Cross-stepping: taking one foot forward or backward at a time | Photo: Shutterstock

Cross-stepping is one of the main wave-riding techniques in longboard surfing. Learn how to move your weight forward and backward along the log.

In a way, it sure looks like dance moves over water.

When doing a cross-step, the surfer travels up and down the longboard with gracefulness and simultaneously fluid footsteps.

All footwork involved in cross-stepping is similar to dancing the waltz or tango - with rhythm and balance, but on a surfboard.

The goal is to walk the length of a longboard while maintaining total control of the ride.

It all starts with a basic wave riding, upright position, or stance and often ends with a hang five or hang ten.

The cross-stepping technique is simple and relatively easy but requires practice and a pinch of salt and pepper which, when it comes to longboarding, is called style or finesse.

"There are two things that you should pay attention to when performing a cross-step," underlines two-time world longboard champion Beau Young.

"The first is to keep your weight centered as you step. The second is to take slow, wide, even, and centered steps along the board."

Cross-stepping: a fundamental move in longboard surfing | Photo: Williams/Creative Commons

Cross-Stepping 101

Time to do a flawless cross-step on your longboard:

  1. With your body angled, knees slightly bent, and the board trimming along the face of the wave, take one large shoulder-width step by bringing your back foot across the front foot;
  2. Your weight will be transferred to the front foot;
  3. Keep your back foot's heel up and place a minimal amount of weight upon your toes;
  4. Get used to the feeling of crossing the front leg back and forth;
  5. Do not hurry the cross-stepping process;
  6. As soon as the traveling foot touches the board's deck, bring the other foot from the back to the front;
  7. Remember to keep both feet in the original angles to the stringer throughout the process;
  8. Avoid pointing your toes straight ahead;
  9. Have you reached the nose? Need to go backward? Reverse the process and make sure you don't lift one foot until the other is planted;
  10. Keep your weight perfectly centered over your feet and your shoulders parallel to the board;

Cross-stepping's ultimate goal is to walk all over the longboard by taking as many or as few steps as you wish.

The faster the longboard is traveling, the harder it becomes to cross-step with elegance and grace.

Two things are not welcome in the longboarder's etiquette - shuffling and skipping. Avoid them at all costs.

Ideally, cross-stepping should look and feel like a natural body movement executed at the right time of a ride.

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