Technique: reverse surfing

After recent training with an instructor, I gained more confidence in the surf.

He taught me how to land on the beach when the waves are bigger and one technique that he advocates is to reverse in, with the bow pointing out at sea.

His teaching calls for paddling your kayak backwards between the waves while forward paddling as waves roll in. The bigger the wave the more forward paddling/speed required to avoid the steep ones pushing you back.

In case my timing is out and a larger wave is approaching at the wrong time, he suggested paddling back out against the wave to brake the speed the wave could generate on my kayak.

I however wanted to try reverse surfing.

After a few “safe” runs I wanted to try an endo.

While the trick does pose some risks (as most kayak surfing) it’s a fantastic feeling having your kayak pitch up in the air.

To view the little video of the trick:

my take…
I am not a fan of reversing in. Never actually tried it really. I would rather surf in.

And if the surf is too big to land comfortably then you can reverse paddle as a wave lifts you to avoid getting surfed in. This is called a no-surf landing.

Again though I don’t like it. I would rather surf in unless the waves are really big and dumpy.

If you want to back surf in, then that is fun. Start with smaller stuff.

As you see a wave coming, get up some speed, lean back to catch the wave, and edge a little to one side or the other so that you can carve down the face of the wave, supported with a slight high brace. Fun, and safe that way.

You end up surfing a short distance and then carving off the face of the wave rather than being back-surfed uncontrollably and getting trashed.


It is all fun
Neat thing to work on - sink the stern even deeper, do a pivot turn, catch that same wave for a ride. Takes a few tries, but can be done in a sea kayak. As always, being in the right place at the right time is essential.

Now, I seriously doubt it as a surf landing technique. The stern ~usually~ has lower volume that the bow, you are much more likely to sink it and go over, I am not talking about getting rolled here. This might be different for you, but I noticed that not all techniques transfer to back surfing equally well from the front surfing. I usually prefer having as many options as possible when approaching surf landing, anything that reduces what can be done effectively is then out.

Thanks for sharing! Last month was the first time I tried something similar, though I only somersaulted while surfing forward - too scared to do it backwards since I did not feel enough in control to make sure I don’t end-up all the way at the beach.

Going backwards is generally a very good exercise for balance and water awareness.

was that an endo?
I think of an endo as flipping over 180 degrees. This looked more like a roll.

bow rudder is right. It wasn’t an endo. It looked like he got back surfed and then his stern dug in, slowed him down, and then he capsized and rolled. Wasn’t an endo though.

I generally try to avoid endos in the surf although have done a few. I did do one backwards one time at the Triangle in Tybee Island.

None of my endos in teh surf have been intentional though. Mostly can be controlled by leaning back, unless your bow actually hits bottom which I have had happen a few times on sandbars and steep waves.


I agree regarding the video. Not really an endo, IMO.

I’ve endo’d a couple times, and it’s really fun, but I’m usually afraid to do it on purpose, for fear of breaking the boat. You need a break where the water is about 10 feet deep in the troughs to make sure you don’t hit the bottom.

A friend of mine broke 4 inches off the bow of his boat when he accidentally endo’d while surfing storm swell last fall. Actually, it wasn’t his boat. It was a borrowed boat! doh!

you are right guys
you are right guys.

My “endo” is pretty lame.

I didn’t bake my boat or hurt myself.

Will try harder next time :slight_smile:

I am just a beginner when it comes to surf…

didn’t mean to minimize it
That was a very nice back-surf, by the way! I don’t manage to keep it straight that long.

it was a very nice back surf and really a good clip…only making light of the terminology being slightly off. Sorry if we seemed overly critical.


reverse paddling
is good practice. Sometimes I can’t get out past the breakers and end up being surfed backwards. In waves 6 feet or less I paddle forwards surf it, broach and side surf with a high or low brace. Surfing backwards usually results in an immediate capsize and roll in big surf. I often paddle backwards to hold my position or not get surfed by a breaking wave. Once they get 6 feet then it becomes an approach of least resistance.

no, I mean it
guys, no need to backpaddle :slight_smile:

I mean it: I am just experimenting with kayak surfing and getting the hang of things.

Reverse surfing is still very sketchy and I haven’t got the control of forward surfing.

I do need to spend more time in the big stuff and maybe get a plastic boat because occasionally I do hit the sandy bottom.

I deleted my post as it was rude. Just a feflection of being burned out. Have fun.