The longboard is a board we believe everyone should have in their quiver. No matter your skill level, riding a longboard can increase your style, help you perfect your technique, and allow you to read waves much better. Although standing up and riding a longboard is relatively easy because of its stability, there are still some challenges that make mastering a longboard difficult.
This blog will focus on proper equipment, having correct expectations when riding a longboard, proper longboard style, and overcoming longboard difficulties (turning, avoiding a nosedive, etc).
What is the best kind of longboard for me?
A longboard is any round nose board that is about 3ft taller than your height. Not every longboard is built the same, so it is important to choose the right one for you. Put simply, there are two kinds of longboards, classic and performance. Classic longboards are generally wider, thicker, and have a single fin. This board is best for someone who values stability over turning ability, or desires a board that is well suited for noseriding and trimming in small waves. Performance longboards, on the other hand, are easier to turn, and generally have a two plus one fin set up for performance. They will also have a bit more rocker which allows them to be surfed in bigger, steeper waves. If you are performance minded, check out our Ultimate Longboard, but if you are looking for a board with more stability and increased noseride ability, check out our Classic longboard. For a mix of both, check out our Ultimate Plus, which blends performance and stability.
With any board, it is important to have the right expectations about how a board should be surfed. If you are looking for a board that can be turned sharply, or surfed in big barreling waves, the everyday longboard is not the best fit for you. The first thing to note about a longboard is they are stable, and take more power to be turned. Some people do not like this about a longboard, but this generally comes from a false expectation that the board should turn as easy as their shortboard. Second, unless you are an expert, late takeoffs are not your friend when riding a longboard. For a higher success rate, make sure you paddle in early, or are surfing a mellow wave that you can drop in on with ease. Last, you should expect everything to be slowed down. You turns will be more drawn out, and you will have more time to anticipate sections on the wave. For many, this is the beauty of riding a longboard, but for others, this might not sound as appealing.
What is proper longboard style?
Now that we understand the types of longboard, along with the right expectations for riding a longboard, we will touch on proper longboard style. The best style for a longboard is a relaxed. Unless you are going for turn, or taking off, you should stand upright with your knees slightly bent. You upper body should also be quiet, with little movement. As for your foot placement, keep your feet at, or a bit past, shoulder width apart. For more on stance, check out our blog on proper foot placement.
Overcoming Longboard Difficulties
The biggest issue that most have when riding a longboard is difficulty turning. This can be boiled down to a few main issues. First, make sure you are closer to the tail of the board before initiating your turn. A longboard gives you a lot of room to move, and unless you move back you won't be able to turn. Second, make sure you widen your stance a bit before entering the turn, this helps you to gain control of the board. Last, remember that your body will follow where you are looking. You won't be able to turn well in a cutback if your eyes are looking toward the shoulder of the wave, so look in the direction you intend to turn.
The second issue we often see is nosediving. A nosedive is caused by a mistimed take off, or by surfing waves that are not suitable for a longboard. For the first issue, make sure you paddling into waves early, and keep paddling hard into the wave before popping. Paddling hard, then stopping quickly is like applying your front break on a bicycle at high speeds; you will go over the handle bars. So make sure you commit to the wave, and don't stop paddling until you are ready to pop up. Another tip to help you avoid the nosedive is by taking off at an angle. Angle the board in the direction you intent to go and paddle hard. The angled take off will usually prevent a nosedive. Last, check the conditions before paddling out. Don't paddle out on your longboard if you see waves breaking very quickly. In some waves, a nosediving in inevitable, so stay wise.
The next problem is trying to surf your longboard as if it were a shortboard. To avoid this, refrain from pumping! Let the board do the work, and this will smooth out your longboard surf style.
The last mistake is failing to utilize the full length of the board. The best long boarders are able to move up and down on the board, and rarely should you remain static. Move back for turns, move forward for speed, and get to the nose for a noseride. We understand this may be too advanced for some, so we put together another blog geared toward learning how to noseride for newer surfers.
Surfing a longboard has huge payouts for your overall surfing. It will help smooth out your surfing, master new techniques, and help you to read the wave with better precision. Keep practicing to reap these rewards, and don't let the difficulties of riding a longboard discourage you!
If you are unsure what the best longboard is for you, we'd love to assist! Give us a call at (800) 920-2363 or email us at email@example.com
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