How come there aren’t many shortboarders today that ride switchstance well? I’ve watched old film footage of surfers like Bertleman and Buttons ripping, both goofy and regular foot. It’s amazing to see how smoothly they switch their stance mid-cutback, while rebounding off the whitewater and carving bottom turns. What caused the demise of switchstance shortboard surfing? Does it have something to do with the design of modern surfboards? Or has this skill simply fallen out of style?

There’s a guy at Kirra that l have known since he was 12, his nickname is China, one of the most naturally gifted surfers l,ve seen, he’s been in a couple of Justin Gains movies getting switch barrels at Kirra, he does all that switch stuff really well and l recon that you dont see enough of it, l remember seeing buttons do one, in one of the first movies that l saw, l went out surfin the next day and that was all l had in my head, swallowed alot of water that day. Yeah the boards of today are very twitchy but if you keep trying you get used to it, it feels pretty cool when you do your first smooth cutty or reo. KR http://groups.msn.com/MyKRSurf/krcomweb.msnw

the leash prevents all that

Switchstance is totally fun. I’ve been doing it since about 1968. I’ve done it on everything from a 5’8" twin fin to my current 7’4" rounded pin tri-fin (longest board I’ve ridden since '73). I’m convinced that it’s one of those right brain/left brain things, because when I switch to regular foot,the waves look different. Like when you were first learning and you didn’t know where to look. It feels “new”. Here’s how to learn: On a backside wave that you’re pretty sure you’re going to make, take off backside, do your first turn off the bottom, then go up the face and switch as you unweight at the highpoint of your arc. Do this a couple of times a day, and after a while, you won’t spaz out or trip over your leash. Keep it fun-you’ll have some hilarious wipeouts, I guarantee! I’ve started to stand up switched recently and it’s another set of skills, so I think it’s good to do it in stages. The Big Secret: The steeper the wave is, the faster you’re moving and the more stable your board will be. In the tube is easier than on the shoulder, but don’t tell anybody-you’ll impress the hell out of them! George

ive been working on surfing goofy…not easy for me! Ive see joel T do it.

Another excellent switch-footer was Butch Van Artsdalen. His skill was depicted in a segment of the movie, Endless Summer, at Pipeline. He would do random acts of fantastic switch-foot work, at the bottom and the top of the wave- very progressive for his era. I guess you could say he was the “Jimi Hendrix” of surfing for that time period.