Once the most progressive move in bodyboarding, the ARS is a combination of two maneuvers: the air roll and forward spin.
An ability to complete both these separate moves on a regular basis is a good place to start.
A wave with a decent pitching lip is required although the ARS’s can be performed as the wave closes out, they almost always look better when landed back onto a clean shoulder.
The bottom turn is key element in any bodyboarding maneuver – it provides the speed and projection required for the next step. Don’t turn too far in front of the wave as you will lose speed and bog down. You can see that even at the early stage of his turn, Rob is eyeing up the section he wants to hit. It’s important to watch your ramp carefully, as hitting it too early will send you off the back and too late will earn you a lip in the face. It’s also interesting to note how far forward Rob is positioned on the board in the first shot, with his head level with the nose. This is to gain maximum speed, which translates into projection later on.
As he reaches the lip Rob tenses his body and flattens the slick of his board to the face of the wave to gain maximum projection. After launching out of the lip and beginning the air roll part of the move, keep your eyes open. If you have connected with the lip properly as it pitched you will naturally be thrown into a rolling motion. When you have gone past the apex of the roll (i.e. you are on the way down), initiate the spin by throwing your head inwards towards the face of the wave. You can see in the photos how Rob’s back is arched and his head is looking in the direction he wants to go, forcing the rest of his body to follow; a fundamental principal of any bodyboarding maneuver. The speed from his bottom turn means he has projected up and out of the wave as desired.
Rob’s board is now in a horizontal spinning position, he has attempted to cross his legs for added style and function. At this point it’s important to centre your body on the board and hold on tight for landing. Keep your legs lifted or you will come unstuck when you hit the wave’s face again. In bigger bowly waves it’s possible to complete the full spin in the air, but often you will have to complete the last part of the rotation on the face or in the whitewater. Your momentum should keep you spinning as you land; the whitewater will also help push you around if you remember to keep looking into the spin. A good tip is to try looking back around at your fins.
You might feel pretty disorientated after all that rotating so get your bearings and, as you come back onto the shoulder, quickly re-engage your inside rail with the wave’s face and get back in a trim position