Words by Brett Carey

Former Surf & Adventure surf Instructor Dr. Brett Carey resides on Hawaii island and works with several of Hawaii’s top up and coming surfers. He has also been an invited guest to Oakley’s North Shore Pipeline house and is known for reading between the lines when it comes to teasing out the different habits and movement patterns that separate average surfers from great surfers. 

He has formulated theories ranging from surfboard volume and board design to innovative cross training techniques. 

Below are the most common form errors he sees with most recreational surfers.

Top 3 technique suggestions and the movement science explanations:

1. The Suggestion: When surfing backside – point your thumb down on your trailing hand.

    The Reason: Pointing your thumb down makes it harder to lift your arm upwards.  The lower you keep your arms – the better balance you will have.  If your back arm comes higher than your head – the body’s natural balance reaction is to straighten the legs and over extend the back thus greatly limiting your ability to drive through a bottom turn and wind up for a top turn. 

   The Example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RqoAB0Pk6k

2.  The Suggestion:  Always be looking where you want to go on a wave and not where you are. 

     The Reason:  Our vestibular ocular reflex is a reflex that coordinates eye and head movement.  Gaze stabilization on an upcoming portion of the wave allows the body to better coordinate complex body movements and balance reactions.

    The Example: Fast forward to minute four on this clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsfDj8gVNvs

3.  The Suggestion: bend by sitting back on your heels and bending from the hips rather than bending by flexing forward at the knees. 

The Reason:  Your knees are designed for walking, your hips are designed to initiate bending / squatting. The Gluteals (butt muscles) are some of the strongest muscles in the body.  Squatting from the hips allows you to put lots of power in your turns.   Also, pushing your hips back allows your shoulders-knees-feet to be stacked over each other.  The more we stack our joints – the less we displace our center of mass from our center of gravity resulting in more powerful turns with less risk of falling. 

The Example:  To illustrate this principal I always use Kelly Slater clips.  He is probably the best at this technique. 



Dr Brett Carey Photo by: Jason Wright jasonwrightcreative.com

Brett sliding the fins out

Brett – frontside off the top

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