Clip: Jacob Vanderwork
How To: Double-Arm Stall With Shane Beschen
What doesn't want to spend more time inside?
Whether you started last week or have been at it for decades, surfers are always striving to improve their technique on a wave. Every time we paddle out, we're driven by the idea of doing something bigger, faster, or better than ever before. That's why we spend so much of our time and money on this ultimately pointless pursuit.
But without expert direction, it's difficult to improve. You can try the same finner 100 times, but if no one is there to point out your front foot's lack of movement toward the nose, you'll find yourself making the same mistake over and over again.
Enter Shane Beschen. The ex-Tour pro was at the forefront of surfing's 1990s progressive shift and even to this day, in his mid-forties, Shane is a proponent of surfing's most explosive and/or technical maneuvers. For that reason he'll be breaking down some of our sport's most intricate body movements in easily digestible Instagram clips. First off, the double-arm stall (as seen above).
From Shane's Instagram:
This is a stalling technique that we've seen a lot lately but has been around for some time.
On this wave I was a bit on the shoulder so I was using both hands to try and slow myself down as much as possible to have a chance at getting in the tube.
This is a forward technique which means that both feet and weight should be shifted forward to shorten the board and increase speed control. This technique can also be used if you're in early behind the peak to really maximize your tube time, which is basically what we all want as surfers.
I will be running some tutorials on my insta to try and provide some good insight into the different techniques of surfing. Let me know if there's anything particular you would like to see and I'll do my best to offer some good food for thought.
For clarity's sake, we thought we'd prod Shane for more details behind the double-arm drag.
Stab: Hey Shane, we love your little tutorial series. Think we could hit you with a couple more questions on the two-handed stall?
Shane: Sure, shoot!
So you mentioned that this is a :forward technique", meaning that when performing the double-arm stall your feet should be further up the board than usual, but is that something you think about consciously when you're taking off, or do you adjust your stance throughout the wave?
It depends. Sometimes you're doing turns on a wave before you go to get barreled, so you have to shuffle your feet from a turning position (back of the board) to a barrel position (in the front/middle). In the clip I used, you can see that I take off with my feet already in the front because I know I'm dropping straight into the tube. But whether or not you're gonna use a double-arm drag, I think it's always better to ride up on your board when getting barreled frontside. This effectively shortens the board and changes its midpoint, which then improves your ability to both speed up and slow down on command.
And what's the point of using two arms as opposed to one? Is it just for more... friction?
Yeah, pretty much. I like to think of it as creating more resistance or control. It also helps to keep your body tight against the wall.
How do your hands interact with the wall, exactly?
Your back arm acts like a claw, just digging into the wall to hold you in place, while your front arm pushes against the wave, sort of like if you were body surfing. They act quite differently from one another.
Who did you first see doing the double-arm stall, and who does it best nowadays?
I honestly don't remember who was the first guy I saw doing it. But I've always thought the Hobgoods did it super well--just getting so low to their board and grabbing the wall--and also John John's pretty insane at it. I love how he uses it even when he's behind the peak, so he can get as deep as possible and then release just in time for a big pump.
For people trying this at home, when exactly should they release the stall and try to make the tube?
Once again it depends on the wave. If a section looks like it's going to run out in front of you, you should release your arms and give a big pump forward once the lip has fallen in front of your nose. If you look at my wave though, because it held the same speed throughout, I could actually hold the stall to maximize my time in the tube. So there's no straight-forward answer, it's all about reading the wave you've been given.