How To: Cutback Like Tom Curren

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If you’ve done it right, you’ll end up in the pocket of the wave, which is where the face is steeper. Photo: Sharp


How To: A Proper Frontside Cutback
Learning a cutback from a soon-to-be 48-year-old might seem counterintuitive, but Tom Curren is the king of the modern cutback. From Slater to Dane to Conner Coffin, their cutback lines and styles are heavily influenced by TC. All photos by William Sharp.—Casey Koteen
Tom Curren
1. As you’re coming down the line and getting ready to set up the turn, look for the little seams or wedges in the face of the wave. You want to use those like a transition on a skate ramp and fit the pivot point of the cutback inside them. They give you a tiny burst of momentum. Sometimes there’ll be an obvious one, other times not. When you’re coming off the bottom, look for one on the shoulder, and if you spot one, set your line so that you’ll run right through it.

Tom Curren
2. You want to approach the maneuver with a lateral line. Notice how his wake has only a slight angle in it from the bottom turn. This maintains as much speed as possible and positions you near the top of the lip.

Tom Curren
3. Your weight goes hard to the back foot to initiate the turn and heavy pivoting of the direction change, and your front hand should drop down to your waist. If you’re a legend and can make it look this easy, it should appear to casually hang there as if you were resting it on a bar stool.

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