Zonal surfing is a term we use to help describe the process of surfing in different parts of a wave.

With a wave broken into different segments or zones, we can better describe/visualise the right way for the waves to be surfed.

Surfing in the right zones on a wave more constantly will help you to perform manoeuvres more successfully over time.


We can break down the different zones of a wave into three:

  • ZONE 1: The top third of a wave. 
  • ZONE 2: The middle third of a wave.
  • ZONE 3: The lower third of a wave.


The way a longboard is surfed - the type of lines you draw, and the zones of the wave you utilise - are very different when compared with traditional short boarding.

Lets take a look at how zonal surfing is different across both disciplines:


Short boarders are looking for three things: Speed, Power & Flow.

To tick all these boxes short boarders will drop very low on the wave, and surf vertically from top to bottom. 

Surfing vertically like this allows short boarders to perform radical turns in the pocket of the wave, whilst still maintaining speed.

Short boarders will typically utilise all three zones on a wave to harness maximum speed and drive.


The lines drawn, and the zones surfed on a longboard are very different to those on a shortboard.

Good long boarding is all about speed, style & flow, and as such require different lines to be taken.

Furthermore, nose riding in particular requires the use of very particular lines on a wave, utilising the uppermost zones of a wave - usually between zones 1 & 2.

Surfing in the right zone of the wave will create the right balance point for your surfboard making cross stepping, and nose riding a possibility.


We want to get you familiar with spending more time in zone 1 on a wave, as it's here where we can begin to create an imbalance to begin nose riding. 

So the first challenge we have for you is to see how long you can stay within zone 1 on a wave.

From there, we want to challenge you to move between zones 1 & 2 to maintain your board position in the high part of the wave.


The ability to utilise the difference zones of the wave can help tremendously with all of your surfing. 

We want to help you move away from spending most of the time surfing between zones 2& 3, and help you get into the steeper part of the wave.

This is where all good longboarding takes place.