The cross step. Both graceful and functional, it’s how us long boarders really use the entire surfboard, from front to back & back to front. It’s how the most talented surfers dance and trim their way to the nose.
Ready to transform your longboard shuffle into a graceful cross step? Keep reading.
Start here: Practice on land!
Repetition of the cross step (or any technical surf skill) on solid ground will implant the physical movements into your muscle memory. If you can master the cross step on land, you’ll have a better chance of accessing the fancy footwork once on your surf board.
Cross step as you walk through the kitchen, while checking the waves, or while playing on your yoga mat. Practice it everywhere! Once the movement feels completely fluid and natural you can take it to the water.
The cross step setup goes like this- First, drop into your wave and get going down the line. Think about placing your feet closer to the inside rail of your surfboard, the rail that’s tucked into the wall of the wave. Then, it’s all about the stall. Shift your weight onto your back foot in order to slow down and steer the board up towards the top third of the wave. The stall often resembles a bottom turn, depending on the size and shape of the wave.
Taking the Step:
After the stall, it’s time to take the step(s). Shift your hips forward then let the feet follow. The back foot crosses over the front. To start, just cross your feet, hold, then right step back into your normal stance. Step lightly. Once this movement feels more comfortable, try and take a few more steps. The end goal is to take as many steps as needed (usually 2 or 3) in order to get your toes all the way to the nose.
Check out this video of SWA Co-Owner Jackie styling through a stall-to-cross-step combo during a Surf With Amigas Morocco retreat.
*As always, remember to take it slow, laugh through the wipeouts (there will likely be a lot of them), and surf with other ladies who inspire you to surf more + have fun!
Interested in nose riding? Stay tuned for a deep-dive on nose riding practice in the weeks to come.
After any surfer learns how to take off and drop into green waves, the next logical skill to learn is how to surf down the line. But, as we all know, learning how to go down the line and surf on the open faces of your waves is not as easy as it sounds.
If you are dropping in, getting stuck behind in the white wash, and are unable to reach the open faces of your waves, this tutorial is for you!
The video below is an oldie but goodie. Former SWA instructor Britney runs through tons of helpful surf advice that will help you improve your take-off. The best part? The video includes real-life video examples for each surf tip that’s provided.
We hope this tutorial helps you rack up your number of epic down-the-line waves! As always, if you have more video tutorial requests, contact us here.
The bottom turn. It’s the setup for most maneuvers in surfing. Want to get barreled? Do a cutback? A snap off the top?
A good bottom turn will set you up for success
We know its not as simple as it sounds, so here we are. We encourage you to play around with these techniques. Consider how your board feels different under your feet each time you try something new, and practice, practice, practice.
Below are 4 simple steps to improve your bottom turn:
Keep your back foot on the tail pad
The tail (back end) of the surfboard is the point where the board pivots and turns. If your stance is in the middle of your board and your back foot isn’t placed on the tail pad, you may notice that the board feels stiff and difficult to turn. If you don’t usually get your foot all the way back there, just start here! Practice this. Notice how the board starts to respond differently. Just get used to placing your foot back there, then move on to step 2.
Position yourself at the bottom of the wave
Mid-wave bottom turns just aren’t as good. Why? If you’re already halfway up the wave, there’s not much space to really set up for a good turn! The best a mid-wave bottom turn will ever produce is an average horizontal cutback. Try to get speed and pump yourself down to the bottom of the wave to set up for the bottom turn. This will ultimately give you more space on the wave to work with and result in a bigger, better maneuver.
Touch the wave with your inside hand/fingertips
Once you’re positioned at the bottom of the wave, try to reach your inside hand or fingertips down to touch the wave. This will automatically pull your chest down closer to the wave and get you in a lower stance. It also creates a pivot point on the wave. Creating this pivot point will not only give you more control, but will help direct the nose of your board more vertically up the wave. Getting the hang of this is seriously a game-changer! When you try it out you’ll know what I mean. It may be a technique that you’ve never even noticed before, but after reading this I encourage you to go watch a few surf videos (of short boarders) and you’ll notice that talented surfers do it on almost every single wave.
Look up (or ahead) at the section on the wave that you want to go to
The momentum from your bottom turn needs to take you somewhere! As you reach your inside hand into the water you should already be looking up (or ahead) at the part of the wave you’d like to go to. The purpose of a bottom turn is ultimately to set up for a barrel, snap, or cutback. Keep this in mind and keep your eyes on the prize as you set it all up.
We hope this 4 step guide to improve your bottom turn is helpful and encouraging. If you try out these techniques and they work for you, please share with us! If you’d like for us to break down another surf maneuver, contact us here.
What’s the best way to improve your surfing abilities? Besides clocking more hours in the water (obviously), we believe that playing back your own surf footage alongside an experienced surf coach isseriously the best way to improve. That’s why we offer video coaching as a standard part of almost all of our surf & yoga retreats. As most of you already know, our retreats are currently on hold, which means in-person video coaching is on hold too. For this reason, we’ve decided to offer virtual video coaching!
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Surfers can send their surf footage to SWA coach and former professional surfer, Holly Beck, and then schedule a one-on-one virtual surf coaching session which will be held on Zoom. In these sessions, Holly will analyze each surf clip and break down all the little details. The sessions will also include time for answering questions and discussing surfboards, reading waves, surf breaks, etc. Anything goes!
The coaching is not only perfect for Amigas who want to get their old SWA footage reanalyzed, but also great for other surfers who already have their own footage. If you don’t have any surf footage, stay tuned. We may have a few options for you in the near future.
Our goal is that surfers of all levels will come out of the coaching sessions re-energized, re-inspired, and equipped with specific techniques to help take their surfing abilities to the next level.
Stoked and wanting to learn more? Click here for all the details.
Standing on the beach and watching the waves with butterflies going crazy in your stomach. Paddling halfway to the outside only to turn back around out of fear or anxiety. Or making it to the outside but then feeling too far out of your comfort zone to catch any waves.
Here are three tools that may help you overcome anxiety in the ocean so you can tap into the joy of surfing and catch more waves.
Surf with friends (aka, surf with amigas!)
So much pressure is taken off when there’s a familiar face in the water. Surfing with friends means that someone can keep an eye on you, while you keep an eye on them. It also means that you can encourage each other to catch waves, cheer each other on, and laugh at the wipeouts together. Wiping out without a friend close by just isn’t the same. If you can’t line up a surf session with a friend, the next best thing you can do is chat with another surfer in the water. This will immediately take the edge off. Not to mention your new buddy will also be more likely to share a few waves with you!
Spend time swimming and playing in the ocean
Surfing comes with many challenges. Surfers have to learn how to read waves, build up paddle and core strength, be able to steer clear of other surfers in the water, and overcome big wipeouts, to name a few. We can all agree that it’s hard. Swimming and playing in the waves (close to shore) is a great way to open up a more playful mindset while you’re in the ocean. Laughing loud, jumping over and swimming under waves, body surfing in the shore pound, laughing loud all over again. These are just a few things that will not only teach you how to tap into a more relaxed and playful approach to surfing, but will also build your confidence in reading waves and being underwater.
Although this one’s a no brainer, it’s hard to remember to just breathe when you’re amidst the chaos! Deep, slow breaths will calm your nerves and get you re-centered. Try taking a few deep breaths every time you reach the outside and have a chance to sit up on your board. This will help to get rid of any panicky feelings you have and put you back in the zone. Try to make this a consistent practice.
We hope these simple tools help you calm your nerves and tap into the joy of surfing and ocean-play. If you try one of these tools and it works, we’d love to hear your story! If you have other practices that have worked for you, we’d love to hear about those too.