Longboard Surfing Tips, A Tip To Improve Your Surfing Immediately

Longboard Surfing TipsLongboard surfing tips, I will share with you what I have learned in my 10 plus years of surfing.  Most of those ten years have been spent surfing longboards.  In this post I will discuss:

  • Different types of longboards.
  • What I look for in a longboard.
  • My experiences in noseriding.
  • How to improve your longboard surfing instantly.

All Is Not Created Equal

A longboard is a surfboard that is at least 8’6” in length and the board will typically have a rounded nose plus have a 3 fin set-up.  The center fin slot will usually have what is known as a box fin slot, which allows for the use of longer and wider fins than what you would see on a shortboard.  Click here to read my post on “What to look for in a surfboard.”

I categorize longboards into 4 basic groups:

  • Tankers.
  • Noseriders.
  • High Performance Longboards.
  • High Performance Noseriders.

The tankers – Are typically long, fat, wide and thick longboards, whose main purpose is to catch waves easily and then cruise on the wave.  They normally have thick rails that are not made for sharp, hard turns.

The noseriders – Are similar to your tanker, except they have smaller dimensions and are made specifically for surfing the board from the nose.  Many of these boards are single finned with a spoon in the underside of the nose and are designed after the old-school longboards.

The high performance longboards – Are thin, light-weight and sleek longboards that are made to emulate the performance of a shortboard.  These boards typically have thin, tapered rails for sharp, hard turns.

The high performance noseriders – Have all the best features of the noserider and high performance longboards.

What I Want

I’ve owned tankers, noseriders, high performance longboards and high performance noseriders.  They all have their pros and cons.  When you buy one of these types of boards, your main consideration should be, what do you want to do on the wave?

I would purchase a tanker, because I wanted to catch a ton of waves.  I would purchase the noserider, because I wanted to learn how to noseride.  I would purchase the high performance longboard, because I wanted to rip on the wave.  Finally, I would purchase the high performance noserider, because I wanted the best of both worlds, noseriding and ripping.

I’m 5’8” and weigh 180 pounds, the perfect longboard for me was a high performance longboard, that is: 9’ in length, about 22” wide and 2 5/8” thick.  With these dimensions, not only was I able to hit the lip and make sharp, hard turns but I could also duck dive this board.  Click here to read my post on how to duck dive a longboard?


What is a noseride?  A noseride is achieved when you are surfing a wave, then you cross-step to the nose of the board, and either hang five toes or ten toes from the nose of the surfboard and continue to surf the wave.  The phrases “hang five” and “hanging ten” are derived from these surfing techniques.  Surfers such a Joel Tudor and CJ Nelson are perfect examples of the modern day noserider.

At one point in my surfing journey my sole goal was to learn how to noseride.  I watched videos, read articles, purchased fins that claimed to help you noseride.  I bought balance boards, even bought a product that claimed to mimic what it was like to noseride.  None of the gadgets I bought, can mimic the effect of riding a wave, and cross-stepping to the nose.  Finally, in desperation, I purchased a noserider.

None of the things I did, helped me to noseride, the closest I ever came was 4” from the nose.  I must say that the noserider longboard, may have allowed me to achieve my goal if I had stuck to it.

I always understood the concept on how to achieve a noseride; you want a portion of the wave to be breaking over the tail of the board and thus create a force to counter your weight as you move towards the nose.  My problem is, I never knew how to achieve this.

Anyway, the whole point of this section, is to warn you not to buy the gadgets I did.  It will not help you to noseride and will just waste your money.

Watch this video, of one the best noseriders in the world, CJ Nelson.

The Secret

I can’t tell you how many videos, articles, surfboards and gadgets I have purchased to improve my surfing.  My sole goal was to become a better surfer.  I wanted to surf like the surfers I admire: Joel Tudor, Colin McPhillips, Bonga Perkins and Taylor Jensen, all former World Longboard Champions.

The one thing I did notice when I watched any of these surfers surf, is how and especially when they wanted to start ripping on a wave they would surf the board from the tail.  A light went off in my head, and I was excited to try and surf my longboard from the tail.

The next time I went surfing, I stepped back on the tail and my ability to control my longboard had instantly improved.  I was able to go left or right at will, surfing from the tail of my surfboard was the secret to being a better surfer.

I guarantee, if you start surfing your board from the tail, you will instantly improve your surfing.  Try it the next time you go surfing and you will be pleasantly surprised.

Watch this great video of one of my favorite surfers, Colin McPhillips, surfing a longboard.  He’ll noseride but pay attention to where he places his back foot when he wants to rip, he’s surfing from the tail.

In Conclusion

When choosing your longboard, first consider what you wish to do on the wave (e.g. catch a ton of waves, noseride, rip or noseride and rip).  Don’t buy any of the gadgets that claim to help you noseride, they don’t work.  If you want to immediately improve your surfing, surf your board from the tail.

I no longer surf a longboard, it’s too hard getting up and down an elevator, but I enjoyed every minute of my time on one.  Click here to read my post on my favorite surfboard.

Thanks for dropping in and should you have any questions or comments, please post-it in the comments section of this page.

8 thoughts on “Longboard Surfing Tips, A Tip To Improve Your Surfing Immediately

  1. Hey, there, after a long winter, this a a terrific post and nothing would I love to do more than catch a wave. Thanks for the information on the different surfing boards. I am wondering for a beginner which is the best board to start with? Thank you!

    • Hi PJ, For a new surfer, I would definitely not recommend learning on a shortboard, unless you don’t mind waiting a long time before you catch a wave. For someone brand new to surfing, I would highly recommend starting on a longboard, a board at least 9 feet in length. Your whole objective at this point is to catch waves and learn how to stand-up on a surfboard. A wider, longer board, is more stable and makes catching waves and standing up much easier. Check out my post “What to look for in a surfboard?” for more information.

      Thanks for the comments and dropping in!

  2. Great post, great tips and great videos.
    I’m a complete beginner, I weigh about 16 stone which I think is about 220 pounds in American money, what board would you recommend. For wind surfing I pretty much use the biggest one I can get my hands on, is it the same for surfing?

    • Hi Dan, For a big like you, I would definitely not suggest starting out on a shortboard. I would recommend a surfboard at 10 feet in length. As a beginner your whole goal is to catch waves and learn to stand up on a surfboard, once you get good at doing this then you can consider going with a smaller board. I wrote a post about “What to look for in a surfboard?” that maybe helpful.

      Thanks for the comments and dropping in!

  3. Such great and cool information about longboarding. I used to surf back in the day but feel like I wouldn’t be very good these days. However, I never thought about trying longboarding to get my “sea legs” back. I am definitely going to take advantage of your surfing tips and try longboarding. Thanks and all the best!

    • Hi Howie, Longboarding is a good way to start back up again, as you probably know, because the board is longer and wider it makes catching waves and standing up easier. If you want a board that is not quite a funboard but is on the longer side of a shortboard, check my post by clicking here.

      Thanks for the comments and dropping in!

  4. excellent thanks, my hubby has a 9ft3″ mal and has been taking me out to try to teach me in our Aussie summer – loved reading your post, cheers

    • Hi Ilona, I’m a big fan of Aussie Surfers Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson, I love the way these guys surf. I’ve been to Perth but back then I didn’t surf.

      Thanks for the comments and dropping in!

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