Friday, April 03, 2009

Cutback or top turn?

Inspired by those comments in the last post, I wrote this reply that than I upgraded to the status of post. It was a comment, but I decided to make a post of it. Comments and posts. Two different things. Just like cutbacks and top turns....

First, let's learn what is and how to do a cutback in surfing.

Now let's watch this video. Despite the fact that, in my opinion, he's got one of the best cutbacks out there, whoever edited this video of Joel Parkinson, decided to only put two proper cutties of him: at sec 54 and at min 3:00.
All the other turns at the top of the wave he does are TOP TURNS. No matter how much he turns the board in them (90, 180, 270, 360 degrees...), they're still TOP TURNS, because he's not driving his board back to the white water and then hitting the white water, like in a cutback.

You guys with me?

No, let's check what windsurfers mean when they say cutback. There's four clips in the cutback category on Continentseven (got to select them in the central column under the first video).

Allright, let's watch a few better ones.
As Anon suggests, one of the best windsurfing cutback is performed by Jason Polakow. Couldn't agree more, if he only called it top turn.
Let me take you guys to this page, where I randomly ended on looking for "windsurfing cutbacks".
See that first photo? "Windsurfer doing a nice cutback"... yeah, right.
Scroll further down on that page, there's a 5 min clip that I'm embedding hereafter. In the first two minutes, the clips features our friend JP demolishing waves at Hookipa, Cabo Verde, Jaws, Lanes and specially Backyards (my favorite section of The windsurfing movie).
NONE of those AMAZING, UNBELIEVABLE, UNREAL, SICK turns are cutbacks. They're top turns. Not better or worse than a cutback, just top turns.

Cutback has been a windsurfing term for as long as I can remember and it has always been misused.
Excuse me if I think different (and I'm precise).

Enough of that, here's yesterday's photos slideshow.

Da hell is that publicity now? Ok, now I'm really done with Slide!

Check photo 8. See how low Boujmaa has the boom? Imagine it three inches higher. He couldn't do the hand drag...

Well, it was another 4.5 and windswell fun day at Hookipa today. Dave was webcasting live on and he will do the same the whole weekend. Probably around 2 or 3 hawaii time.
Hopefully he will stay a few days longer, because the forecast from Monday on is very promising.
Check Friday night's weather map.

Those two puppies will send some big waves. Uncle Pat predicts an extra-large swell out of the storm on the left. Unfortunately at the beginning it will overlap with the moderate sets sent by the one on the right and that will make the conditions particularly difficult and dangerous. I predict plenty gear on the rocks. Not mine, since I'll sail somewhere else.

Love life.


Dave said...

GP, I couldn't agree more. Cut backs are not top turns. JP does the sickest "off the lip" , "off the top" or "snap" you can possibly do. I don't think he's ever been far out in front enough to do a "cutback".

Anonymous said...

Don't confuse cutbacks with roundhouse cutbacks. A roundhouse is more of what you are describing. ... But more precisely, look at the word itself- "cutback". Let's break it down to "cut" (as in "carve") and "back" (as in "opposite direction"). So, any directional changing carve is a cutback. ... "Top turn" is just used to describe any turn at the top of the wave. So a cutback is a type of topturn.

But even if you think of "cutback" as only referring to roundhouse cutbacks, windsurfers still do them. The first top turn that polakow does in that video you posted is a sick roundhouse. I'd like to see a surfer try to emulate that much speed and spray.

Anonymous said...

Learn proper English grammar before you call yourself "precise".

Nelisblog said...

Nice article GP about wtf is a cutback? I did not know for sure ;-)
BUT what if a surfer does an total new air move and names it a.... backloop. ;-)

We windsurfers wil say; "yea right that is NOT a backloop bro!"

Can we just say that different sports have same names for DIFFERENT moves?

Eric said...

I agree with you for the cutbacks, WIndsurf magazines use them too much instead saying top turn. This is two different things.

cammar said...

you're right. The reason is that windsurfers don't need to do that in order to generate speed, since they can rely on the power of the sail. They can stall sheeting out the sail, wait for the wave to get some steepness and then when that happens, they can sheet it, bottom turn and hit the lip. Surfers can do that. They got to keep moving. And roundhouse cutbacks are the way, in case the wave doesn't offer enough steepness in that particular section.

Anon 1,
I'm almost with you. Those two I pointed out of Joel P. are roundhouse cutbacks. But I think a proper cutback not only has to have the board facing back at the end, but the board had to have some backward movement (or forward movement towards the back, if you like). Otherwise for me those are slashing top turns.

OK, the first JP turn can be called a cutback (not a roundhouse), I have no problem with it. But all the others can't. My observation is that most magazines (and pro windsurfers too!) indiscriminately call cutbacks ALL top turns. Instead, as you say, cutbacks are particular top turns. And they're very rare in windsurfing.
Sorry, can't compare the amount of speed and spray between windsurfers and surfers top turns. The first ones have the sail!
Heres' a few sprayful surfing top turns anyway:
pancho sullivan
jordy smith

Weak Anon 2, weak...

Hi Nelisblog. Yes, we could. But windsurfing COMES from surfing, so I think the terminology for such a basic move should be the same.

Eric, thanks for the comment.

BTW, PLENTY surfers erroneously call their top turns cutback too!

cammar said...

Ops, I clearly meant surfers CAN'T do that in my reply to Dave.

Cookie said...

Hi Jiampaolo!
I agree with you. No comment for continentseven. Windurfers do cutback, but not as much and not as well as surfers do. Surfers do it all the time and it seems effortless...
In sideshore conditions, the sail goes completely upwind during the cutback... and that is technical because we loss speed when surfers go pretty faster.
I have a pretty cool footage contribution of Keith Teboul ripping hookipa with a cutback!
Please enjoy it!

If you search on google "white water top turn" your blog is already in first line!
You rule!!!
See you

"Anonymous said...
Learn proper" who cares what you think?

Anonymous said...

So, a longboard or a big surf board can't do cutbacks?...
from Argentina, Pepo

cammar said...

Hell yeah, Pepo!
Even I can do cutbacks on my longboard...
But, as stated in this nice article on Surfline,
"Any of us can manage a cutback of some sort -- yet this seemingly simple turn back into the heart of a wave's power is an excruciating test of form, challenging and exposing the skills of even the finest professional riders. In the hands of a master, it becomes a slashing, elegant work of art."

Stef said...

Hey man,

I agree with what your are saying, however windsurfers definitly do cutbacks...not that often but when done properly its sick...trouble is cutback is a word we dont really need hence people think its a top turn.

The reason we don't really need it is as a term is because a cutback to most of us is just a top turn into a backside snap ----- if you watch keith teboul on vimeo above its that but done straight from a top turn on a non breaking section...

loads of vids have clips of them in but no one really calls them a cutback because the word has lost its meaning!!