Get Closer to the Wave
I absolutely love watching finless surfing—primarily because it forces the rider to be incredibly connected to the wave.
Without the benefit of fins, you can't enforce your will on the direction of the board with the same precision.
Shortboarders can—and often do—ignore what the wave is doing because they are incredibly efficient at generating their own speed. In that scenario, surfing becomes less about harnessing a wave's energy for forward momentum and more about a ramp for carving turns and pumping for air sections. This is not a knock—the high performance surfing is incredibly impressive, in its own right.
Finless surfing is a more delicate and connected approach to wave riding—where the rider is navigating the nuances and intricacies of the wave finding the pocket for for maximum speed.
One of my all-time favorite surfers to watch is Western Australia's Jordan Rodin:
Why the essay on finless surfing?
Because one thing you will notice about surfers fin-free surfing is that the rider spends almost the entire time in a low position—closer to the wave and with a lower center of gravity.
Compare that to your own surfing—as I often do to mine—where I find myself far too often standing stiff-legged in the middle of the board.
Think about how much more control you would have if you bent your knees, dropped your hips, lowered your center of gravity and rode closer to the wave. Finding the pocket of the wave becomes much easier. Only when you wish to do a turn or cutback do you need to stand up and use the leverage that your extended legs provide.
Even your bottom-turn can be done from a low, crouched position. Watch Nathan Adams navigate this wave fin-first by keeping his center of gravity low:
Staying low gives you more control over the tiny adjustments required for drawing the ideal line on a wave—whether or not you have the benefit of fins working for you.
So, the next time you paddle out... remember to keep your center of gravity low and get closer to the wave. You will have far more control over your board and a much more connected ride.