CJ Hobgood applying Chris Gallager's surfing tips to a helpless Lowers left. Photo: ASP

CJ Hobgood applying Chris Gallager’s surfing tips to a helpless Lowers left. Photo: ASP

Three Quick Surfing Tips From Pro Surf Coach Chris Gallagher

Surfing better today is as easy as one, two, three

A few years ago I had the fortune of going to the Gold Coast of Australia to cover the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro events. With what seemed like the entire surfing world hunkered down and ripping in the tiny little town of Coolangatta, the inspiration to surf better was all around. But just what to do? I've been surfing for more than 25 years, and while I may think I surf good, there's always room for improvement no matter who you are. And besides, surfing better makes surfing more fun.

Anyway, I was just about to paddle out at Duranbah when I saw former pro surfer turned coach Chris Gallagher filming two of his clients, C.J. and Damien Hobgood. "What's up Gally? Dude, gimme the quick course, what can I do right now to surf better?" He immediately threw out three really good tips, which just about everyone one of us can benefit from… ——Justin Coté

Stand On Your Tail
Today's surfboards aren't designed for you to place your back foot anywhere but on the tail. With all the intricate vees and contours shapers are putting from the fins back, you're doing yourself and your high-performance board a disservice by having your back foot not over that part of the board. Basically, that last eight inches of your board—directly over your cluster of fins—is the sweet spot.

Surf Through Your Hips
Use your core to rip. You shouldn't be leading your turns with your arms; it looks ugly and has no substance behind it, meaning you'll be surfing weak. Instead, focus on using your hips as a swivel point; the spray you'll be chucking will speak volumes.

Be Patient
Take only what the wave offers you and wait for a proper section to bash. Tap into the flow of the wave and look down the line to see what it's going to do. You'll see a lot of guys try to force maneuvers into a section or spot that it doesn't fit into. Don't force things—let them come to you.

With these three little tips in mind, I paddled out and had a hell time and honestly surfed better than if I hadn't spoken with Gally for three minutes. The trick is to keep repeating the steps in your head while you’re surfing; stand up, put your back foot over your fins, and let 'er rip.