Longboard surfing connects you with the ocean and lets you express yourself on the waves. Still, you’ll have to learn exciting skills and tricks to stand out from the crowd besides just riding out the wave. And this guide shows you how to rock the longboard like a pro, from the basics to the advanced moves. So, how can you step up your longboarding game?
You must learn different maneuvers to elevate your longboard surfing skills, such as turns, cutbacks, re-entries, and nose rides. You also need to try some tricks that involve spinning, rolling, flying, and shuvits while practicing regularly, watching other surfers, and keeping a positive mindset.
You’re about to enter the extraordinary world of longboard surfing, where you’ll learn how to nail the basic moves and the coolest tricks while remembering that it’s not all about technique. We’ll also give you some killer tips that will change your game and bring out the best surfer in you. So, don’t miss this chance to boost your skills and have a blast on the longboard. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Mastering The Basic Longboard Surfing Maneuvers
So, getting to the basics – Longboarding surfing is a relaxed and laid-back style that requires a longboard, usually about three feet longer than your height. Different types of longboards, such as the nose rider, the performance, and the hybrid, suit various preferences and conditions.
And starting longboarding surfing requires practicing your balance on a static board on grass or a rug and looking for waves breaking far from the shore. It would be best to include basic equipment, such as a swimsuit or wetsuit (optional), a fin, surf wax, a leg leash, and sunscreen.
But before you can attempt any fancy tricks on your longboard, you need to master some essential skills and maneuvers that will help you control your board and ride the waves easily and in style. These are the basic longboard surfing maneuvers that every surfer should know:
Known as your first turn after catching a wave, it sets you up for the rest of the ride by positioning you on the face of the wave. Performing a bottom turn requires you to shift your weight to your rear foot and lean in your desired direction. Then, as you reach the lower end of the wave, you need to shift your weight to your front foot and look up at where you want to go next.
Vision is essential for this role, allowing your body to respond and plan ahead on what you see rather than what you feel. And to top that up, Cross-stepping (mentioned below) can be extremely challenging without a proper bottom turn and board setup.
This is the turn you make at the top of the wave, allowing you to change direction and generate speed by using the power of the wave. Top turning is best approaching the lip of the wave with speed and angle your board towards it. Then, as you reach the lip, you must push hard on your back foot and twist your upper body in the opposite direction.
It will make your board carve around and spray some water, and you’ll need to look down at where you want to go next and follow through with your board.
A Cutback, or Front/Backside cutback, is the turn you make when you want to get back to the pocket, or power source, of the wave, allowing you to maintain speed and will help you stay on the wave for much longer. Among surfers, the common saying is “When fat, cutback!” which requires you to ride along the face of the wave until you feel like you are losing speed or getting too far ahead of the breaking section.
You must shift your weight to your back foot and turn your board towards the whitewater. As you reach the whitewater, you need to shift a good portion of your weight to your front foot and turn your board back towards the face of the wave, making your board do a roundhouse arc and get back into position.
It can be a slight learning curve for new surfers to get the hang of, but keep at it – and once you have it, it’s hard to forget the feeling!
Re-entry is when you want to hit the lip of the wave with power and style, allowing you to show off your moves and impress other surfers. Every surfer’s arsenal must include a re-entry, which can take various forms, from a simple straight up and down to an explosive re-entry with no fins. The maneuver aims to ride the lip back to the flats after rebounding from the lip.
To do a re-entry, you need to approach the lip of the wave with speed and angle your board slightly towards it. Then, as you reach the lip, you need to push hard on your back foot and lift your front foot up. This will make your board go vertical and hit the lip with force, where you will need to bring your front foot down and lean forward to land back on the face of the wave.
The Cross-stepping technique is used when you want to walk along your longboard and change your position on it. It allows you to adjust your trim and balance according to the size and shape of the wave. Cross-stepping also helps you adjust your position on the board and stay in the wave’s sweet spot.
Start with your feet together near the middle of your board to do a cross-step – then, you need to move one foot forward by crossing it over or behind the other foot. Then, move the other foot forward by crossing it over or behind the first foot.
You need to repeat this method until you reach your desired spot on your board – and sometimes, you’ll find that you do not need to go to the nose each time when the true sweet spot would be halfway to the nose.
By moving your feet along the board, you can place yourself where you need to be faster and make the moves the wave allows. If you’re too far forward, you’ll lose the power of the wave and have trouble turning.
Note: The above are some basic longboard surfing maneuvers to help you improve your surfing game. But remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to try them out on different waves and conditions!LONGBOARD SURFING TRICKS”]
Longboard Nose Riding: The Art Of Walking The Plank
Nose riding is like gracefully walking the plank of your longboard, showcasing your balance and skill in the most stylish way possible. It’s the epitome of classic longboarding, where you surf from the front of the board, keeping that nose above the water like it’s defying gravity.
You’ll need a specialized longboard designed for nose riding to achieve this feat – one with a wide and flat nose, a single fin, and a concave bottom.
Finding the perfect wave for nose riding is key. Look for those long, peeling waves that break slowly and smoothly, offering you a smooth canvas to perform your stylish moves – and most importantly, allowing you to surf the critical part of the wave, pushing down at the tail of your board.
With that in mind, let’s dive into some of the most popular nose-riding maneuvers that will have you gliding like a sea deity on your trusty longboard:
- Hang 10: Ah, the holy grail of nose riding! This is where you walk all the way to the front of your board and dangle all ten toes over the edge, defying the laws of balance and gravity.
To achieve this feat, you must perfectly balance your board, letting the wave cover the back and create that lift to keep the nose proudly above water, cross-walk towards your board’s nose, and let all ten toes clamp over the edge.
As you hang 10, shift your weight ever so slightly back to adjust your trim and navigate with the finesse of a wave whisperer – just don’t forget to stay in the steep critical part of the wave to maintain it, where the water presses on the tail of your longboard. The basic skills required to perform this trick are understanding weight distribution and the basic cross-walk skill.
- Hang 5: For those seeking a taste of nose riding without diving into the deep end, we have the Hang 5. With this move, you stand sideways on your board and stretch your front foot forward, nonchalantly hanging just five toes over the edge.
Start by catching a smooth wave and gaining speed to pull off this trick. Once you’re in position, walk up to your board’s nose and shift your weight onto your front foot, finding your balance. Then, lift your back foot and extend it forward, hanging your toes over the board’s edge.
To perform this move, you must master basic maneuvers like the cross-step for smooth footwork and weight distribution. It’s a slightly easier variation of the Hang 10 but still demands a keen sense of balance and control. It’s like saying, “Hey, I can walk the nose, but I’ll leave some room for others to join the party.”
- Cheater Five: Now, don’t be fooled by the name. In cheater five, you keep yourself and your weight slightly back from the front of the board, only reaching out with one leg to get five toes as close to the nose as possible. This move is more like a crafty maneuver to build up your nose-riding skills.
It’s a clever way to practice your balance without going all-in, using your back foot as a trusty stabilizer. Think of it as almost dunking your toes in the water before plunging headfirst into the full-nose riding experience.
- Switchstance Nose Ride: Switchstance or Cross-step Nose rides take your nose-riding to the next level. This move combines agility, coordination, and a hint of magic. Start with a graceful cross step to the nose, and then quickly switch your stance from Hang 10, to Hang five and even Cheater five. Pulling off this maneuver will definitely make heads turn as you dance away on the board!
- Drop Knee Turn: Most notably seen as the art of adding a twist to your nose-riding game. The drop knee turn is a longboard variation of the frontside cutback or backside bottom turn. As you stylishly navigate the wave, bend your trailing knee inward and lower it throughout the turn.
Some even go for the full drop, touching their kneecap to the deck just behind the front foot. It’s a perfect maneuver to have in your arsenal for surfing competitions, allowing you to score points while elegantly “slowing down” to control your speed.
Longboard Surfing Tricks For Intermediate And Advanced Surfers
If you are ready to take your longboarding game to the next tier, then It’s time to elevate your skills and jump headfirst into an ocean of intermediate and advanced longboard surfing tricks. These mind-blowing maneuvers require a perfect blend of skill, speed, and courage. Don’t stress, though, for the rewards overflow into better style, thrill, and that intoxicating feeling of pure satisfaction.
So tighten those ankle straps as we explore some of the most exhilarating longboard surfing tricks for the intrepid surfers out there!
- 360: Being easier done on regular surfboards, the 360 is all about rotating your board a full 360 degrees on the face of the wave. To achieve this feat, approach the wave quickly and tilt your board slightly towards the lip.
As you reach the lip, summon all your strength and push hard on your back foot, initiating a twist in your upper body that sets the spin in motion. Placing weight on your heels plays a vital role in this move and may need plenty of practice to get the movement in play.
It’s essential to fix your gaze on the landing spot, letting the wave force or board down and bringing your board back under your feet as the nose shifts into position. But once you mastered the whole rotation, prepare to spin your world as you swirl a masterpiece on the canvas of the ocean!
- Air Reverse: The Air Reverse is an advanced maneuver that involves launching off the lip of the wave and executing a challenging 180-degree spin in mid-air. Like a 360, the air reverse encourages a full rotation, but most of the rotation would be airborne! Though it is already difficult in its own right on regular shortboards, it is significantly harder to perform on longboards, but not entirely impossible.
To do this, you need to head toward the lip of the wave with speed and angle your board slightly toward it. As you reach the lip, push hard on your rear foot and lift your front foot up, making your board go vertical and launch you into the air. You’ll then need to twist your upper body in the opposite direction of your momentum, causing you and your board to spin around in the air.
Watching a few tips on how shortboards handle an air reverse can point you in the right direction! Though, when it comes to longboards, you may want to consider only attempting it on larger, slower waves. You need to see precisely where you want to land and bring your board back under your feet – and in some cases, use the flow of the wave to help rotate your board back into position.
- Cheater-Five Shuvit: Nose-riding continually improves, and new skills are constantly in the works. The Cheater-Five Shuvit is a bit more advanced and can get technical, but it combines the classic cheater five-nose ride with a mesmerizing 180-degree board turn.
Note: It’s not the traditional shuvit concept when the board spins rapidly in the air, as done with wakeboarding and skateboarding, but the principle remains the same.
Though it may take a bit of repetition and practice, you start by cross-walking to the nose of your board and extend one leg forward to perform the cheater five. Then, instead of keeping your back leg planted on the board (as you would do with the cheater five), you need to shift your weight to your front foot and angle the tail of your board outwards.
A good execution will make your board’s nose catch into the wave and spin your board around 180 degrees. As your board rotates, you must jump back on it with both feet (or step with the board as it turns). Now your board is facing backward, but you can spin it around by pushing down on the rail, and with the fin hits the water, it will rotate the board back into place.
A great example is briefly presented in a how-to video on nose riding and a cross-step YouTube tutorial, with another example of it is well executed in the South African Longboard Surf Championships. And if you are keen on some alternatives to the Shuvit concept, you could always test your skills at the Reverse 180 take-off!
Tips For Progressing In Longboard Surfing Tricks
Mastering longboard surfing tricks requires time and patience, and some surfers choose to take lessons from instructors or attend surfing schools to accelerate their progress. Keep in mind that each individual learns at their own pace, so don’t give up and keep up the grind until you master the climb. Let’s look at some basic tips to help you improve your longboard surfing skills:
- Consistency is key: Repetition is critical for building comfort and confidence on your board. So embrace every opportunity to surf and push yourself to try new tricks. You’ll develop flexibility, muscle memory, and quick reflexes by consistently getting in the water, even in less-than-ideal conditions.
- Start with small waves: Before diving into advanced tricks, establish a solid foundation of basic skills like paddling, popping up, turning, and trimming. Practicing on smaller waves allows you to refine these fundamental techniques while minimizing the risk of injury or wipeouts. Gradually progress to larger waves as you gain proficiency.
- Observe and learn: Watch and learn from more experienced surfers who excel in longboard tricks. Study their positioning, movements, and execution of maneuvers. Emulating their techniques can provide valuable insights and inspiration for your own progression. Don’t hesitate to ask friendly surfers for tips or feedback.
- Maintain a positive attitude: Learning new tricks can sometimes be challenging and frustrating. Embrace the process and view mistakes as opportunities for growth. Remember that every surfer has their own unique learning curve. Celebrate even the smallest feats along the way and enjoy the sheer joy of surfing.
- Embrace experimentation: Longboard surfing is all about self-expression and having fun on the water. Don’t limit yourself to a single style or technique. Explore different boards, fins, stances, and tricks. This experimentation adds variety and excitement to your surfing experience, helping you discover what suits you best.
By following these tips and recognizing that progress in longboard surfing is a personal journey, you’ll enhance your skills, broaden your repertoire, and find greater fulfillment in your surfing adventures.
Best Places To Practice Longboard Surfing Tricks
Longboard surfing is a sport that can be enjoyed in many places worldwide as long as you have waves suitable for this riding style.
Longboarders prefer slow, long, and smooth waves rather than fast, steep, and hollow ones. These waves allow them to glide, trim and perform various maneuvers on their boards, such as nose riding, cross-stepping, and hanging ten. To find these waves, you need to follow the weather, check the swell and tide conditions, and research the local surf spots.
A good online site to follow for surfers is Surfline.com, where you can get forecasts, reports, and live cams for thousands of breaks worldwide. You should also watch the waves and imagine yourself riding them, talk to locals or other surfers in the area, and never miss an opportunity if you can get one.
But if you are looking for some of the most notable and widespread beaches to surf on a longboard, here are some of the best places to practice longboard surfing tricks:
Malibu is one of the world’s most iconic and historic surf spots, where longboarding was born and evolved in the 1950s and 60s.
Malibu has several breaks along its coast, but the most famous one is First Point, a right-hand point break that offers long and peeling waves that are perfect for longboarding. You can expect crowds, competition here, and a lot of fun and culture.
Byron Bay, Australia
Byron Bay is a laid-back and hippie town on the east coast of Australia, where longboarding is a way of life. Byron Bay has several breaks to choose from, but the most popular one is The Pass, a right-hand point break that can produce long and smooth waves that are ideal for longboarding. You can also try Wategos Beach for more options.
Many believe this is where surfing originated and a place where longboarding is still trendy and respected. Waikiki has many breaks along its shore, but the most well-known one is in Queens, a reef break that can offer long and gentle waves that are suitable for longboarding. You can also check out Canoes or Pops for more variety.
Jeffreys Bay, South Africa.
South Africa is no stranger to some of the best places to pack a longboard and cruise some of the finest waves in the world. That said, J-Bay is one of the best right-hand points breaks in the world, where you can find long and powerful waves that can challenge any longboard surfer.
Jeffreys has several sections along its point, but the most mellow one is Kitchen Window, which is situated on Main Beach, where you can find long and smooth waves that are radical for longboarding. You can also try Point or Albatross for more options.
This is a chic and charming town on the southwest coast of France, where surfing is very popular and diverse. Biarritz has many exciting breaks along its coast, but the most renowned choice is La Côte des Basques, a beach break that offers long and fun waves ideal for longboard surfers.
Final Thoughts On Longboard Surfing Tricks
Longboard surfing is a sport that can bring you joy, challenge, and satisfaction. It is a lifelong journey that can enrich your life in many ways. The most imperative thing is to keep it fun and safe, respect yourself and other surfers in the water, and don’t compare yourself to others; progress at your own pace and celebrate your achievements!
Torsten Bird is a talented and adventurous waterman from Western Australia, passionate about surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, hydrofoiling, skimboarding, snowboarding and skateboarding. Torsten has spent countless hours mastering his skills and his dream is to one day represent Australia as an Olympic athlete. Follow Torsten’s adventures on Instagram.