A surfer cross-stepping on their board

A surfer cross-stepping on their board


Being able to move up and down the board stylishly is a massive milestone as an advanced longboarder.


If you longboard, no doubt your ultimate goal is to cross-step to the top of your board and hang 10! It’s time to make that dream become a reality! With the know-how and plenty of practice, you can do it!


Here at Wetsuit Centre, we want you to get the most out of your surfing! In our blog, we share the fundamental aspects to cross-stepping the board and offer our best advice for those who are starting!


Our Advice


Of course, like most things you research, you may come across differing guidance on how to cross-step. We offer advice on the simplest way to try cross-stepping, but you might pick up other tips and tricks as you practice.


The Essentials


There are a couple of things you will need to walk a longboard stylishly:


  • The ability to read waves.
  • Practice, and lots of it!


Below, we break down how to walk a longboard in more detail! But, before you get practising, keep your toes toasty this winter and make sure you have all the additional neoprene you need! Take a look at our range of wetsuit gloves and any other essential surf accessories you may need to keep warm!


What Is Cross-Stepping?


Cross-stepping is the movement of stepping one foot ahead of the other when transferring your weight up and down the board.


Alternatively, you can shuffle your feet together to move up and down the board, but this isn’t a particularly stylish way to walk the board. Shuffling is considered a bad habit in surfing, and it is best to avoid these kinds of practices before you get too accustomed to them as they can hinder your progression!


A surfer catching a wave on a longboard


Catching the Wave


A key aspect of walking the board is understanding:


  • Which waves to catch.
  • Which part of the wave to place your board.
  • If the wave can hold you.
  • Knowing if, and when, to move your weight on your board.


Firstly, you need to catch a wave with a face. A wave with a face will hold your board and keep you balanced. The nose should face out of the wave while the white water weighs down the tail of your board.


Avoid complete white water waves, as they will not provide the correct positioning that allows you to balance at the end of your board. 


Angle the Board


Once you drop in on the wave, angle your board near the top of the wave, so you’re riding the ‘high line’ of the wave.


Once it feels relatively steady, you can start moving forward step-by-step.


When and How to Move Forward


To begin with, knowing if the wave can hold the board in place will be like playing roulette, but over time you will become familiar with recognising the steady feeling of the board and knowing the right time to change your positioning.


Pop Up Stance


When you pop up on the board, ensure your back foot is positioned by the fins.


Make sure you’re positioned central on your board with your feet in the middle of the deck, placed on the stringer.


Try to keep your knees loose and bent as this will help you balance.


Remain Central


As you take your first step forward, keep your knees bent and remain low. Ensure your shoulders are positioned over your hips for balance as you move.


Always keep your feet on the stringer as you step forward or back on the board. If you divert your weight away from the centre of the longboard, it will affect the balance and you will no doubt fall off!


Stay Low


At any point that you move your feet, keep your knees bent and your eyes forward while moving slowly.


For your first session, try moving one foot forward and then back to start with. Once you feel confident in this movement, you can begin edging forward in the next session.


A yellow longboard in the sand


Planning the Route


How many steps you take across your board depends on two main things.


Firstly, the length of your longboard. As you can guess, a shorter one will require less steps, and a longer one will require more.


Big or Small Steps?


Secondly, the size of your stride will also have an impact. If your stride is relatively small, you may require more steps compared to someone with a more significant stride. As you progress, you may prefer to cross-step using short strides regardless, and it entirely depends on you; there is no right or wrong.


However, while learning, it is advised to start with larger strides, as it is easier to control the board this way.


Practice On Dry Land First


The best way to start learning to walk the board is to have a practice run on dry land. It will help you to get used to the motion and will also familiarise yourself with the number of steps you will likely be taking.


You can practice on your board by taking the fins out, but it might be safer, in terms of protecting your board, to practise popping up and cross-stepping on a yoga mat or towels which you can arrange as the same length as your board.


Trying to cross-step on dry land is a great way to get used to the motion and help develop muscle memory for the movements.


A surfer stood by the sea with a red longboard


Get in the Sea


Next, it’s time to put the theory into real practice. Much of walking the board is being able to read the wave and know what can, and will, hold you up as you move around the board.


It will take much practice to work this out, as well as familiarising yourself with the movement and balanced required while in the water.


We hope our guide has inspired you to get you started if wanting to cross-step on your board! Remember to choose your wave wisely, stay low and keep your feet on the stringer at all times!


Are you excited to give it a go? Let us know how you get on and share any tips you find along the way on our social media channels!