Why do a soul arche while riding waves?

I’ve always been quite curious.

When is the appropriate time to do a soul arch? Claiming a noseride? In trim on a shortboard? When you’re in the curl?

The soul arch is an enigma to me.

Please educate a neophyte like myself.

Perfect pose for when any other sailor is straightening out, ready to belly home on his board. You soul arch to show your complete disdain for anything that remotely resembles chickening out.

Cause it’s fun! And hard to do in the right situation.

bottom turning into the tube.

Well said LeeDD, and it feels good too. Submit to the wave.

To add on that little bit of extra style while trimming in the pocket. Its your soul in touch with the waves soul-the power of the pocket.

terry, kye and joel fitzgerald, peter townend, donutvan frankskywriter and derek hynd have all done them during their bottom turns… to project into the tube, up into the lip or to stall / accelerate at j-bay, among other footage.

They feel good too !

and yes, a soul arch while hanging five or ten , like a nose wheelie on a skateboard, is a ‘cool’ balancing/trim move…

Lotsa possibilities, really… the backhand ones Rabbit did in the tube at Pipe [looking back] were among my favourites…see the video ‘Free Ride’…


Soul arch? Maybe this was before my time… hahaha Can you guys explain this? For some reason I’m drawn to old board and styles and the whole feel surfing seemed to have before my time. I’m trying to learn all that I can about my obsession.

In my humble opinion, the most appropriate time to “do” a soul arch is when it just happens out of neccessity. Maybe the lip is starting to throw out at your head, but you don’t want to change your line. Or if you weren’t doing one you’d be dragging your face, instead of just your hand.


bottom turning into the tube.

The nail has been hit on the head…


However, there doesn’t have to be a tube… just any nice clean sizable wall is gooooood!

Great feeling…

Check out the scene in Litmus where they show Joel Fitzgerald, and Derick Hynd both doing soul arch bottom turns one right after the other with similar style, you’ll get the idea

I don’t think a soul arch is ever “needed”, in today’s modern surfing. It’s a very rare occasion that I see someone pull one off where it actually adds to the beauty of the turn or the ride. There’s a very fine line between a nice arch and a lot of kooky body jive. I also think the majority of people who do them don’t do them well and the reason they’re attempting them is to make up for the fact that they can’t turn the board effectively. Also, to do one on a modern thruster always looks a little dicey too me. The original concept (I believe) was to create more drive on the single or twinzer board through total body surfing, it also ended up looking “cool”. It was done more out of necessity that aesthetics. Where on a 6’0" thruster it just doesn’t fit the bill.

Lighten up. Everyone has some image they think is bitchin in surfing and try to do it when they can. Most of the people I see out in the water seem to have grown up watching Kelly Slater demolish different parts of perfectly beautiful waves. Or other people are using waves as launch ramps. I like watching them too. They’re good surfers and are hopefully having fun when not fighting over turf. But for me the image that sticks in my mind is Gerry Lopez subtley bending and slouching into one of those double OH Pipe barrels from 5 Summer Stories. It’s why we all got completely rediculous narrow pintails to surf Ca beach break. If you feel like archin do it


Hey, I am light. That’s my opinion on the subject. You can disagree. It’s a free and beautiful country. Why’s everyone so touchy on this site?

It’s pretty sad to see young ones who don’t know anything about the history of their pasttime. So many good videos/movies to learn from like Litmus, 5 Summer Stories, Big Wednesday(PT), and newer ones…

I remeber when it used to be called a dance where your body reflected what energy/emotion you were getting back from the wave… Today it’s all about shredding, destroying, gouging, claiming and in many ways disrespecting the gift. But that’s what skateboarding has brought to the water.

True doing the pose on a 6’0" is a little awkward but I smile when I see the lines Donovan and Rasta seem find with their little chippies…

So if you are really in tune with your equipment, your ability and the wave’s energy you’ll express the joy when it’s there. Look at some of Bruce’s backside barrels I swear there’s a bit of soul arch in there some where.

Hey, hey, wait a minute. I think everyone might have misunderstood my post. I didn’t say that soul arch’s were bad. I said that soul arch’s and the modern short board very rarely work together. It takes a hell of a good, smooth and stylish surfer to pull it off (Rasta, Fitsgerald, ect.). But more often then not it ends up looking very awkward and doesn’t look “correct”. If you are riding a single fin then the flow of the board is more in tune with arching. I think often times that soul arch’s are forced on thrusters and not a natural flow. I am not a shredder, destroyer, gouger… not at all. I have a lot of boards and I ride all of them as often as I can, from a 5’10" twin keel fish to a 6’8" single fin pin, a 6’3" thruster and a 9’ 6" noserider. I’m not uneducated about surfing, or surf films either. I’ve seen all of the films you’ve listed and many others from the 60’s-70’s and the modern films too. So go soul arch you soul archer’s. Just make it nice and don’t be wiggle ass.

My answer is its a fallback to the 50’s and early 60’s generation of surfers who took a big interest in bullfighting. Matadors (Manolete is a name I remember from doing a book report on the subject) would show their mastery and complete control of the confused, exhausted, wounded, defeated bull by walking up to it and casually leaning against its head or taking the tip of the bulls horns into his teeth. The very first “The Surfer” magazine has images of Mickey Muñoz doing the famous “El Quasimoto”, the “El Telephono” etc on waves - wave-riding versions of matadors moves. So I’m thinking the soul arch (the “el-soul-arch-o”?) is a slightly watered down 70’s version of a bullfighters macho show of dominance.

yep manolete rules the hearts and minds of conquistadors de la playita, the groin poping hip thrust to shove the board through the impending section and overcome the resistance of the falling whitewater is the functional realitty…SO_LARCH is a parody packaged by the bustin down the door club to repackage surfing to get their pictures in the movies and on gum cards and spend sponsors money…the Larch… ambrose… feel good ?

Thanks for everyone’s input!

I think that flow and transition have everything to do with an elegant soul arch.

Maybe ‘soul arch’ isn’t exactly the right term, but some extra body english can make a difficult maneuver look much more elegant, and be, simultaneously, functional.

Like a sweeping bottom turn into a hollow section, or a deep fade, or slingshoting around a white water section. I think that the more subtle the soul arch, the more aethetic. Pulling off a soul arch without anyone noticing- that’s the shit.

With regards to longboard noseriding, it can enhance style, but all too often can look silly, distracting, and quite contrived. Especially those poor souls that try to claim a noseride on a longboard 2 1/2 feet from the nose. Well, that’s another story… it’s an awkward sudden display of spontaneous stoke for them, but it sure makes me wince.

Herbie Fletcher- The master of the sideslip boogie.

Does he rip on a longboard compared to kids a 1/3 his age? Yes.

Does he dominate? Yes.

Is he ahead of his time? Yes.

Soul arches? Mandatory.

Beautiful? You tell me.

Is the soul arch outdated?

Is the soul arch considered for kooks only?

Is this pleasing to the eye and functional?

Why do a soul arch?

Fitz, Lopez, Townend.