Land an air, poke a turn, get released from the tube's claw!
Every day brings a deeper enchainment with the nineties surf pro Shane Beschen.
Born and shaped in San Clemente’s gilded surf ghetto, Shane scored the highest-ever heat total in 1996 with a perfect 30 (three 10s) at Kirra and, for a time, was the arch rival of Kelly Slater (In 1994, Beschen beat Slater at the US Open while surfing without a leash). After retiring, prematurely, from the tour in 2005, Shane has used his tour knowledge to improve the game of surfers Carissa Moore, Conner Coffin and Kolohe Andino. His two sons, Noah, sixteen, and Koda, who is twelve, carry his superior genetic code in their surf jams.
And if you, or me, want an instant fix to our surf woes, well, Beschen has answers.
1. How to land airs: Most of us have never really conquered the mechanics of airs. We race along a wave, bottom turn, throw ourselves into the lip and fall on our backs. Beschen says if you want to get better, if you want to improve today, the first thing you have to do is buy a board that’s fast and wide. And instead of bottom turning at the bottom of the wave, do your turn mid-face. “Honestly, the mid-face bottom turn is the most important thing,” says Beschen. “And, then, when you hit the lip, really pull up with your knees and throw back your shoulder to make sure you’re centred. And you want to land on the lip so you crush it down. It’s a cushion for your landings. A lot of the super gnarly guys land on the flats or in the trough, where the lip hits the bottom of the wave, but that’s the worst place you want to be. Injuries? You don’t want ’em.”
2. Shorten your board to improve your tube riding: This is a frontside trick to get you out of your tubes. “Move both feet forward, plain and simple,” he says. “You want your back foot above the Astrodeck (tail pad) and the front foot somewhere between six and 12 inches where you normally have it. That really shortens your board and it makes it easier to speed up and slow down.”
Backside is different, says Beschen. “You want to drop your back knee almost as if you were surfing drop-knee. And square your front shoulder. Look at John John, Slater or Bruce Irons for perfection of this art.”
“You’re trying to create an imbalance. Your back leg bends while the front leg remains straight. Those beautiful arcs like Mick? He’s really compressing the back leg and straightening the front leg.
3. Poke your turns: You want to carve like Mick Fanning? “I’ve been explaining this lately as ‘poking’ turns,” says Beschen. “You’re trying to create an imbalance. Your back leg bends while the front leg remains straight. Those beautiful arcs like Mick? He’s really compressing the back leg and straightening the front leg. You see a lot of kids with an even stance, both legs are bent. This is creates a block and so they’re not able to wrap their turns.”
Now go get ’em!