The golden rules of longboard surfing
Longboard surfing is a synonym for good vibes, a loose attitude, and relaxed wave riding.
But whether you're a progressive longboarder or a classic logger, there are a few guidelines you should follow while sharing the lineup with other wave riders.
Longboards are not surfboards. They're bigger, heavier, and more dangerous. In other words, they're a dangerous weapon even for the most experienced nose rider.
And then, there's always a more or less pointy and sharp fin ready to cut a fellow surfer's skin in a split second.
So, take the following advice to heart. Ultimately, it's for your own good.
Always Wear a Leash
This should be the number one rule of the modern longboarder.
We all know longboard surfing involves a lot of cross-stepping. And sometimes, a leash is a problem because it hinders free movement on top of the board.
Some single-fin loggers have also adopted a no-leash because they've seen their favorite rides riding effortlessly down the line at idyllic and uncrowded point breaks without a leg rope.
Leashless longboards became a synonym for style. However, style has a high price.
A more or less heavier wipeout, a sudden fall, or a miscalculated duck dive will result in losing the board and potentially severe injuries inflicted on third parties.
Surfing without a leash is irresponsibility that may be penalized by law.
You may only go leashless on rare and particular occasions.
Stay Away From Swimmers and Crowded Peaks
When the surf is small, there are generally more people in the water enjoying a swim.
Remember that a swimmer cannot change direction or move sideways fast. So whether you're paddling out or riding a small roller, keep a conservative distance from everyone.
Also, remember that a crowded lineup with highly competitive paddlers will never be a good and safe environment for a logger.
Find a more comfortable, laid-back peak where you feel everyone is relaxed and quietly enjoying their time in the water.
Watch Your Back
When duck diving or performing a turtle roll in big waves, make sure not to ditch the longboard.
Otherwise, it may hit someone's head and leave him or her unconscious.
Calculate the underwater dive: look back for swimmers and surfers, adjust the trajectory if needed, and then focus on the task ahead.
Don't Take Your Longboard to the Big Waves
A longboard is not the weapon of choice for overhead surf, especially in fast, barreling waves with occasional closeout guillotines.
If you lose control of a longboard during strong swells, the chances of breaking a leash and injuring yourself and others are incredibly high.
They're too heavy and sometimes too big for quick and highly demanding bottom turns and, in case of a wipeout, will probably end up washing up on the beach.
Share the Waves
In most cases, longboard surfers will catch any wave earlier than anyone else. They often sit further outside and gain priority before shortboarders even start paddling.
So, in theory, they could take all the waves and leave nothing for their fellow shortboard surfers. The situation can lead to tense moments, hassling, and an unpleasant exchange of words.
Common sense tells us to avoid wave monopolies.
Therefore, don't be a wave hog. If you're a longboard surfer, let some good waves pass by so that everyone gets their share of pleasure.
Kick Out Safely
Whenever you finish a ride, make sure to keep your longboard near you at all costs.
You don't want it to hit someone's head, especially in windy conditions. Stylish and flashy, high-flying kick-outs are not worth the risk.
And remember: if you're transitioning from a shortboard to a longboard, you may have to adapt your exit strategies and behaviors to the new reality.