Clean Blunts – Learning to really use those edges
Way back in the day using your edges properly was the big difference between a spin and a blunt. Then with the introduction of the spud boats and the butt-bouncers a lot of paddlers slowly started to forget about their edges simply because bouncing flat was way easier.
Essentially the Clean Blunt is a Blunt done without the aid of a paddle stroke to pull the boat around. It’s the ultimate test for good edge-to-edge use. Not only do you need good edge transitioning to allow the boat enough height to complete its rotation but you need a good edge transition to get the rotation going in the first place.
Learning to use your edges effectively and efficiently is also the key ingredient when searching for that next level in aerial amplitude.
How to Clean Blunt (For the sake of all the examples we’ll focus on doing a “right” clean blunt):
Step One: Setup your move
When lining up a Clean Blunt you’ll want to be facing not directly down the wave but just towards the surfers left shoulder. Being in this position will help your acceleration once you drop your left edge to start the move.
Step 2: Accelerate
Lean forward slightly making the boat accelerate down the wave. Depending on how high up the wave you are you can even put in an extra stroke or two to speed yourself up even more. This helps to loosen the boat and release your edges.
Whether or not you’ve put those extra paddle strokes in or not you’ll always want that extra boost right before your edge transition. To do this, right at the end of your pass down the wave do a quick stroke on your left hand side, just between your ankle and your thigh. Doing this will also help to weight the ‘left’ side of your boat more in the next step creating a harder carve right at the crux of the move.
Step 3: Aggressive edge initiation
As you take your forward acceleration stroke aggressively lean even more on to your ‘left’ edge focusing more on weighing down just behind you ‘left’ ass cheek rather then directly next to your hips. This only builds up more pressure under the edge waiting for release.
Step 4: Explosive Edge transition
Timing to your edge transition is key but really only gets better with practice. The idea is to feel right when your boat has the maximum amount of pressure built up under its’ edge. At this point you aggressively snap your hips from one side to the other.
HOT TIP: Instead of just snapping ‘directly’ from one side to the other focus more on a diagonal hip-snap. Try snapping from your ‘left’ ass cheek over to your ‘right’ thigh. This will project your boat further forward and start the Clean Blunt rotation.
Step 5: Lead with your body, not your boat
With this move because you’re not using a paddle at all your body needs to do all the work. It’s important to remember once your boat releases off the water to lead the move with your body. You can get use to doing this by extending your arms out and forward (left hand leading) as if you were punching your body forward.
Step 6: Spot your landing
As your boat is completing its rotation and coming back down it can really help to take a quick look back down at the water and spot your landing. Just like catching a ball if you keep your eye on the water your body and boat are more likely to follow and land where you want them to land.
Step 7: Recovery Stroke
If you want to stay retentive recovery strokes are really important for pretty much all freestyle moves. When you finish your clean blunt make it a habit to straight away plant your ‘left’ paddle blade at your hips and put in a hard back stroke pushing you back down into the wave.
Well that’s it! The biggest test of the Clean Blunt is committing to not putting down your paddle half way through the move. So don’t be afraid of crashing and burning a few times while learning, just have fun out there with it!
Article by Anthony Yap, Images by Patrick Camblin
This article was first published in Issue 2 of CUMEC Magazine, April 2007