Here is my step by step guide to Alley-Oops, this one was super fun on a twin keel fin whilst we were filming for ‘My Canvas’, a little harder to control and land than on a thruster but that makes it more fun, plus the added speed of a twin fin makes this trick feel epic when you ride out.
Its all about speed! So you wanna fly? Well the first step to getting high on your surfboard is picking the best waves to do it on and trying the right trick in the right winds. For an Alley Ooop you want to be looking for a nice steep walled wave that will give you plenty of speed down the line for maximum pop out of the lip.
Timing is key in any surfing maneuver but its even more important for airs. The trick is to eye up the section you want to launch off way before you get to it that way you can concentrate on generating enough speed down the line to take you up into the clouds.
In this photo you can see that I have only bottom turned just below the mid face line of the wave, this is key to getting the right trajectory and rotation for this trick. If you bottom turn too hard you will loose all that speed you have generated so keep your bottom turn long, high and drawn out.
See how my bottom turn has positioned me just in front of the last section, this is the sweet spot for this trick, it’s where all the power and pop is in a wave.
Im pointing the nose of the board into the wind , lifting my front arm to de-weight as the lip of the wave pops my board free from the wave face. My back foot has already begun to push and rotate against the tail of my board, for this trick that back foot rotation is going to act like a steering wheel for your surfboard so you need to apply just the right amount of pressure and rotation at just the right moment.
Now that my board is in the air my upper body has started to mimic my back foot’s movement and has started to rotate as well accentuating the spin. My board is still facing into the wind and my front arm is reaching higher trying to keep that feeling of weightlessness for as long as possible, this is key to getting as high as possible. At this point my front and back foot are just staying connected to my board to keep it under control but I’m trying to let the rotation happen naturally and not force it to much with my feet.
Spot your landing early it will save your knees! Now I’m up in the air and the spin is happening naturally you can see I have turned my head right around the other way mainly to spot my landing but for a full rotation the weight of your head shifting around like this can add that last little whip to your air to bring you down riding out nose first. It’s at this point in the trick you want to be asking yourself where’s my landing spot? Will this buckle my legs? Am I centred on my board? Will this break my board? these are all questions that fire off in the back of my head as I start to come back down and I have to make a very quick decision, stick it or bail.
So you can see in this shot I’m on my way back down, I’ve made the decision and I’m thinking I’ll have a crack at landing this, so my focus stays fixed on my landing and the rest of my body relaxes into the trick this allows the whole rotation to happen, it’s important at this point not to let your body become rigid, just chill and enjoy the view. I can feel the wind is still pushing my board against my feet and my knees are bent ready to absorb the landing.
Touch down , in this shot I’ve landed on top of the lip my body is centred over my board and my knees are bending and absorbing the impact , this landing is made a little trickier on the twin fin with out the centre fin of a thruster the board wants to immediately accelerate away from me too so a very centred low centre of gravity is the key to staying in control.
In this shot you can see how the impact has affect me, my knees are up by my shoulders and I’m trying to cushion all that downward force across the entire board. Its so important to stay flexible for landings like this, I’m an avid practitioner of yoga purely to deal with situations like this, having good flexibility and a quick muscle response time will save you from injury. Notice my back hand is in the wave face and is helping me stay upright and is also acting like a third fin.
The ride out. Once you have dealt with the impact and regained control of your board its time to let those legs relax and just let the white water and power of the wave push you out into the flats, the secret here is just to relax stay quite low still but keep the the nose of your board up. And there it is when you stick one get back out there and try a bigger one!
Words: Alan Stokes