Backward Rotations

The right stuff for radical action

Part II and this time it is the backwards rotations; back loops and push loops. Ever considered trying them? Well here are the ultimate tips for the ultimate moves, from none other than one of the UK’s finest ever wave talents – Robby Swift. Be sure to check out the bonus crash sequence of Ricardo Campello. Unfortunately no tips on how to do this but should you go through something similar, feel free to post some pointers on our forum. Over to Robby…

N.B. Apologies but we decided to swap the ‘simple’ back loop tips with the clew first back loop instead.

One Footed Back Loop – A quick kick

This is a very difficult move. As such, it gets a lot of points when you pull it off in a competition!

Pic 1. Kauli jumps from a steep ramp. He initiates the back loop rotation as normal.

Pic 2.  Kauli is gaining height and already preparing to take his front foot out of the strap.

Pic 3. Here you can see he is taking out his front foot while keeping his back leg bent to keep control of the board. This is very important.

Pic 4. Here Kauli is still jumping straight up. He hasn’t started rotating yet and his foot is fully extended.

Pic 5. Still going up, Kauli is preparing to put his foot back in the strap. He is beginning to start the rotation.

Pic 6. Kauli is in a very vertical back loop position, he is putting his foot back in the strap, getting ready to look at the water to really start the rotation

Pic 7. Now his foot is back in that strap, he looks down at the water and starts the rotation. Just like the regular back loop, most of the rotation is done at the apex of the jump.

Pic 8. He has his legs bent and he is opening the back of the sail, allowing the rotation to take place in a controlled fashion.

Pic 9. Now Kauli is looking at the spot on the water where he wants to land. His legs are bent and he is controlling the rotation with his back hand.

Pic 10. Falling towards the water, Kauli slows the rotation.

Pic 11. Now he puts his back hand further down the boom, almost all the way to the back.

Pic 12. Here he is tucked up and ready to land.

Pic 13. Kauli’s legs are still bent so that he can land nose-first. This is the hardest part of the back loop.

Pic 14. Kauli is about to hit the water. His legs are slightly bent and his back hand is ready for the sail to pull hard.

Pic 15. As he hits the water, the sail pulls very hard but his weight is towards the back of the boom and his back hand is far back down the boom to hold onto all that power. As you can see the mast bends a lot. This is where it helps to have a soft sail that releases the power easily. 

Pic 16. Kauli sails away.

Back Loop Clew First – High scoring, worth a try…

Actually this one is a crazy pete clew first, not a back loop. The back loop he would land on his nose with the sail still clew first.

This is one of Kauli’s specialties, not many people can do this move and he does it with height and style making it look easy. You need to duck under the sail on the way towards the ramp, not too far before the ramp as you want to be going as fast as possible still when you hit the wave.

Pic 1.You can see he has chosen a steep ramp and hit it right at the steepest part. Both his arms are bent to control the power in the sail while it is the wrong way round.

Pic 2. Just like with the regular back loop, Kauli gets the wind to blow him up using the sail and the board. His legs are bent and the wind is hitting the bottom of the board.

Pic 3. Kauli gains height, waiting to start the rotation.

Pic 4. He is still going up. He doesn’t want to start the rotation too early.

Pic 5. Now he feels that he is at the apex of the jump so he starts looking over his front shoulder to start the rotation.

Pic 6. Here he is fully rotating, looking at the water where he wants to land with his legs and arms bent. This is a cool position.

Pic 7. Now he is beginning to fall towards the water, he is deciding whether to land nose first and clew first as a back loop or flip the sail to do a crazy pete.

Pic 8. Here he sees that he is too high to land clew first and in control, so he starts to let the board rotate under him and flip the sail.

Pic 9. Here he is letting the board carry on rotating and trying to get his hands to the other side of the sail.

Pic 10. He reaches across the front of the boom to grab the boom from the other side.

Pic 11. Now he has the boom from the other side and is planning to land clew first.

Pic 12. He just has to grab the back of the boom with his back hand now and control the power. This is the hardest part of this move.

Pic 13. Now he has his hand on the back of the boom and needs to pull in with his back hand to get the power in the sail again.

Pic 14. Sailing away from a very high scoring move!

Push Loop – Scary but the easiest of them all

The push loop is a relatively easy move. It is scary at first because you have to float on top of your equipment for a little while and it is easy to land on top of your sail and boom, but once you get the hang of it, it is much easier to land than the back loop.

Pic 1. As you can see, Kauli hits a steep wave and jumps straight up in the air. For the push loop you can jump more vertically than the back loop and you can also take off on a more down-wind run. If you take off upwind, you often spin too fast and it is hard to control the rotation so try not to do that.

Pic 2. Here you can see he is jumping very vertically. He waits a little to get height before beginning the rotation.

Pic 3. Here he is gaining height before rotation.

Pic 4. Now you can see what I mean by jumping vertically, hey is not looking over his shoulder to the right, but rather backwards towards the water behind his head. This makes the distinction between the rotation of a push loop and a back loop. See how his front arm is very close to him. This is important to keep control of the jump. If your front arm is straight, you are a long way away from your equipment and the rotation becomes too fast and hard to stop.

Pic 5. Here he is rotating quickly. His legs are bent, the wind is coming from the bottom of the board and he is almost at the top of his jump.

Pic 6. The board comes up over the sail and the mast starts to rotate below you. Notice how his head is looking towards the water, making sure that he keeps rotating. Your gear will follow where your head looks.

Pic 7 & *. Here you can see that most of the rotation is completed very quickly. Kauli does not lose any height between these pictures, he is pretty much just floating at the apex of his jump. This is what makes the push loop so fun.

Pic 8.

Pic 9. The wind is coming from the other side of the sail, now he pushes out with his back hand (this is where the term push loop comes from). That is how you stop the rotation.

Pic 10. Now he has the wind from the right side of the sail again and he begins to fall. He is getting ready for a tail-first landing.

Pic 11. He is straightening his arms and legs and getting ready to cushion the impact of the jump.

Pic 12. Here his legs are fully extended so that he can land tail first.

Pic 13. The landing of the jump is soft and on the tail and the sail is full of wind. This is why the push loop is easier to land than the back loop.

Pic 14. Kauli bends his legs and allows his body to sink into the water for a second to cushion the impact of the landing.

Tweaked Push Loop – Super stylish

This is one of my favorite moves. Not just the way it looks but the way it feels. I remember when Ricardo and I were first trying these in Lanzarote about 7 years ago and nobody knew what they were. The feeling of floating on top of your sail with your legs behind you is amazing. It also gives you power in the sail after the push loop so that you can do a forward on the way down if you want to!

Pic 1. Here I have chosen quite a big ramp to jump off and hit it at the steepest part.

Pic 2. The big ramp and high speed combine to send me quite high pretty quickly. I try to look back over my head to make the rotation vertical, rather than sideways like a back loop.

Pic 3. Here I am throwing the sail below me and the board over the top of the rotation. As you can see, my front arm is bent and my back arm is extended. You need to keep your front hand close to your body.

Pic 4. Here the sail is about to be thrown forwards and my legs will stay behind. I am looking at my landing spot already.

Pic 5. Here I am almost fully extended, still going up in the air, and getting ready to control the wind coming from the other side of the sail.

Pic 6. Here I am pushing on my back hand and feeling the wind blow me up in the air from the other side. My legs are fully extended behind me. This is the most fun and best looking part of the move.

Pic 7. As you can see, I still haven’t started falling. The wind is keeping me floating at the apex of the jump.

Pic 8. Now I start to fall, still pushing with my back hand to control the rotation. I start to pull my legs back to the correct side of the sail.

Pic 9. Here I am still pushing on the sail to control the rotation, and pulling my legs back.

Pic 10. The sail is now neutral, there is no wind in it. My legs are coming back and I am stretching them out so I can land on the tail.

Pic 11. Here the wind starts to come from the right side of the sail again and I will pull with my back hand to soften the landing.

Pic 12. Just about to hit the water, I will land on the tail of the board and use the power in the sail to cushion the landing.

Pic 13. Even though this was quite a high jump, the fact that I was floating on the sail in the middle of the jump, using the wind from the other side made the landing a lot softer than it would have been otherwise. Now I have power in my sail and land softly.

Pic 14. Sailing away.

Photos – Thorsten Indra
Credits also to Axel Reese




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