How To Ride A Longboard Surfboard
Wes Severson August 18th, 2020 Posted In: How-To Tags: Surfing
How To Ride a Longboard Surfboard
If it’s your first time out or just need a refresher this will help
First, let’s quickly make sure you know exactly what a longboard is. It should stand 8 to 10 feet tall and have a thick profile, a wide stance, and a rounded nose. Generally, a board that is 3 feet taller than you will be a good fit. But make sure it has that rounded nose because a longer board with a pointed nose is a whole different animal that you don’t want to ride. This YouTube video should give you a pretty good idea of what is right for you.
Once you have a board also make sure you have these items so your day doesn’t turn into a bummer:
-Leash: Make sure it is in working order and not going to fail out in the surf.
-Fins: Turn the board over and make sure they are all there and tightly in place.
-Wax: Turns the surface of your board sticky so you don’t slip all over the place.
-Wetsuit or Rashguard: This will prevent chafing. Choose one depending on water temperature.
-Sunblock: Cover up with high-quality lotion.
You may be so excited to learn how to ride a longboard surfboard that you’ll want to just run straight into the water and try it out. But stop for a moment and ask yourself these questions.
1. How big are the waves? 1 to 2 foot waves are great for beginners. Anything over 3 will be too big and scary.
2. Are there patterns to the waves? Try to see how long it takes for large sets to come in and see how consistent the bigger waves are.
3. Where are people gathered? Since you haven’t tried it and will be falling a lot look for an area that is away from the bigger crowds.
4. Are there hazards like rocks or rip currents? Scan the entire beach to see if you can see obstacles that could potentially be trouble.
5. How good am I at popping up? Practice this on the sand several times and get the feel of what it is like to go from the paddling position to the standing position. Make sure it is smooth because it will be tougher when you are moving.
Quick Tip For Paddling Out
This might seem obvious but when you are getting into the water don’t just jump onto the board and start paddling in knee-deep water. Walk with your board as far out as you can. Try to start paddling once you are well over waist-deep. Also, watch the waves, and if you can jump onto the board after the last wave of the set so you’re paddling during a lull and you aren’t getting hit by other waves.
A Common Wave-Catching Mistake
Once you’ve paddled past the breakers you’re ready to catch one. A common mistake people make when learning how to ride a longboard surfboard is they try to stand up too soon. You want to make sure you start the motion of popping up after you have caught the wave. If you try doing it too soon you won’t go anywhere and will likely stand up for a moment and just tip over. Try to understand what it feels like to have only the speed of the wave taking you along. Start paddling and once you feel like you are gaining lots of speed from the wave that’s when you know it is time to stand up.
This is probably the biggest step when learning how to ride a longboard surfboard. After you feel the wave pulling you along, place the palm of your hand flat on the board near your lower ribs. Smoothly lift your shoulders up like a pushup. Then, in a fluid motion lift your butt and slide your front foot into place in the center of the board between your hands. At the same time, slide your back foot into place which is naturally going to happen. The motion is tricky which is why I highly recommend doing it on the beach. You can see it all step by step by checking out this WikiHow page or this step by step guide.
Once You’re Up
You’ve made it to your feet. Now what? Don’t start trying to hang ten. Just go straight toward the beach for the first several times to get to know the board and what it feels like to shift your weight back and forth. Try to find the best spot for your feet and make sure you are not leaning back. You want to balance the weight of your upper body over your front foot. It almost feels like you are leaning way forward and it may feel awkward at first but this is how you get control and steer.
Going straight will also teach you how to wipeout. When you know you are going down try to push yourself away from your board so you don’t get hit by it as it gets sloshed around in the wave. Do your best to push or kick your board away from you as you position your body in the opposite direction. This YouTube video has more tips on how to wipeout safely.
Working In Some Turns
The next step in how to ride a longboard surfboard is trying to take off on the wave at an angle so you are no longer just going straight toward the beach. To do this simply point the nose of the board in the direction that you think the wave is going break. Go through the same motions as you did before but keep your board at an angle and try to stay out front of the where the wave is breaking and turning to whitewater.
This is really where the heart of surfing lies and how you really learn how to ride a longboard surfboard. Riding the face of the wave either left or right will allow you get longer rides where you can experience your longboard. It will give you a chance to feel what it is like to turn and which part of the wave gives you the most speed. You’ll also learn things like when you need to dump out of the wave or maybe even how to get right under the lip to get a little barrel.
Like anything else, getting good at surfing takes day after day of practice so don’t get discouraged if you aren’t able to complete all the things mentioned above on your first day out. It might take you a week or a month of surfing before you can ride the face of the wave and have a firm grasp on how to ride a longboard surfboard. Just don’t give up because I promise once you do get there it will be a source of great pleasure, joy, stress-relief, and exercise.
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