How to do a Tumble Turn

So here goes my first instructional post.  First, the disclaimer.  I’m still working on this trick.  I understand how to do it, just having some issues with the execution.

The tumble turn can be broken down into 3 basic parts.  Sitting down, spinning and standing back up.  There is more to it than those 3 simple steps though.  I would say one thing to “master” before you start doing tumble turns is the deep water start.  The last portion of the start (planting your feet and standing up) is pretty much the last step of the tumble turn.  So be good and comfortable doing deep water starts before you start on this.  So now on to the more details on how to do this trick.

First, you need to “sit down”.  That isn’t the best technical description, but it flows of the tounge easily.  Obviously you start out in a typical barefooting position.  I’ll squat down to “softly” drop my but onto the water.  Then I’ll rock back so I’m sliding along on the small of my back, all the while keeping the handle of the rope in by my abs.

Next step, as I call it, is the spin.  This is the meaty part of the trick.  Done right, this part is very easy according to everyone that has worked with me on my tumble turns.  You can spin either direction, which ever direction makes you comfortable.  I’ll describe spinning my feet around to the right (towards the driver’s side of the boat when your feet are pointing the direction you are moving.)  To initiate the spin, all you need to do is move the handle from the middle of your abs to the left side of your abs.  This motion is only moving the handle a few inches and you want to keep the handle at the same level on your abs, right along where your belly button is.  Using a typical wide barefooting handle, the inside edge of the handle may be just past your centerline.

Now your spinning.  A small thing to keep in mind is to keep you leading edge up.  This doesn’t take much to do, basically you just don’t want dig in your shoulder or something.

As you continue to spin and your head makes it way to leading your body on the water you’ll need to move the handle from the left side of your body to your right side, concentrating on keeping the handle near your belly button.  This simple motion keeps your body spining.

Finally, as your head moves throught the leading position and your feet begin to make their way to the “front” you’ll move the handle from the right side of your abs to the center of abs.  This motion stops your spin.

Now were on to the last step, “standing up.” You’re in a pretty typical barefooting positon, just plant your feet and stand back up.

AS you can tell from this description, the main portion of the trick involves moving the handle from the center of your abs, to the left, then to your right of your abs and then back to the center.  It really is that simple.

The issue I have problems with is keeping the handle down near my abs.  Here’s a picture of my typical issue…

Handle is not by my waist

As you can see, the handle got a way from waist and is above my head.  Needless to say, my spin stopped and I just dragged along in this position, exhausting myself.

Not really sure how this happened, but it makes for a good picture.  Almost looks like I’m trying to break dance or something.  This initiated as me trying to a tumble turn, but some how I rolled over on to my side…

break dancing?

Finally, to see a tumble turn in action, you can catch this short video of 7.  He definately has the spinning portion down.

7 Tumbles

He needs to work on stopping the spinning.

3 thoughts on “How to do a Tumble Turn

  1. to get that tumble, never ever let your arms out straight, always keep them bent, even in a tumble up, pull the handle in so you ride on your forearms, then roll and pull the handle into your waist/hip, think of rotating the handle in a circle over your belly and groin area,(that will keep your shoulder from catching) your knees should be together with your feet together and the knees should be pointed away from the direction you are turning, that will keep your leading hip up and stop it from catching, then you will spin easily, do not put your feet down till you are facing forwards completely, reaching a foot out there is asking for a blown out knee


  2. Thanks for the commets. I realize that I need to keep the handle down near my waist. It is something that ALL of my friends continually point out to me. The lakes just thawed hear in southern Wisconsin so I’ll be hitting the water very soon and trying tumble turns again soon. Just need to get back into footing shape (and my wetsuit… it might be a little snug for a while!) Thanks for stopping by!


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