Surfing airs are arguably the most exciting part of our sport.

But, with each grab, rotation, tweak, etc. comes a different name, and completely different terminology - which can be very confusing.

This post hopes to solve all that.

In this guide you’ll learn all names and functions of all the airs surfing has to offer. 


DIFFERENT TYPES OF SURFING AIRS

Below we’ll breakdown all the major aerial manoeuvres, so that you know which is which. 


STRAIGHT AIR

A straight is the simplest of all the airs on the list.

Put simply, a straight air will be when a surfer projects above the lip of the wave and rides back into the waves transition much in the same was as you would a top turn - without any flashy rotations. 


TAIL HIGH TWEAK

A tail high tweak is similar to a straight air above, but this time around the surfers ads a little spice to the move. 

Instead of simply projecting off the wave and coming straight back down, the surfer will project the tail of their board so that it’s higher than the nose, and almost karate kick the the tail into a rotation then bring it back. 

A complex surfing air that’s much harder than it looks. 


AIR REVERSE

In my mind the air reverse is the one trick that separates a surfer from being good, to really good.

The air reverse is when a surfer will hit the lip of the wave protecting them into the air, whereby the surfer will rotate their body away from the wave and land with the tail of their surfboard pointing towards the beach. 

From this point the fins grip and rotate the final 180 turn to point their surfboard back into the right direction.


ALLEY OOP

An alley oop is where a surfer will launch into the air and rotate in towards the wave (the opposite of an air reverse). 

If landed with the fins pointed towards the beach it’ll be catagorised as an alley oop, if the surfer rotates 360 it’ll be considered a full rotation alley-oop.


FULL ROTATION AIR 360

A full rotation air 360 is the same set up process as the air reverse above, however rather than landing with the fins pointing towards the beach, the surfer will spin the full 360 in the air and land with their board pointing towards the shore. 


BACK FLIP

As the name suggests, this surfing air is when a surfer projects out of the lip of a wave and performs backflip in the air, landing back into the waves transition. 

Considered one of the hardest moves in surfing.


RODEO CLOWN

The Rodeo Clown is a mix between a backflip and a 360 spin together. 

A surfer will first twist in a backflipping motion, then rip the board around into a 360 spin. 

Hard as hell to do, and very rare to witness. 


SURFING AIR GRABS VARIATIONS

DOUBLE GRAB

Two hands grabbing the both rails of the surfboard.


INDY GRAB

Grabbing the inside rail with the trailing arm.


MUTE GRAB

Grabbing the outside rail with the leading arm.


MUTE GRAB

Grabbing the inside rail with the leading arm


STALEFISH GRAB

Grabbing the outside rail with the trailing arm.


CONCLUSION

With a bit of luck you should now know all the different types of surfing aerial variations, and all of the grab variations too. 

It's a lot to take in, and can get very complex when adding grab variations to aerial rotations, nevertheless at least you can use this guide to help figure it all out.

Hope it helps.

Yew!
Rowan 🤙

ROWAN CLIFFORD

Rowan is the technical nerd behind the scenes. A lover of everything entrepreneurial, and living a minimal, simple life.

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