Most people think that longboarding is just surfing, but done on a bigger board. 

They’re wrong, as this couldn't be further from the truth. 

In fact, longboarding is almost an entirely different sport to traditional surfing altogether. 

So, if you want to learn how to ride a longboard the right way - the way it’s supposed to be ridden - keep reading as you’re about to learn how.


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IS IT EASIER TO SURF ON A LONGBOARD

Is it easier to surf on a longboard?

Yes it is. 

But there's a catch....

Yes it's easier to surf a longboard in the beginning (easier than a shortboard that is), but it's equally as difficult to traditional shortboarding to get good at.

The two areas that make longboarding a little easier are:

Catching waves - The added length, width and volume of a longboard make it easier longboarders to glide over the water surface - creating more propulsion when you paddle. 

The result? It's much easier to catch waves.

Popping up - Bigger boards provide more stability. This extra stability makes popping up to your feet much easier.


HOW TO RIDE A LONGBOARD IN 7 SIMPLE STEPS

Use these seven steps to learn how to ride a longboard, the right way...


STEP 1. FIND YOUR SWEET SPOT

The sweet spot is the ideal body weight distribution on your surfboard when paddling.

Not too far forward. Not too far back. Right bang in the centre.

That's your sweet spot right there.

Naturally, the sweet spot on a surfboard will vary depending upon the height and weight of the surfer, so it's something you're going to have to feel out. 

As a rough guide though, you want your weight to be as far up the board as possible - without nosediving. 

Find that spot, and move on to step 2.


STEP 2. STANCE

Longboard stance is very different to traditional shortboard stance. 

Gone is the low crouched, aggressive posture, and in comes the elegance of an upright stature.

Feet close together, standing tall with minimum body movement, with hips & shoulders squared up to the board.

Lets break it down:

  • Feet should be roughly shoulder width apart, and no more.
  • Leg bend is kept to a minimum.
  • Little to no bending at the waist.
  • Torso remains upright, with minimum movement.
  • Shoulders and hips squared up, rather than parallel to the stringer.

STEP 3. POP UP, THE RIGHT WAY

There are a lot of different pop up techniques out there, but the one you want to use when longboarding (well 90% of the time at least), is the Push Up Method. 

Here's how it's done:

  • Place your hands near the pectorals (chicken wing position).
  • Place your toes on your board near the tail (in a push up position). 
  • From here push up in one continuous movement.
  • Lock your back foot in first at 90 degrees and step forward and place your front foot at 45 degrees between your two hands - simultaneously lifting your hands off the board as you step through. 
  • Place your arms either side of the body and look forward at all times.

STEP 4: PADDLING 

Everyone can paddle a surfboard, granted, but there's a big difference between just paddling a board, and doing it well.

The aim with all paddling is to get the maximum propulsion, with the least energy exertion. 

Maximum output, minimum input.

Here's how it's done:

  • Find your sweet spot. This helps to minimize your resistance through the water.
  • Lead your paddle stroke with your elbow first.
  • Enter the water at around 80% and continue to  glide your cupped hand to the rest of the 100% reach. (this should mimic a freestyle swimmer technique to a t)
  • With your arm now fully stretched , pull the hand and arm through the water back as far as it can go.
  • Rinse and repeat.

STEP 5: CATCHING WAVES

the stages of the wave

Now comes the catching waves part, this is where things get real fun. 

To catch waves you've first got to build up a bit of momentum (ref step above on paddling).

The faster you are able to paddle, the earlier you'll be able to catch a wave.

CATCHING THE FOUR STAGES

This is a good thing as the earlier you're able to get on a wave, the less severe the incline - which makes popping to your feet a whole lot easier.


STEP 6: PLANING 

Planing is the process that occurs when a surfboards weight is predominantly supported by hydrodynamic lift, rather that hydrostatic lift (buoyancy). 

What does that mean exactly?

Well, think of it like this, a surfboard made of a non buoyant material such as metal would sink, correct?

However, that same metal surfboard moving across the ocean surface at speed creates that hydrodynamic lift we touched on earlier - allowing to plane over the surface of the water - creating float. 

Surfers harness this same hydrodynamic lift too, and this is how advanced surfers are able to ride small waves with very little power, yet still maintain their speed throughout.

Planing is all about maintaining speed by maximising the surface area of your surfboard on the wave - on flat sections your weight must move forward, and on steeper sections your weight must move back.

At all times you're looking to distribute your weight across the board as evenly as possible - 50% weight spread between both feet. 


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STEP 7: SHUFFLE 

Shuffling is a stepping stone technique towards cross-stepping.

It gets you familiar with the sensation of adjusting your weight distribution up and down the board and adjusting your balance point.

Here's how it's done:

Unlike cross-stepping, whereby one foot crosses over the other, shuffling requires no cross over of the feet whatsoever.

Instead, steps are taken up and down the board - shuffling as you go.

Step with your front first, allow your back foot to match, and rinse and repeat until you've made you way up the board.


DRY LAND PRACTICE TO HELP YOUR LONGBOARDING SKILLS

Luckily there are a few helpful out of water activities which can improve your longboarding skills and develop your style. 

  • TIGHT ROPE WALKING - An excellent way to mimic the balance and upper body movement off cross stepping. 
  • WALKING ON ANY BEAMS OR CURBS - Walking on anything in a straight line where you're placing one foot in front of the other will help to improve your balance and develop your own unique longboarding style. Each concrete beam is a chance to work on your shuffling or cross stepping. 
  • LONGBOARD SKATING - This is a great way to see your level of development as anything moving creates more difficulty. Longboard skating is a great insight into how to nurse the board through turns rather than force the board and expect it to turn sharply. 
  • DRY LAND BOARD WALKING - Place a board in your home (minus the fins) and run through a few push up pop ups. Use chalk to draw down the center and practice walking up and down. 


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CONCLUSION 

Learning how to ride a longboard well will take time, and a whole heap of practice.

But damn is it a worthwhile pursuit. 

A perfect symphony of dance, grace, style and flow, longboarding is one of this planets most elegant, hypnotic sports. 

Well, you've got everything you need to get started now so what are you waiting for...

You got this!

With love,

Loz 

LAUREN RINGER

Ex WQS warrior, and all-round frother - Loz is the technical coaching queen at the House of Surf.

She is also a mindset and life coach and has a habit of living in her van way too much. 

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