how to improve landing in surfing

How’s yer landing? 

I’ll come onto the importance of jumping in as a training intervention in surfing, but first you need to walk before you can run.

Or in this case, land before you can jump!

You might not realise it, but you are constantly ‘landing’ on your board when wave riding.  

Whether it’s landing a big air or a floater (for those of us who can actually do that), or even just dropping back down the face of a wave as you prepare for a bottom turn.

In each of those scenarios you need to be able to safely and effectively absorb landing forces and reduce time to stabilisation (📘 Forsyth et al, 2020).  

In other words, you need to be able to STIFFEN on landing and resist the urge to crumple into a ball! 

Don’t Confuse Stiffness With Being Rigid

You won’t lose your ‘flow’ and dynamic ability to react to the changing conditions of the wave. 

Far from it in fact, solid landing mechanics will IMPROVE your ability to absorb, transfer and reproduce some of the landing forces in your next manouvre.  

It’s basically free energy!


If you’re new to jumping variations, ‘Snapdowns’ are a great place to start learning effective landing mechanics.

If you’re already jumpin’ around, then the same principles apply:


Decelerate rapidly on landing, catching yourself in a shallow squat position (obviously the depth will change with jump / drop height) and ‘stick’ it (hold for 1-2 seconds)


If you were looking in a mirror, your hips, knees and ankles should be stacked on top of each other

Start dialling in your landing mechanics by dropping snapdowns into your main session, or your warm up prior to any lower body work.  You can progress as per the below.


Bilateral Snapdown ➡️ Split Stance Snapdown ➡️ Unilateral Snapdown ➡️ Squat Jump Onto Box ➡️ CMJ Onto Box

Or you could just remove any guesswork and just join the ‘Strong Surf Club’ programme.  But hey, it’s your call.