Surf Tips – How to Do a Forehand Cutback


Whether you’re a recreational or a competitive professional surfer, the forehand cutback is a maneuver you must master. In case you don’t know, cutbacks define modern surfing. In fact, surfboards back then didn’t use fins, which would mean that surfers only caught waves and rode it straight back to the shore. The fin revolution opened the world’s eye to a new world of surfing opportunities and maneuvers, including the forehand cutback.

In this post, we will be discussing everything that you need to know about how to do a forehand cutback, along with some useful tips to make it easier for you. Cutbacks, in general, requires you to balance your shoulders, hips, heels, toes, and arms. On then you will be able to perform more challenging stunts. Keep on reading if you want to learn how to do the forehand cutback properly.

How to Do a Forehand Cutback

Doing the forehand cutback is ideal, especially if you are about to enter a wave’s flat section. It is understandable that continuing down might cause you to slow down. However, a quality forehand cutback will certainly help you retain speed while you return back to a wave’s more powerful part. A cutback, when done properly, looks so amazing. While the below guide comprises technical instructions, we believe that by practice, you’ll be able to do this very rewarding surfing skill.

  • As you get to shoulder level, try to redistribute your weight through the help of your rear foot. Start to lean your outside hand down to the wave.
  • Ensure that your front foot pushes against the surfboard’s deck. Engage your board’s fins by applying pressure to your rear foot. This marks the start of the pivot; therefore, it is vital that you ensure that your foot is planting the tail and fins into the wave.
  • Drop your outside hands and throw your inside hands across your body. Turn your head while you twist your shoulders and throw your arm in the intended direction. Doing so will make the change in direction more pronounced.
  • As your hips and mid-section will naturally follow, arc your surfboard back to the pocket while putting it on the rail. By this time, your legs should be fully extended, maximizing the power you can push at the turn.
  • Try to exchange the speed down the line as you go for a hard turn. It is also important to note that you must not jerk the turn. Keep your flow or it might just look like you are turning in 90-degree segments.
  • As your arm comes across your face, you will notice that it points you to your targeted direction. Bend your front leg, as this move is likely to absorb the surfboard’s impact. Then, push the surfboard into a slide.
  • After, your rear leg must be pushing against the tail, which will flare the turn, as well as re-engage the fins. This happens, especially if the surfboard comes off the rail while going flat.
  • Now that you have your center of gravity in its lowest point, do a squat while transferring your weight from your left hand’s pivot point to your toes. Then, place your board back to the rail and lean back to the wave, as you ready yourself to drive out of the wave’s pocket.
  • Try to keep low just until the foam is clear. Also, watch out for sections that might knock off your balance. However, once the section catches up and the foam is under the surfboard’s tail, prepare to go loose. This, in particular, is when you might have difficulty keeping your balance.
  • To overcome this, try getting your weight forward and into the direction of the rail. To add, it might help you if you focus down the line you are going and choose the line that will help you gain more speed, preparing you to approach the upcoming section.

There might be nothing more satisfying than giving all your inertia and speed into an effortless direction change. In fact, a lot of professional surfers have practiced the art of doing a solid carving turn. The key, certainly, is to fly through this move in one swift motion. In addition, you may come through the bottom turn with more commitment and speed just be maintaining low while you’re on the board and bending your knees and focusing on the top third of your shoulder. This is the part where you can successfully initiate a forehand cutback turn.

Tips on Doing the Forehand Cutback

  • It would be in your advantage if you are using your hand as the pivot point. You may imagine that you are leaning down to the concrete, the same thing that you would do when you’re doing a power slide using a skateboard.
  • It may also be helpful for you if you keep practicing on pointbreaks, which allows clean and flawless surfing waves.
  • Another important thing to take note of is to keep your turns smooth. To do this, you must become used to each of the movements while you link them together as smoothly and as quickly as possible. You may practice body rotation on land if it helps.
  • If you have been kept challenged with making one full rotation as you try to move further on your shoulder. In case you are losing speed, you may try doing this move in the steeper sections while you keep the arc’s circumference tighter.
  • Keep in mind that surfing revolves around the pocket. Using this information, it is vital to keep the turn in a steep section, as it is always easier to lean on the shoulder. However, it also means that it should be your mission to bring every turn as close to the pocket as possible.
  • When you lose your speed, it is likely that you will stall. Go off the wave’s back and remember to swoop using your head, arms, and shoulders. You will notice that if you have followed the direction of your legs, your surfboard will also nail the turn.


Knowing how to properly do the forehand cutback is essential, whether you are surfing for recreation or professionally. With this, we do hope that you have learned a lot from reading this guide. We also recommend that you try it out on land first, using a skateboard, before you go out to the beach. This would help you a lot, in case you are still trying to figure out how to do this very challenging surfing maneuver.

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