Surf Tips for Intermediate: How to Cross Step

April 04, 2024

Surf Tips for Intermediate: How to Cross Step

When newer to intermediate longboard surfers are attempting a noseride, they usually like to take a shortcut to the nose by shuffling their feet to the front of the board. This shuffling motion might be easy, but it is not considered proper longboard style. For this reason, it is best to learn to “cross step” to get to and retreat from the nose. The goal of this blog is to teach you how to cross step, so that you will have increased performance and better style on a longboard. 

What kind of board will I need? 

Getting the right kind of board is essential when learning how to cross step. As a general rule, choose a board that is at least 3 ft longer than your height - the longer the board the easier a cross step will be. Also, make sure your board is wide enough. 23" and up will be best to give you a good amount of stability.  

If you don't have this board, check out our Ultimate longboard and Classic Noserider (the Classic is our easiest board for cross stepping). 

Step 1: Locate the proper sections 

A cross step can be performed in any section where you are trying to generate more speed by getting further up the board, this includes when the wave is getting steep in front of you or when the wave is fading away and you need to get further up the board to generate speed. 

Step 2: Take your first 'half-step'

Begin by starting slow. Move your back foot in front of your front foot when riding the wave, then quickly move the foot back. Doing this half-step will teach you the initial motion of a cross step before muscle memory kicks in. Make sure your foot is centered along the stringer when moving your foot forward. This requires a lot of balance, so make sure your knees are bent.

Step 3: Take a full cross step forward

Once you've mastered the half step, you are ready to take a full step. To do this, perform the initial the motion you performed in step 2, except this time begin to apply weight on the foot that is crossing over your front foot. Plant your foot securely in the center stringer so that you are balance, then bring the other foot back forward unto your normal, baseline surf stance.  

Step 4: Cross step back down

Don't forget to cross step back! To do this, simply perform the motion of a cross step in reverse order. Move your front foot behind and around your back foot (on the heel side), then take a full step back. Don't step too far back as you may step off the board completely when nearing the tail.

Continue practicing this motion until you can begin walking up a down the board with ease.


An easy way to practice cross stepping is on the sand or at home. Draw a line in the sand and try to perform a cross step, planting your feet in the center of the board each time. If you foot it a little bit off center, you will fall! This is why it is important to practice often so that muscle memory kicks in. 

Second, be sure that you are cross stepping back. This can feel more difficult for newer longboard surfers so it is often avoided, but remember that if you can cross step forward, you can cross step back in the same motion.

Third, practice on clean glassy days. This will make things a lot easier for you because your board will be much more stable. 

Last, don't be discouraged if you fall! This is common. To help alleviate the fears of falling and making impact with your board, we'd recommend learning to cross step on one of our Hybrid Epoxy Soft boards. These boards offer a soft, grippy deck so that you will have less of a chance of getting injured. 


Not only is cross stepping a functional maneuver that will help you move up and down the board quickly, but it will also increase longboard elegance and style. We hope that through following the steps in this blog, you will be cross stepping in no time! 

If you have any remaining questions, or are unsure if you are riding the correct board, give us a call at (800) 920-2363 or email us at 

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