Team Fortress 2

Team Fortress 2

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Surfing - A Beginner's Guide
By Kvathe
A basic guide to surfing and airstrafing
 
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Intro
I want to start by saying that there are plenty of people far better at surfing than me, and far more qualified to make this guide. However, it's been a few months since guides were introduced and nobody else has bothered to make one.

Which I think is a shame--surfing is fun.

So, what is surfing?

I'm not going to go into this much, if you've found this guide it's probably because you've already had an encounter with surfing in some form or another. It's a custom gamemode originally conceived on cs 1.6 played on special maps in which you kind of slide around an obstacle course of sorts. If you are completely new I'd advise looking up some youtube videos, or watch mine at the end of this guide.

note: there are many surf tutorials on youtube as well, but in my experience they aren't very comprehensive.

To find a surf server to play on, just go to the server list and search for maps with the surf_ prefix.

Movement
In the past I've heard many people say that the only surf tutorial you need is just this: d /\ a

What this means is that while on the right side of a ramp you should hold 'a' and while on the left side you should hold 'd'. Under no circumstances should you be holding forward. Holding down these directional keys allows you to kind of slide around on that face of the ramp.



In order to move up and down the face of the ramp, you look left or right, depending which side you're surfing on. Looking into the ramp will move you upwards while looking away will allow you to slide down. In most situations looking up or down is unnecessary, but if you really need to make a steep jump off the end of a ramp you can quickly look into the ramp and upwards.



For the purposes of this guide I will assume that you are always on the right side of a ramp. This will make the concepts much easier to explain, but remember that everything is opposite on the other side.

Now that you know how to move it's important to learn where. For the most part, surf maps are all about speed. The best way for you to gain speed is to land high on a ramp and then slide down to the bottom before jumping to the next one. When you reach the end of a ramp, slide your view left towards the face of the slope. This shifts your momentum upward so that you fly off with enough height to catch the next ramp. Don't overdo it though; flying too high causes you to lose speed.



Alright, you've traversed your first ramp and you're in the air. Now it's time to talk about airstrafing.
Airstrafing
While ramp movement is important, good airstrafing is key to surfing well. It's also the only part of surfing that translates into actual gameplay, helping you rocketjump and surf explosions with greater accuracy.

Airstrafing is basically moving while in midair. In order to curve left, look to the left. In order to curve right, look to the right. However, you must also hold down the directional key associated with your movement. For instance, if you are making a left turn in the air, you must hold down 'a' while looking to the left and vice versa for a right turn.



If you turn too sharply in the air it will cause you to lose speed, so try to keep your movement as smooth as possible.

Landing hard on a ramp also reduces your speed, so practiced surfers will slide onto the face as lightly as possible, moving their vision to the right as they land. (Or to the left on the left side). Watch lots of surf videos and try to emulate good technique--but always understand the reason behind it.


(minimal impact)

Once you understand these first two sections you're almost ready to try surfing on your own. However, there are exceptions to the d /\ a rule: curves.
Curves
Keeping in mind that we are on the right side of the ramp, there are two kinds of ramp curves: outward curves, that curve to the left; and inward curves, that curve to the right.

An outward curve can be traversed in much the same manner as a standard ramp. Just hold 'a' and look slowly to the left as it curves. Try the same technique on an inward curve however and you're likely to slide off the top of the ramp.

Inward curves are trickier. If you are barely skating by with minimal speed you'll want to treat them the same as a regular ramp: hold 'a' and try to move downward until you reach the end. However, if you have a proper amount of speed then you have to hold the opposite key, 'd'. Looking left and right will still move you up and down the ramp, respectively, but it's more difficult to keep your balance. At the end of the curve when you want to shift up in preparation for the jump to the next ramp it is sometimes advisable to switch back to holding 'a' so that you can move upwards and gain enough height for the gap. The image below illustrates what an inward curve looks like while on the right side of a ramp. I am holding 'd' for most of the slope but I switch to 'a' at the end.



Below is a video of me on surf_utopia that displays my keystrokes as I surf. Take notice of how I move slightly away from the ramp before landing.

Servers
It is worthwhile to note that there are generally two kinds of surf servers: combat surf and skill surf. Combat surfing usually has an easier map rotation, and if you fall off the ramp then you are transported to jail, where you remain until you die. The jail is generally a cluster♥♥♥♥ so that doesn't take too long. Reaching more difficult areas of the surf stage will send you to progressively higher levels of jail, where you can easily pick off players in the levels below. If you don't like waiting around to die you can type 'bind (key) kill' in console, and then press it to respawn at the top.

Occasionally you may encounter a button on one of these maps. Type 'bind (key) +use' in console to press buttons like this if shooting them has no effect.

The other type of server is called skill surf. When you fail on these servers you are teleported back to the start of the level/stage without paying any jail-time. While they are more forgiving in this sense, these servers also tend to feature harder surf maps, so combat surf is usually better for beginners. Skill surf servers also have a mod that enables you to bhop, or skip off surfaces without losing much speed. Just hold down crouch and jump at the same time to use this feature. It is usually a good idea to hold those two keys at all times while in a skill surf server. The prime example of this sort of server is reSurfed.

example of bhopping:

Conclusion
This guide gives you the basic information on how to surf, but much like real surfing you can't just read a guide and become an instant expert. Becoming a skilled surfer will take time and a good deal of patience, especially at first. If you're stuck on a level don't get frustrated, just take a break and maybe look up a video of the map or spectate someone to get a feel for how to beat it. And last of all, always remember to have good music playing while you surf!







* If you have any information you think I should add or any improvements I could make to this guide I'd be glad to hear them, just leave a comment or message me on steam *
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82 Comments
Larvix Aug 10 @ 5:34pm 
Okay, thanks, I thought so.
Kvathe  [author] Aug 9 @ 10:30pm 
@lasix89 If you're coming to a halt on the ramp then you just don't have enough speed. If you're sliding sideways off the ramp then you're probably doing something wrong. Try turning into the ramp more in order to gain height.
Larvix Aug 8 @ 7:06pm 
@Kyathe, I am not holding W as I surf, but it still doesnt work, do I not have enough speed or something? when it comes to the incline, I dont really go up the incline, I just stay at the same level.
Kvathe  [author] Aug 5 @ 7:47pm 
@lasix89 make sure that you aren't holding W as you surf
Larvix Jul 29 @ 8:09pm 
So, I've been playing on surf_utopia and on the second ramp I always slide right off the bottom of it when it starts to go up a little bit, is there something I'm doing wrong?
Neowise Apr 16, 2017 @ 1:45am 
didnt notice this was made for tf2 O.o but works for cs too
Veggie Ice Cream™ Mar 30, 2017 @ 2:14am 
This will really help! <3
Maxim_S Aug 30, 2016 @ 7:17am 
Still better than rocket jumping.
gay cowboy eating pudding Aug 25, 2016 @ 5:59pm 
more like leafyisqueer joke
PSquiddy Jul 8, 2016 @ 1:48pm 
LeafyIsHere joke