Carving 360

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Luke Davis performing a carving 360 at Lower Trestles[1]

An extension of the bottom turn where you carve your whole turn around as opposed to spinning the tail or sliding the fins out. The basic ideal is to complete a total circle with one carving turn.


The 360 was once considered too disco for purists because it came off like more of a simple flick and spin trick than a true power move. However, as the new millennium began so did the idea that spins and reverses could thread seamlessly into a power surfer's repertoire. Kelly Slater took this simple bump and grind off the lip and made it into an extended bucket throwing lip bash that seemed to almost gain speed into the next maneuver.

How to

Again, the modern 360 is marked by power off the bottom and smooth transition from lip to trough. The move no longer a tap and glide backwards through the whitewash, so you must first be sure the wave is juicy and steep. A weak wave will cause you to gyrate and hop to make this move work, and that is the not the goal of good surfing. Instead, choose a wave that will enable you to complete your rotation with no loss of speed.

Now, you have chosen a wave that is steep and juicy. The key is to begin this maneuver while you are deep in the power of the wave, preferably starting your bottom turn behind the whitewater and driving your 360 up through the power pocket of the wave.

Your bottom turn is crucial. Crouching and coiled, keep your weight should be focused over the center of your board but use your back foot as a pivot point as you aim your sights on the lip of the wave where you want to hit.

Remember that you are not trying to spin or flick but rather carve up into the lip of the wave, so carve out of your bottom turn at a steeper angle than a standard re-entry but with your weight placed firmly on the inside rail.

As you rise towards the lip, turn your head back towards the whitewater and let your inside shoulder follow. Anywhere you target your eyes, your board will generally follow, and so looking in the direction of your turn will aid the rotation. The 360 is all about commitment, so once you find your board is vertical, perpendicular to the lip, it is crucial to shift your weight to your front foot against the resistance of lip (or whitewater) the follow through by rotating back against the flow of the wave.

This is the place where the frontside 360 can go awry. Rail digging and nose diving nose diving is common here, but even weight distribution over your board’s middle point will enable your surfboard’s natural flotation to right itself as you rotate back around to your original angle and direction (similar to a basic reverse).

As you come out of this maneuver, you might find yourself standing with your nose pointed straight for the beach. Expect this. And instead of letting the wave pass you by, continue your flow by looking towards the next section you want to hit or make.

Okay, at this point you have completed the frontside 360, but these first versions might be a bit ugly. Arms flapping and uneasy struggles to regain your balance are common as you get used to the sensation of changing not only direction but the change in gravitational force on both your board and body as well. The only way to get past that awkwardness is to do this maneuver all day when you first learn it. Fall a bunch and try it in different situations and with variations in your approach and execution.

Remember, this is surfing not science. Therefore, the exact details of how I explain the steps in this maneuver transfer to your style and perspective in a slightly different way. So when throwing down this spinning carve, feel free to put your own SPIN on it.

See also