Riding longboards as a cheat code (even if you mostly ride shortboards)

I’ve recently started trying to learn how to ride a traditional longboard and it’s been an eye opening experience. I think in so many ways, riding a longboard can be a cheat code for accelerating the learning process.

The key benefits:

  • Motivates you to surf when you otherwise wouldn’t / couldn’t
    It’s summer here at Rockaway and a lot of the time it’s really like 1-2 ft and I wouldn’t even bother trying to surf, but the longboard makes waves like that fun

  • Forces you to read the wave better
    Longer boards are easy to pearl on so the key is getting in early. I’m trying to catch the wave before it has even broken so I’m analyzing the wave when it’s just a little barely formed ripple on the horizon.. This will definitely translate to riding a shorter board and might be one of the most important benefits.

  • Forces you to learn better board control
  • One of the most annoying things about riding a longboard is the sheer size and bulk of it. I can’t spin around and whip into a wave the way I can on a smaller board. But this actually is forcing me to be more thoughtful with my approach to waves and set things up. When I go back to riding a smaller board, everything will feel way easier. Not to mention, if I can turn a longboard, turning a shortboard is going to feel like cakewalk.

  • Keeps you in good paddle and surf shape
    Related to points 2 and 3, on a longboard I’m surfing more, and surprisingly I have to paddle pretty hard to get in early and it’s a lot more board to maneuver! I was actually breathing hard after my first session on a longboard!

  • Helps train your style
  • On a longer board everything gets slowed down, so you have time to correct the little niggles in your style and technique when it comes to pop-up, stance, etc. Flapping your arms around and wiggling does nothing when you’re on a longboard except make you look stupid (whereas on a shortboard you might actually think you’re getting somewhere with that stuff). Generally it smooths everything out and helps inject a bit of grace and elegance into your surfing.

    All in all, I wish I had been riding a longboard the entire time I’ve been surfing. For those of you that are still on longer boards - I wouldn’t rush as quickly to move down in volume. For those of you that are already on your progression down, I would keep a longer board in the quiver to fall back to when you get frustrated with your wave count or when the waves get really small.

    What do you think? Any of you out there ride longboards? Would love to hear from you!


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