How to Properly Ride a Longboard for Surfing
Surfing is a fun way to get out in the ocean and catch a wave. Surfboard riders come in all shapes and sizes, and the best ones compete on the professional circuit, making big money. Beginning surfers often start on longboards, which are safer and easier to ride than shortboards. Longboards float better than shortboards and offer a more stable ride. Measuring 9 feet or longer in length, longboards are easier for beginning surfers to paddle, stand up on and ride back toward the shore.
Walk the longboard out in the ocean until the water becomes waist deep. Point the nose of the board away from the shore and make sure the bottom fin is in the water. Climb up on the board when the water rises to your waist, lie flat on your stomach and paddle out into the ocean using the crawl stroke -- one arm in the water at a time. Longboards are long and heavy, so stay in smoother water to prevent fatigue. Paddle out to areas where big waves already have broken and smaller, foamy waves are forming.
Catch the Wave
Turn the longboard toward the shore after getting into position in front of oncoming waves. Lie back down on the board and begin paddling as the waves build from behind. Position your body as close to the center of the longboard as possible to prevent getting thrown off into the water. Attach the protective leash to your back ankle for added protection. Remain flat on your stomach and ride the wave to the shore if you are a beginning surfer. Otherwise, push yourself up and stand on the board as it catches the wave .
Balance yourself on the board. Longboards are more stable than shortboards, but proper balance ensures a longer ride. Push your body up and stand on the line running down the center of the board to get the most stable ride. Stand sideways, bend your knees and stay as low as possible on the longboard. Spread your legs a shoulder width apart and grip the board with your feet. Keep your head up and your hands out to the sides for added balance.
Gradually increase the degree of difficulty as you gain experience on the longboard. The board is long and heavy, so effort is needed to turn. Shift your weight to the back leg and rotate your hips. As the longboard turns, shift your weight to the front foot. Walk the longboard. Laterally move your feet up or down the board while maintaining balance. Try to "Hang 10." A popular surfing move -- albeit difficult -- is to walk to the front of the longboard while riding the wave and place your 10 toes over the edge. Ride with a partner. The longboard has enough room for two surfers at the same time. Stand close together and maintain the same form and balance.
Scott Amato has been a sportswriter for a major Midwestern daily newspaper since 1985. He has covered professional baseball, football and hockey. In addition, Amato has contributed to sports publications throughout the United States and Japan. He has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from Ohio University.