Loggin’ is not for everyone – but those who add a longboard to their quiver will certainly be rewarded with pure joy even on the tiniest, weakest of days. That’s not to say you can’t get radical on a log, though.
The longboard is probably synonymous with surfing itself – up until the 60s, it was pretty much the longboard and only the longboard.
What is a Longboard Surfboard?
A longboard can describe a surfboard that’s anywhere from about 8’ to 12’, with most falling in the 9’ to 10’ range. Longboards typically feature:
- A low-medium rocker.
- Round nose.
- Parallel shape.
- Square tail.
- Single for or 2+1 fin setup.
Longboards have excellent stability with a huge planning surface that makes paddling, catching waves, and holding lines really easy.
Obviously, it does lack the maneuverability of a shorter surfboard, but once you get used to a particular longboard, you’ll be able to move and pivot as you need to.
Longboarding requires you to use the whole board and pay attention to how the wave is breaking to really get the most out of it.
Moving your body, weight, and foot positioning relative to the wave makes for the super smooth style that comes to mind when thinking about longboarding.
Noseriding and hanging ten are probably what comes to mind for surfers and non-surfers alike when they think about longboarding. Longboard surfboards specifically designed for noseriding and more of that classic style of surfing often include some of the following design elements:
- A rounder bottom.
- A wider tail.
- A larger, wider fin.
- A wider nose.
- Rounder rails.
- Spoon nose bottom to create lift.
All of these features come together to create a board that’s more stable and a bit slower – making cross-stepping and noseriding easier.
Is it Easier to Learn to Surf on a Longboard?
Given their speed, stability, and paddle power – a longboard is a good choice for learning to surf.
The main drawback for beginners is typically when the surf has any real size or power to it. You can’t really duck dive a longboard, so unless a beginner can flip over and turtle dive or choose a path of least resistance, the longboard might feel like an anchor when trying to get through the surf.
Longboards are the perfect choice when the waves are small and peeling or slow and rolling.
Longboards make paddling easier, they make catching gutless waves easier, and they provide you with a slower, more relaxed style of surfing.
If you only ride shortboards, switching up your surfs with a longboard can be beneficial. You’ll develop a deeper understanding for waves, you’ll refine your own surfing style, and your overall surfing will likely improve.
History of the Longboard
The longboard IS the history of surfing. It’s what evolved from the giant, solid wood boards the Hawaiians rode to the early hollow wood, balsa, and eventually foam boards of the early 20th century.
It wasn’t until the 50s-60s that boards started getting significantly shorter. But even today, some of the greatest surfing is performed on a longboard, and it’s a great choice for when the waves are small, clean, and rolling.