Ever since the 1980s, when backside tube riding became as popular as we know it to be today, surfers from around the world have struggled with their techniques when trying to pull off this epic stunt. What so few of them understand is that there are a few fundamental tips that always need to be kept in mind when attempting to master the skills needed to pull off backside tube riding, and that it’s not a stunt that can be learned overnight.
Here are the things you’ve probably overlooked if you’re trying and failing to pull off some backside tube riding tricks, and what you need to do to improve your technique.
This trick isn’t for everyone
Let’s get one thing straight upfront; backside tube riding is an adrenaline-packed adventure, but it’s not for everyone. Rookie surfers who are just trying their hands at their first few tricks should avoid this until they’ve gained some serious experience, and even seasoned veterans should approach this with caution if they’re not totally on their A-game. This isn’t to say that backside tube riding is impossible, but rather to note that it’s vastly different from most tricks, and has little room for error if you want to avoid a disastrous wipeout or personal injury.
Sometimes called “pigdogging,” especially in Australia and New Zealand, backside tube riding consists of having your back to the wave, and traditional techniques have emphasized that your arms should be thrown behind you as you cruise along the water. What few surfers realize, however, is that throwing your arms behind your back like that is a simple way to ensure that your backside tube riding experience will go wrong from the start. Rather than having your arms lingering behind you, they should actually remain firmly ahead of you as you ride the wave.
No part of your body can be amiss when trying to backside tube ride; if your arms are lingering behind you instead of remaining firmly ahead of you as you ride the wave, or if your footing is even slightly off, you’re asking for a wipeout. This is not like getting a loan without checking your credit where everyone wins. You have to rely more on your hindquarters and legs to slow down and create drag than most realize, as using your hands or arms is simply a way to end up eating the surf.
Surfing is gaining popularity across the country at a staggering rate, which means many newcomers are flocking to the hobby with a deep passion, but most of them don’t even know where to begin when it comes to preparing for a backside tube ride. Blazing down a fast tube is not something that should be done lightly, especially if you’re unsure of where all of your limbs need to be in order to pull everything off perfectly.
Knowing what to avoid
One classic mistake too many amateurs make when trying to perfect their backside tube riding technique is lurching too much of their elbow into the wave, which can easily destabilize you, not to mention be infuriating if it starts kicking saltwater up into your eyes. The position of your elbows and precise, controlled arm movements are essential towards successful backside tube riding, so don’t be afraid to get meticulous when watching tutorials and study the precise movements of the surfers.
Andy Irons has one of the most successful and effective guides out there, and it’s precisely because he realizes and champions the importance of limb control. You need to be careful with your stalls when trying to ride a fast tube, as being able to make sudden changes to your speed is crucial. Micromanaging every little movement you make should be at the forefront of your mind if you keep wiping out and can’t seem to get things right.
Be sure not to lean forward too much when adjusting your stance; keeping your balance is essential, and the adrenaline-packed nature of backside tube riding has a tendency to get into surfer’s heads and throw them off balance. Keep a level head, and focus on reading every minute detail of the wave while perfecting your stance, and you’ll soon be backside tube riding like a pro.