Types of Surf Maneuvers

Surfskates are ideal surfing substitutes on land. The sensations you get from riding a surfskate are very similar to the ones from surfing. And if you miss sliding the waves so badly, and the ocean is nowhere nearby, a surfskate may become your best friend. 

But most importantly, one can — and should! — improve their surfboard riding technique on a surskate. This post will tell you which surfing maneuvers you can practice on a surfskate and what they are like. 

Because of frontside and backside wave riding, the surfskate maneuvers are also referred to accordingly (like backside bottom turn, as in the picture below). Please beware that the turning technique is different for turning into different directions — sometimes, there’s quite a drastic difference!

Bottom Turn

The essential surfing maneuver

The bottom turn is the essential maneuver in surfing. It is a prerequisite for all the other maneuvers. It’s the basis, the foundation. If a surfer wants to learn to perform maneuvers in the upper wave, they need to gain speed. This requires riding down the wave and performing the bottom turn. If a surfer performed the bottom turn correctly, not only will they not lose the speed they had gained by sliding to the trough — they will build up even more speed. The deeper the bottom turn, the more sweeping is the maneuver one can perform.

If you want to perform ideal maneuvers at the top of the wave, you need to hone your bottom turn. A surfskate will help you with this. 

Top Turn

A top turn is any type of turn in the upper wave. Exiting the bottom turn, a surfer will perform a top turn. There are numerous top turns: cutback, snap, re-entry, off-the-lip, layback, tailslide, and others. 

Ideally, top turns are better to practice on a surfskate in the ramp in a skatepark. Some of the top turns — like off-the-lip and layback — can only be practiced in the ramps.

But you don’t have to perform the hardcore high-amplitude vertical maneuvers right from the start. We recommend beginning with a basic top turn. A simple top turn is called carving. Essentially, this is just a turn in the upper wave which allows riding down the wave again and reentering the next bottom turn.


A cutback is one of the key maneuvers in surfing. You make an over 130 degrees rotation to reenter the wave pocket. It is usually performed on flat sections of the wave to regain the speed for the next maneuver.

The tighter the roundhouse cutback, the more ideal the eight-shape

Roundhouse Cutback

A roundhouse cutback is a variation of a cutback, except after the first turning a surfer slides to the whitewater, then performs reentry in the whitewater, and returns onto the wave with the max speed. This looks like making the eight-shaped movement on the wave.

A roundhouse cutback is a three-in-one maneuver. You start with a cutback, then you perform a reverse bottom-turn — because you are moving in the opposite direction at that moment — and then a re-entry. 


A Snap is a sharp change of the movement direction in the pocket or at the top of the wave. A decent performance of the snap on a surfboard will result in impressive splashes flying out of the board all around. You certainly won’t expect any splashes from under the surfskate, but the rear wheels may slightly slip through.

Snap is the next level after cutback

Re-entry is like the snap, except it is performed in the wave’s most critical spot — as near to the whitewater as possible. Having performed the turning, a surfer will find themselves in such a spot on the wave as if they have just started on the wave. Hence the name of this trick. Technically, there will be merely no difference between the snap and the re-entry, but for a more vertical bottom turn.

Backside re-entry, if performed properly, looks very impressive


Off-the-lip is a maneuver performed on the face of the wave with fins flying beyond the wave lip. A surfer then goes down the wave with the topmost speed, ready for the next maneuver. On a surfskate, the equivalent of fins flying beyond the wave lip is the rear truck sliding beyond the ramp coping.

Off-the-lip is one of the most difficult maneuvers


This is yet another spectacular snap variation: right before entering the turn, a surfer is sort of leaning against their rear hand, virtually lying on the wave, after which they transfer weight back onto the board and leave. 

On the surfskate, you can teach your body to make all the moves necessary to perform each of these maneuvers. A surfskate allows starting off by performing the maneuvers slowly, enabling you to control every part of your body, which is, unfortunately, impossible to achieve with a surfboard.

Another thing is, on a surfskate, you can repeat a maneuver endlessly, making it better and better every time, with no need to surmount a new wave. This makes a surfskate so helpful for surfing.