What I’ve Applied from Skateboarding to Surfing

Skateboarding and surfing share many similarities, especially when it comes to turning and carving. From my experience, I've found that techniques used in skateboarding can significantly improve your surfing skills. Here's what I've learned about turning from skateboarding and how it applies to surfing.

Turning Starts with the Eyes, Not the Feet

If you watch a skilled skateboarder carve a bowl, you can tell which way they are going to turn even before their board moves. This is because turning starts with the eyes and the upper body. A good skater is already looking where they want to go, and their shoulders are already turning in that direction.

Many beginner and intermediate surfers struggle with this concept. They try to turn their surfboard by just moving their feet, which gets them all twisted up and leads to awkward and inefficient turns. The same principle that applies to skateboarding applies to surfing: turning starts with your eyes.

The Order of Movement: Eyes, Shoulders, Torso, Hips, Knees, Feet

In both skateboarding and surfing, the order of movement is crucial. Here's how it should go:

  1. Eyes: Look where you want to turn. 
  2. Shoulders: Rotate your shoulders in the direction you want to go.
  3. Torso: Let your torso follow your shoulders.
  4. Hips: Your hips will naturally follow the movement of your torso.
  5. Knees: Bend and adjust your knees to help guide the turn.
  6. Feet: Finally, your feet will direct the board.

By following this sequence, you’ll find that your turns become smoother and more controlled.

How To Practice

Grab a surf skate or a regular board and head down to your local skate park. Start low on a ramp and approach at a shallow angle. Get a feel for what it’s like to look at where you want to turn and rotating your shoulders in the direction you want to go. Really imagine that you’re on a wave and get the feel of carving and turning using the above sequence.

Be consistent for a few weeks and you’ll notice how much it will improve your surfing technique, helping you develop better control and flow on the waves.

For More Details

For those who want to dive deeper into these techniques, I recommend listening to our podcast with Adam Knox. Adam goes into detail about how to use a surf skate to improve your surfing skills and technique.


Understanding that turning starts with the eyes and follows through the body can transform your surfing. By practicing this sequence, you'll improve your control and fluidity on the waves. Remember, it’s not just about moving your feet – it’s about engaging your entire body, starting with where you look. So next time you’re out on the water, focus on your eyes and let your body follow. Happy surfing!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.