Once you start surfing, we could say that there is no way to go back. You are passionate about the feeling, the landscapes and the good atmosphere. Surely now you want to learn how to do more things and, since we are here for this, in this post we want to talk about how to do an aerial in surfing, do you join us?
It might be a little tricky to learn just by reading a post, therefore, you will have to go to practice immediately afterwards, and, why not, book a surf coaching course, but for now, you have to start from theory!
What is an aerial in surfing?
The first thing we need to do before learning this maneuver is to know what an “air” is in surfing. It is an aerial maneuver through which, thanks to the speed and technique, the surfer manages to “jump” out of the lip of the wave and then land inside it, on the foam or at the base.
When the air is complete correctly the result is spectacular, but it requires a certain level and a lot of practice so don’t despair if you don’t succeed at the first attempt, nobody is born learned! Now, you also need to consider something else, let’s move on!
How should the wave be?
It is not enough to know how to do an air in surfing, because if the wave does not accompany us, our attempt will probably be useless. With a flat wave we will not go anywhere, to launch ourselves from the lip of the wave we need steep waves or at least a steep section that is getting up in a specific part of it creating curves similar to skate ramp.
With a medium-sized wave and a good ramp on it you can try to launch an air and don’t worry if at first attempt you do a little one because with practice, step by step, everything will be better!
How to do an aerial: 4 tips
Now that you know what it is and the characteristics that the wave should have, the time has come for useful technical advices that might help you to practice it. We will divide them into four steps, but firstly we want to remind you to keep the surfboard clean and distribute the wax correctly in order to have a good grip and facilitate both the launch and the landing phase.
1. Pick a good point to launch it
The first thing we need to be very clear is the point (or section of the wave) where we will try to attempt an air and we must have no doubts about it. If you are constantly thinking about the section where you are going to do it, at the end you will not do it. So pick a point, closing section or breaking wave lip, and don’t lose sight of it, it will be exactly where you will fly (sooner or later!).
This point cannot be just the one where the wave is about to break, it would be useless, find one with a good ramp and go for that, but …
2. Get speed
The most important thing is the speed. You’ve got to have a good speed, and for this reason many times we surf the whole wave trying to go fast and then try to launch the air on the last section of the wave. Without speed you will not go anywhere and if you are trying to do this maneuver, you should already be able to get speed in a short stretch of the wave wall. If you don’t know how to do it yet, our advice is to practice how to get speed before attempting an air!
The ideal way to launch you and your board out and over the lip, without taking your eyes off our point of reference, is to make a solid bottom turn whose depth (deep or mid-face) will depend on how steep the section is, but with an inclination that is almost always around 30/50 degrees.
3. Direct your legs well and…the weight of your body
We are almost ready to know how to do an air, but before attempting it you have to position your legs well, but also your body while maintaining the compression of the bottom turn until the end. A common mistake is to remain with the weight back after having exited out of the lip of the wave and doing like this the speed is not transferred towards the direction of the wave, which in the meantime continues its motion towards the beach, and the surfer remains behind without any possibility of landing and closing the maneuver inside the wave.
For this reason, it is really important, in addition to making a good pressure with the back foot on the tail of the board during the compression phase up to the reference point, to transfer the weight of your body onto the front leg at the moment that the board is out of lip of the wave so as to project body and board towards the beach.
The body and the board should follow the same parabola, so you will have to perform a good rotation of the upper body with good timing in respect to the lip of the wave or just less than a second before the board arrives on the target point.
At that moment we should also have thought about where to land, therefore, while we are in the air, we must take a point as a reference and minimize the impact of landing by compressing our body again or lowering ourselves with the pelvis for greater control. Now …it’s time to land in style!
4. Pick a landing spot
As just said, when we launch ourselves from the lip of the wave, we need to know where we are going to land. This is very important and can make the difference between a spectacular air and a disastrous fall.
The first thing we need to keep in mind is that we cannot land in the flat part or at the base of the wave because the impact will be much heavier and the chances of injury will go up a lot. One of the ideal points is the upper part of the foam which offers a soft and less dangerous landing. Therefore, timing also plays a crucial role here as it would always be necessary to land after the section has broken completely forming the foam.
At this point we must keep the legs flexed as much as possible trying to bring our pelvis closer to the board. Damping the landing increases greatly the chances of success.
The moment you land, you will realize that…..you know how to do an air! But remember to go step by step, as we said before, and it will certainly cost you a few falls to close it and some waves wasted just to try but in the end it is the only way to learn! Don’t despair, at first try them small, and then with practice they will come out higher and higher and in the end … it will be a unique feeling!
Do you want us to help you learn this new maneuver? In our surf school in Fuerteventura Corralejo surfintrip.com we offer a large number of courses, from beginners to the most advanced levels of surf coaching, we are sure we can help you!