The Biggest Secret in Surfing is the Power Zones
The most visible power or energy zone on a wave comes from generating speed off the top of a wave, or as gravity pulls you down the face.
From Snapper to J-bay you can watch surfers throwing their weight off the top and tapping into the energy of the pitching lip, but how often do you see surfers tapping into the sucking trough around where the lip is landing.
The best example is of Kelly Slater at J-bay. His amazing redirects off the bottom shows how on the worlds fastest right hander he thinks beyond the obvious top power zone and adds a dimension to his surfing that we struggle to comprehend until we look closely. On casual observation he just looks like the worlds best surfer at work on the worlds best right hand point break.
On closer scrutiny we see that his repertoire is based around tapping into BOTH POWER ZONES and the result is a dimension to his surfing that only very few posses.
Connecting Energy Zones For Speed, Power & Flow
The Importance of the Bottom Power Zone
If you look at a wave closely, most waves have a top and a bottom power zones.
The bottom power zone is vital as it is the first part of the wave to connect with the reef or sand bank. Its this interaction where the wave bends and gets its direction and speed from.
Water draws off the bottom and is pulled up to the top. The faster the draw off the bottom the more hollow the wave.
Pictures: Shayne Nienaber