Surf Better Now Blog: The oldest trick in the book – The T-Shape Cutback

Published on 06/07/2021

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The T-shape cutback is one of the oldest tricks in the book. From Mark Richards to Tom Curren, every top tier surfer from the 70s/80s and beyond had this in their arsenal. And to be honest, although surfing performances have improved, this is still one of the most functional and regularly used turns by all surfers.

In the examples above of Mark Richards and Nathan Hedge, styles have changed substantially but they are still performing a similar manoeuvre with the T-Shape incorporated.

The T-shaped top turn or T-shaped cutback is a great starting point for navigating your way around a wave face, and can quickly become a reliable manoeuvre to help get you back to the pocket/ power source of the wave.

For the beginner to advanced surfer this will be a manoeuvre that works in all conditions whether it be big, small, glassy or bumpy. It will also be a manoeuvre that as you progress you can push the manoeuvre harder.

Start your wave by committing to a direction and performing a bottom turn.

As you rise up the wave face the common next step would be to perform a manoeuvre off the top or out of the top of the wave.

In this case you have chosen the T- Shaped cutback.

  • Start by aiming for your turn to start before you get to the top of the wave. Aim for 3/4 of the way up the wave face before you start to turn back down the wave face.
  • A common error when aiming for any type of carve off the top of a wave is that you start the turn too high on the wave face
  • Posture is very important in this case, aim to keep your back straight, bend from the knees and twist from the hips
  • As you begin the turn, aim to twist from the hips and have your arms in the t-shape position

To see the full breakdown blog and more video examples around the T-Shape and Cutback subscribe here or if you are already a subscriber head to the subscriber blog!

Mark Richards footage courtesy of Ross Myers

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