A floater is when you turn up on top of the broken lip, or foam, and ride along on top of it, then back down onto the open face again.


Step 1: Eye your path, open your shoulders and body towards the section.

Step 2: Weight is on your back foot, guide with your front foot.

Step 3: Compress your body, stay really light (weightless) and steady on the lip.

Step 4: Slowly shift your weight onto your front foot.

Step 5: Riding along the lip, counterbalance, shift weight between feet to keep board planning and flat.

Step 6: Keep your chest forward and look in the direction of where you want to go.

Step 7: Turn left arm, head and shoulders towards the beach. Your board will follow.

Step 8: Place more pressure on your back foot, compress low as you drop down the lip.

Step 9: Shift your weight over the centre of your board, staying nice and low on impact.



A floater can be performed to:

  • help get around a section that is closing out in front of you
  • as a last manoeuvre, on the last part of any closing out wave

The floater will give you more speed to get past a closing out section and to get back onto the open wave face ahead.

If you just do a re-entry in that place you might not retain enough speed to drive you forward, past the curl and onto the open face ahead.

Ideal waves to do floaters on are medium sized waves with sections that crumble or break ahead of you. To do a good floater, you’ll need to have the necessary speed to turn up and stay on top of the broken lip/wave. You can only stay on top of the wave for 2 to 3 seconds otherwise you will slow down too much and the board will drop into the foaming whitewash and catch a rail.

If you are at high speed, this will probably not happen as you can usually glide over this hollow section quickly and back down onto clean water.

At the time of performing the floater, you will not always know if you will make it.


a) ACTION: You do not have enough speed to perform the floater and you don’t get the board up on top of the wave completely.

RESULT: The board will get caught up on the lip of the wave as it curls over, resulting in a wipeout.

CORRECTION: Gain more speed first to get you right on top of the lip or foam.

b) ACTION: While up on top of the curling lip, the curl can collapse if you are not quick to get back down to the wave face.

RESULT: You can drop down suddenly into the back of the wave, causing the rail to grab in the broken water and resulting in a possible wipeout.

CORRECTION: Just try to balance, with your board and arms, in the broken whiter water of the wave all around you.

c) ACTION: Staying too long on the top of the wave without speed.

RESULT: You will lose too much speed and all control.

CORRECTION: Bring the floater back down earlier before you lose your forward motion.


Ex WQS warrior, and all-round frother - Loz is the technical coaching queen at the House of Surf.

She is also a mindset and life coach and has a habit of living in her van way too much. 

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