There is a big difference between trimming on your forehand vs trimming on your backhand - with most people finding things a little easier riding forehand.

So let's start with the trimming on your forehand to get things started.


Trimming on your forehand is made easier for a couple of reasons:

  • With your chest facing the wave it's easier to look where you're going.
  • The ability to use your toes and the balls of your feet for balance allows for greater stability and more forgiveness.


A lot of the work when it comes to trimming across a wave is all done in the set-up.

It comes from:

  • Good wave selection.
  • Strong paddling to catch the wave early.
  • A quick pop-up.

Execute these three things well, and setting your line to trim across the wave will be a breeze. However get any of the above wrong, it'll be almost impossible to achieve.

Lets break the whole process down in detail below:

  • Spot a wave with a nice tapered shape that's going to break down the line slowly.
  • Position yourself effectively so that you're able to catch the wave early, and paddle hard to catch the wave.
  • Once you have confirmation that you are on the wave, pop quickly to your feet.  Important: You should be on your feet whilst still at the top of the wave.
  • As soon as you are on your feet, immediately start putting weight onto the balls of your feet and your toes.  This will in-turn begin to turn the surfboard.
  • Keep your eyes looking to where you want your surfboard to go.
  • Once your line is set, maintain balance and you're away!


Alright, so trimming across a wave is made so much easier when you're able to set your line early, which involves popping up quickly, and getting your line set straight away.

This is important for a few reasons:

- Getting to your feet early is the safest way to ride down a green wave (if you're riding down a wave on your belly there's a high chance you'll nosedive).

- Setting your line early cuts off the steepness of the wave in the same way that a road goes around a mountain - rather than straight up - which helps to avoid nosediving.

- Setting your line early within the curve of the wave is much easier to do than trying to set your line in the flats.


Just like painting a wall is 90% preparation: removing grease, filling holes, sanding, masking taping, laying dust-sheets, cutting in, etc.

And only the final 10% is where the glory happens, and you finally get to actually paint the wall itself.

The same holds true with trimming on a wave.

90% of the work is in the set-up. 

Get all of that right, and you'll be crushing it.