. Keep your eyes on the section that’ll you’ll be using as a launch pad and push off of the back foot in order to help lift your nose out of the water just before you break the lip of the wave. Once you’re in the air, keep your knees close to your chest in order to keep balanced, with your board below you. If the wind is not in your favour (a slight onshore breeze helps to keep the board at your feet), you may need to grab the rail.

5- Spot your landing. Look down at your predicted landing spot. Landing in the white water just after the section has broken will provide for a softer landing and will mean you have less chance of nose diving or sliding off of the back of your board should your balance between your two feet not be perfect. If you’ve rotated, try and land on the wave with your nose or fins forward, complimentary to your trajectory. Bend your knees in order to absorb the impact, and stay centred over your board.

6- Re-adjust your footing and ride out.  


Key to airs is speed and practice. Aerials are often considered a measure of quality in a surfer, as they are not an individual manoeuvre in their own rite; instead they take precision, speed and excellent judgement to complete.

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