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Josh Kerr performing an alley-oop. Photos by Damea Dorsey.

An alley-oop is a rotation performed without grabbing the rails of the surfboard.

How to

The alley-oop is a tricky maneuver to pull, especially if you go big. Smaller ones are easier to make, but they can also make you look a little silly. However, a huge one with a clean landing looks really cool.

  1. The key is to set it up right. How you want to keep going after the move determines how you'll do this. For most airs, just approaching the lip more horizontally and not super steep off the bottom allows for better landings and more control, with less turning necessary in the air. You can even clear a section as you're spinning and land in a floater, but you really need to grease and stick the landing. Timing is the most essential thing and that depends on the section you have. It's got to be steep enough to go up and out the top and launch in order for you to come back down into the top of the wave or onto the lip somewhere.
  2. The best alley oops seem to happen when you set a quicker rotation with your shoulders at the beginning. This starts your spin and lets you keep the upper body quiet while the board catches up and stays attached to your feet. Also, you get to see where you're landing earlier and you're not trying to catch up with your board and recover once you've landed. Drawing your knees up toward your chest gives you room to move as you're extending on the way down.
  3. If you land too far in the flats you'll probably roll an ankle or break a board. If you land too far behind the wave and still manage to pull it, it won't look pretty. The key is to land smoothly on the falling lip or on top of the wave in a spot where you can just transition back down with plenty of speed.

Once you stick a few of these, try throwing a superman in the middle of it, what is called a "Muhammad Alley," kinda like a frontside version of the sushi roll.

See also