Surfing Vancouver Island  

The Layback Snap - Pete Devries surfing trick tips  

Pete Devries surfing trick tips
PD's Trick Tips       

By Pete Devries

PD's Trick Tips
Backside Roundhouse
Frontside Carving 360
Frontside Snap
Pumping on a Frontside Wave
Frontside Bottom Turn
Frontside Cutback
Frontside Roundhouse
Frontside Floaters
Frontside off the Lip
Frontside Air Reverse
Frontside Air
Speed on a Backside Wave
Backside Bottom Turn
Backside Floaters
Backside Air
Backside Re-entry
Backside Air Reverse
Layback Snap

surfing trick tips from one of Canada's top competitive surfers

The Layback Snap

Laybacks are one of my favourite moves because they are so unpredictable.

You never know what will happen. You could kick your tail out the back and fall right away; or you could hang on with one foot and pull the best move of your life. There are a few keys, but you just have to go with the flow, and trust yourself and the wave on your recovery.

Approach the section on your forehand with speed. You can either do laybacks on steep sections or on closeouts that arenít bowling too much.

You want about as much speed as you would for a little frontside air. Start your bottom turn earlier than you would if you were going to hit the lip to get to the lip before it breaks. A 50 to 70 degree angle is what you want.

Stay low, focus on the section, and get ready to push your back leg out.

You want to start laybacks early so you donít kick your fins out the back, and loose control. Half way up the wave is a good place to initiate the turn. Initialize the layback by leaning back, sticking your back arm in the water and pushing as hard as you can on your back leg. You want this to be a smooth motion. Your arm will serve as a pivot point and give you stability through the turn. Donít just kick you tail out of the water with all the power you can because you will loose control. Push hard through the turn with your back foot to throw buckets out the back while still in control. You wonít be able to see to much once your tail has kicked out and youíre laying back in the wash so you just have to go on feeling. Hold on!

Donít give up at this point because sometimes miracles can happen. Even if youíre hanging on with one toe try to make it. Once your board has turned as far as possible try to pull it back towards you and under your body. If you choose the right section to do a layback on the wave will help you get back up, but having a strong core and stomach muscles will help. The longer you wait to get up the harder it will be. Getting your board close to you by pulling with your feet and bending your knees combined with using the wave against your back will get you to your feet. Ride out of the wash with style and look for the next section.

Layback snaps are a tricky move. A lot of trial and error goes into learning them, but when you finally get lucky and land one it will all be worth it. Slater and AI are the best in the game at laybacks, so watch them for inspiration. Do your sit-ups too.


  1. Start your bottom turn early to get to the section before it breaks.
  2. Start the turn by leaning back, sticking your trailing arm in the water, and pushing hard on your back leg.
  3. Hold on once you're laying back in the wash.
  4. Pull your board towards you with your feet and use the wave against your back to get to your feet.
  5. Ride away clean.

Peter Devries   I'll be back in a while with another of PD's Trick Tips, and until then I'll be surfing and traveling.

Suggest the next trick or send me some feedback.

an Interview with Peter Devries

Start your bottom turn early

lean back

stick your trailing arm in the water

push hard on your back leg. Hold on

Pull your board towards you with your feet

use the wave against your back to get to your feet

Ride away clean