Summer is upon us and so too are fair weather loggers. You know, folk who bust out the longboard when the water is blue, the sun hot, swells modest in size and strength and the vibes oh so cruisy. I count myself firmly among their rank. 

But as with anything fun, there are pitfalls. There are quirks of etiquette, decorum, taste and decency... even health and safety issues.

How to get up to the nose without sinking? How to get up to the nose without shuffling.

Should you wear a leash, and if so, one that goes halfway up your leg, for reals? How to not just become a wave hog wave hog bore, doing bad shortboarding on a longboard?

Well don’t ask me, I’m guilty as charged on all counts (except perhaps the leash) - ask Sir James Parry. A Cornish longboard cat on the Vans team who gets props from the legit log lords (Knost, Tudor et al.), he's a gentleman scholar with an keen eye for the aesthetic guy, as well as a wholesome handle on the beauty within.

"If you haven't done much longboarding, the best way to approach it would be just enjoy the simplicity... the feeling of trim and positioning on a wave that creates the speed and flow"

Longboarder James Parry shows you how to surf a longboard

Jimmy's Essential Longboard Tips

1. Cross-stepping: Keep your line down the stringer, keep the flow in your steps and don't hesitate to take the step. As soon as you stop half way through your cross step you're totally off balance.

2. Toes over the nose: Your tail needs to be as deep in the pocket as possible or white water, that's the part that keeps the nose from sinking. The water folding over the tail and pushing down creates the nose to lift.

3. Knee paddling: It's easier to go into a knee paddle if you have a tiny bit of speed in the first place. Just make sure you're evenly balanced in the centre of the board and keep practising. The bigger the board the easier it will be.

4. Leash? I think that it's best to learn without one, to be in control at all times and be aware that you're going to fall. Having the awareness of others around you is so important. Depending on places and conditions, sometimes it's inevitable & you have to wear one.

5. Vibe: To be open minded and happy to ride anything is great, I feel that I learn so much more when I ride a variety of different shapes and sizes.

Longboarder James Parry hangs 5, demonstrating how to surf a longboard
 

It’s hot out there, Jimmy. Even ardent shortboard wigglers are turning to log-ier boards. Any general advice in terms of taking that different approach...?

If you haven't done much longboarding, the best way to approach it in my eyes would be just enjoy the simplicity of riding a wave. The feeling of trim and positioning on a wave that creates the speed and flow for you. This will transfer to your shortboarding once the waves are more suitable.

I'm a repeat offender in terms of shuffling up the nose, rather than cross-stepping. How offensive is this to the purist? Would you cat sick in your mouth if you saw me?

Haha. You don't see people shuffling down the street. Walking is as close to cross stepping as you get. Just need to keep your line down the stringer, keep the flow in your steps and don't hesitate to take the step. As soon as you stop half way through your cross step you're totally off balance. Even just learning one step forwards and one step back is a good start. There's no need to shuffle. I would say it's harder to shuffle than to cross step.  

Longboarder James Parry shows you how to surf a longboard

I tend to sink the nose most of the time, every time.

If you're sinking the nose, you're positioning yourself in the wrong part of the wave. Your tail needs to be as deep in the pocket as possible or white water, that's the part that keeps the nose from sinking. The water folding over the tail and pushing down creates the nose to lift. Follow the stringer and keep your weight central.

Get a feel for how many steps are comfortable (the more the better) you see a lot of people taking two steps and it takes the smoothness and grace out of it. It shows more control being able to take more steps and do it in a smooth motion. If you do what I mentioned in the previous questions, you should get an understanding of how to get your toes over.

"If you're sinking the nose, you're positioning yourself in the wrong part of the wave"

Knee paddling looks way radder. Any advice there?

I like to mix it up from prone to knee paddling. It changes what muscle groups you work with. Knee paddling is more of a core strength and using your hips to keep balance. It's easier to go into a knee paddle if you have a tiny bit of speed in the first place. Just make sure you're evenly balanced in the centre of the board and keep practising. The bigger the board the easier it will be.

 

"Depending on places and conditions, sometimes a leash is inevitable, and you have to wear one"


Joel Tudor hates the calf leash. Any leash tips? Always/never/sometimes?

It's a tough one really. I personally don't think the leash does me any good, I haven't had one for so long that it makes me fall off all the time when I wear one on my smaller boards. On a longboard, cross-stepping so often causes the leash get wrapped around your leg. There's nothing more frustrating. I feel so much more confident without one.

When you're learning, I think that it's best to learn without one, to be in control at all times and be aware that you're going to fall. Having the awareness of others around you is so important.

It's so easy to let go of your board knowing that you have a rope attached and that it won't leave you. So many times I've come up from a duck dive and I've got a board tomb-stoning next to me that someone had just ditched. If they didn't have that option, they might take more care.

Depending on places and conditions, sometimes it's inevitable & you have to wear one.


Longboarding isn't just about different technique/equipment... it's like a whole different vibe, right? It's jazz, to angry shortboarding's Nu Metal...

For me and you will see pretty much all the top longboarders absolutely rip on shortboards. I longboard when the conditions are right and I get so stoked when I can pull out my shortboard. I love surfing and I dislike getting angry, the only times are when I take out the wrong board for the conditions. To be open minded and happy to ride anything is great, I feel that I learn so much more when I ride a variety of different shapes and sizes.