With a fast-approaching end-section closing out in front of you, you have two choices:
Yeah, I thought so. Let's go with the latter, shall we? If you want to learn how to do a closeout re-entry to end that wave on a high note, then heed these tips, snag your shred stick, and give it a go the next time it's firing.
For those that don't know, a closeout re-entry is a type of maneuver performed off the lip of a closing wave. As a surfer rides down the line, and the section in front crashes towards them, they will use this powerful end-section to finalize the wave by entering a bottom turn, bouncing their board off of the lip (essentially perpendicular to the wave face), and landing back into the whitewash towards the flats.
In competitive surfing, this is a competitor's last chance to finalize the wave with an end-maneuver that fully embodies speed, power, flow, and variety to wow the judges. And for us everyday surfers, it's a turn that will have you pumping your fist with excitement as you fearlessly complete the wave with style and progression.
The truth is that a closeout re-entry isn't easy. It takes some guts and serious balance to throw your board right into a breaking lip, but once you get it down, you won't find closeouts to be so bad anymore.
Understanding when to perform this trick on a wave is vital, but the good news is that it's honestly pretty easy to eye the ideal section. When you're riding down the line, pretty much any closeout coming towards you offers the opportunity.
If you notice the lip ahead of you beginning to break in the opposite direction of which you are currently riding, then get ready to execute the following tips to smack that lip.
However, a closeout that happens in the same direction that you ride versus one that is coming towards you is not the ideal section. You need a small portion of open face to hit the lip, and with this, you need the wave to break far ahead of and towards you in the opposite direction that you ride.
After you've noticed the closeout ahead, you have to time your closeout re-entry perfectly to avoid a ride in the washing machine. You need just enough time to execute a steep bottom turn to reach the top of the wave before it fully closes, so always be sure to initiate that bottom turn a few seconds before reaching the breaking lip. Understand that your timing is affected by both your direction and speed and the direction and speed of the wave. Watch the lip closely with your eyes, and pinpoint your target on the lip to time it right.
Waves are powerful, especially closeout sections, and you need to match this power with your own power through speed. If you have the time, try and give yourself a few final, powerful pumps to build as much speed as possible, thus transitioning your speed into your closeout re-entry to promote balance and execution of the maneuver.
On your final pump, placing more weight on your front foot, trim from the top of the wave to the bottom for a last jolt of speed as you then enter your bottom turn.
Need some help with pumping? Take a peek at the tips contained within "How to Generate Speed on a Surfboard".
A solid bottom turn is essential when learning how to do a closeout re-entry.
Use your last burst of speed and your timing to initiate a deep bottom turn. Your goal is to reach the top of the wave with just enough time to begin your directional change simultaneous to the wave breaking. Try to draw this "U" shape with your eyes to best understand when and where to execute the bottom turn with the understanding that you need to reach the lip just in front of where it breaks.
If you need to work on your bottom turn, visit our article "How to Bottom Turn" for some advice.
When you reach the top of the wave, compress your body by bending your knees and lowering your center of gravity.
To begin your turn, aim and twist your shoulders in the direction you plan to go- with the lip towards the beach. You are basically throwing yourself and your board into the lip but doing so with control.
Follow this direction with your arms and head as you look towards the beach, and use your back foot to promote this directional change further.
As your board comes into contact with the lip, press hard against the lip to maintain this pressure. Your body will lean backward, and your surfboard will begin to tilt on its rail as if you are flattening your board against the lip through your pressure.
As you come off the lip, try to eye your landing. This will allow you to time the impact correctly and will also ensure that your head is pointed in the right direction, keeping your body centered above your board as it shifts back onto its fins.
One of the most challenging aspects of learning how to do a closeout re-entry is the landing, as the lip will jolt and buck your body. The lower you are, the better you can transition yourself back onto the top of the wave and your board without getting thrown off.
Keep your legs flexed through the entirety of the turn, and use your strength to power your way back onto the flats. As you eye your landing, absorb the impact by bending your knees as the bottom of the board makes contact with the water. Place some weight on the tail pad during touchdown to avoid your nose digging into the water.
What good is a closeout re-entry without a claim?! If you nail it, claim it!