There are different types of surfing boards – they can be long and short, wide and narrow, for big and for small waves. Obviously, each board has its advantages and disadvantages. Today we are talking about longboards, their pros and cons.
Say YES to a long board if
The waves are spilling and knee-deep.
The type and size of a wave determines the choice of a board. Quite often we do not have a right, good swell, so the waves are small. Or you have come to a place where big and abrupt waves are rare guests.
Small waves like big boards due to their extra buoyancy and speed that you can reach when paddling out. With a long board you can catch even the most spilling waves and the board’s weight allows keeping the speed for a long time. Besides, long boards do not have a rocker, so they do not slow down when riding straight. There are some other boards that are good for weak spilling waves, but a long board is ideal.
Nose ride is one third of the board length and that is the feature that longboard’s shorter brothers do not have. In most boards noses are of no use; sometimes they are used to increase the rocker but more often to decorate – it is a nice place to put some stickers on!
With a long board you can spend half of your wave ride standing on a board nose. However, if you’d like to ride on the nose, you have to move there somehow. And that is when cross stepping comes into play. If you want to experiment in surfing, then a long board is a perfect tool for it.
A number of days and waves we ride influence greatly our surfing skills and experience. But unfortunately, waves and their quality are the things we cannot control. Sometimes the waves are perfect, but we are too busy to go surfing. When we have time to hit the board, the waves might disappear. A long board can guarantee that you will go surfing more often! You can ride glassy waves of 1.5 meters with practically any board. But when the waves are knee-deep and their quality leaves much to be desired, then there is nothing better than a long board. It will give you much more fun and the chance to surf not 200, but 300 days a year!
More waves to catch
It is true that with a long board you can catch more waves. It is not the reason though to become mean and greedy, to take every wave and not to let other surfers ride. If you are an experienced surfer, then you are able to ride basically every wave you are paddling out for. But if you are a beginner in surfing, a long board will give you more waves and more time on a board. And in case you are so lucky to be alone on the spot, you will have the opportunity to ride practically non-stop making turns and cross steps, paddling out to the lineup and catching a wave after a wave.
A long board is obviously perfect for beginners as it makes it easier to catch waves. It is a good choice for professionals as well since it gives more surfing time and more opportunities to understand all nuances of how a wave is formed and breaks.
The first association that comes to mind when you hear “a long board” is style. Long board rides havecertain grace and elegance.
Surfing a long board is a great way to relax. Besides, you can share the waves more happily as most surfers at a longboarding spot can catch almost any wave so the atmosphere at the lineup is much friendlier as you do not have to fight for priority.
If you are looking for the ways to relax and unwind, then a long board is exactly what you need.
Say NO to a long board if
Fast, tubing waves. Shallow water.
Long boards are good for various waves. However, when waves are abrupt, steep and fast, a long board is not a best option. It is easier to catch a wave with a long board but only the moment the wave starts growing. So, when you are already riding it, it is ok to get into the tube. The fast start with a long board is quite problematic, though, because the board is long, flat, practically with no rocker. These factors quite often make it nose down. And in case you are surfing in shallow water, your long board can nose down right into the sand, rocks or reefs.
It is a fact that long boards are rather clumsy. Even if you are able to make a turn, it looks awkward as two thirds of your board are jutting out of water. Agility is still all relative even if you ride a lightweight board that is designed for maneuvers. A long board always drags behind in comparison with even a clumsiest short one. If you are aiming at fast turns, fin acceleration, bottom turns, then a long board is out of question. Well, of course, there are some skilled longboarders who could argue that you are able to do the same maneuvers and tricks that you do on a short board. But let’s be honest – we are not those longboarders to start with. And anyway, the maneuvers might look the same but the emotions of doing them are absolutely different. Actually, an average surfer on an average long board is half as maneuverable as a shortborder.
Big waves \ duck dive.
Longboard surfing is excellent when the waves are a meter high; however, four-meter high waves can cause some problems. It is a bit easier at the spots that have channels. But when you are caught inside, or when an outside is approaching, here where troubles begin.
A short board allows quite deep duck dives. An Eskimo roll is the best option on a long board, but with this – whether you want it or not – you will be thrown away closer to the shore with every wave. The higher the waves are, the more often you will have to let go of your board and thus run a high risk of being without the board the moment a wave breaks as your leash might not survive.
Short boards are much better on bumpy days.
You hate dancing
Riding a long is like dancing. Longboarding has always been associated with style, board walking, elegant turns, a variety of poses and stances. The more you ride, the more unique your style is becoming. And if this style is not for you, then your choice will be either a short board or riding a long but shortboarding style, i.e. with various tricks and sharp turns.
A long board is huge, uncomfortable, very wide, heavy… Its storage and transportation causes certain problems. It is particularly so if you have a small house, a small car or just short arms! Sometimes a difference in 1.6 feet between a 8-feet fanboard and a 9.6-feet noserider decides if it is going to fit into your car or squeeze into your door.
And then again – traveling. One of the reasons of not riding a long board is a trouble that you have to deal with when transporting it from point A to point B. Some airlines accept the boards not longer than 10 feet, but some can carry only 7 feet long ones. In fact, it is often not easy just to get to some beaches with a long board – imagine carrying it when you have to climb 300 steps!
If you are really into longboarding, then you can cope and live with this inconvenience. But if you are taking a decision, then think twice.
When making a decision which board to ride, first of all you have to choose the surf spot that is the best for your style, and waves you prefer to surf. Maybe, you like an aggressive style of a shortboard and these “logs” are not for you. Or maybe comforting and relaxing surfing is what you need, and then a long board is just exactly what you need.
Remember though that you are not chained to one board. Of course, it would be ideal if you could have a couple of boards, including a long, a short and something in between. If you feel that you are stuck and not progressing in shortboarding, you can switch to a long one, and vice versa. In fact, it really helps look at surfing from a different, new angle.
We surf to have fun and enjoy it. And a first step on the way to surfing pleasure is a right board under your feet.