How to Gain Speed on a Longboard Surfboard

Longboarding is a thrilling and graceful form of surfing that offers surfers the opportunity to catch long, smooth rides and enjoy the ocean in a unique way. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer looking to improve your speed on a longboard surfboard, this article will guide you through essential techniques and tips to enhance your performance. By understanding body positioning, paddle technique, wave energy, trim and glide techniques, turns, equipment considerations, training, and safety precautions, you’ll be well on your way to gaining speed and maximizing your longboard surfing experience.

How To Gain Speed Surfing

Surfing on a longboard requires a slightly different approach compared to riding shorter boards. Longboards, typically ranging from 9 to 12 feet in length, offer stability, buoyancy, and smooth gliding capabilities, making them ideal for catching small to medium-sized waves. To gain speed on a longboard, it’s essential to optimize your body positioning, utilize wave energy effectively, and employ various techniques specifically tailored to longboarding.

Here’s a table summarizing the main techniques to gain speed on a longboard surfboard:

Proper StanceMaintain a centered stance with feet parallel and shoulder-width apart, distributing weight evenly.
Balancing and Weight DistributionShift weight slightly forward to increase contact with the water and enhance speed.
Efficient Paddling TechniqueUse long, powerful strokes with fully submerged hands to maximize paddling power.
Timing and Stroke PowerAnticipate waves and paddle with increased intensity to match their speed, applying more power.
Reading the WavesDevelop wave-reading skills to choose waves with steeper faces and consistent powerful energy.
Choosing the Right WaveFocus on catching waves with consistent and powerful energy for optimal speed potential.
Cross-Stepping and NoseridingMove feet toward the nose for weight distribution and extended time on the front of the board.
Trim Positioning for SpeedAdjust body weight forward or backward on the board to optimize speed according to wave conditions.
Pumping for SpeedCompress and extend your body and legs to generate speed while riding the wave.
Powerful Bottom TurnsShift weight and use arm and body rotation to execute turns, maintaining speed throughout.
Carving and CutbacksMaintain speed through smooth and fluid turns, utilizing rail engagement and body rotation.
Equipment ConsiderationsChoose a longboard suitable for your skill level, weight, and wave conditions.
Fins and Fin SetupsExperiment with different fin setups to optimize speed and control on your longboard.
Training and ConditioningFocus on core strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness to enhance longboarding performance.
Surfing Safety and EtiquetteFollow proper surfing etiquette and wear appropriate safety gear to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

How To Generate Speed Surfing

To generate speed while surfing, there are several key factors to consider. Here are some tips to help you generate more speed while surfing:

  1. Wave Selection: Choose waves that have a steeper face and good energy. These types of waves will provide more speed and power, allowing you to generate momentum.
  2. Paddle Power: Develop strong paddling skills to catch waves earlier and with more speed. This will give you a head start and help you generate speed right from the beginning.
  3. Trim and Balance: Maintain a balanced and centered stance on your surfboard. Position your feet correctly to optimize your weight distribution and keep the board running smoothly through the water.
  4. Bottom Turns: Execute powerful and well-timed bottom turns to generate speed. As you approach the bottom of the wave, lean into the turn and use the rail of your board to carve a clean arc. This technique will convert the wave’s energy into forward momentum.
  5. Pumping: Learn to pump your board to gain speed on the face of the wave. To pump, use your legs and body to drive the board up and down the wave’s face, creating momentum without losing control.
  6. Body Positioning: Keep your body low and compact while surfing to reduce drag and increase speed. Bend your knees slightly and stay close to the board, minimizing resistance from wind and water.
  7. Trim and Trim: Constantly adjust your trim by shifting your weight forward or backward on the board. This helps you find the sweet spot that maximizes speed and control.
  8. Speed Generating Maneuvers: Incorporate speed-generating maneuvers such as cutbacks, off-the-lips, and top turns into your surfing. These maneuvers utilize the power of the wave and your board’s design to generate speed.
  9. Equipment: Ensure you have the right surfboard for your skill level and the wave conditions. A board with good speed and maneuverability can greatly enhance your ability to generate speed while surfing.
  10. Practice and Experience: Ultimately, the more you surf, the better you will become at generating speed. Practice regularly and gain experience in different wave conditions to improve your skills.

Understanding Longboard Surfing

What is a longboard surfboard?

A longboard surfboard is a longer and wider surfboard designed for stability, ease of paddling, and catching smaller waves. It features a rounded nose, a wide and flat midsection, and a rounded tail, allowing for effortless gliding and maneuverability.

Benefits of longboard surfing

Longboard surfing offers numerous advantages. The increased length and buoyancy of longboards enable surfers to catch waves earlier, glide effortlessly, and maintain stability while riding. They are also great for performing stylish and timeless maneuvers such as noseriding and cross-stepping.

Body Positioning for Speed

To gain speed on a longboard, your body positioning plays a crucial role. The following techniques will help optimize your stance for maximum speed:

Proper stance on a longboard

Maintaining a proper stance is essential for stability and generating speed. Position yourself near the center of the board, with your feet parallel and shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees slightly and keep your weight evenly distributed.

Balancing and weight distribution

As you gain momentum, shift your weight slightly forward towards the front of the board. This helps to create a downward force, increasing the contact between the board and the water, which in turn enhances speed. Keep your upper body relaxed and centered, allowing for smooth and fluid movements.

Generating Speed Through Paddling

Efficient paddling technique is crucial for gaining speed on a longboard. Follow these tips to maximize your paddle power:

Efficient paddle technique

Use long, powerful strokes while paddling. Extend your arm fully and submerge your entire hand into the water, pulling it back towards your body. Engage your core muscles to generate more power in each stroke. Keep your strokes consistent and rhythmic, maintaining a steady paddling pace.

Timing and stroke power

Timing is key when it comes to catching waves and gaining speed. Watch the incoming sets and anticipate the wave’s arrival. As the wave approaches, paddle with increased intensity to match its speed. Apply more power in your strokes to propel yourself onto the wave and gain momentum.

Utilizing Wave Energy

Harnessing the energy of the wave is essential for achieving speed on a longboard. Consider the following techniques:

Reading the waves

Developing wave-reading skills is crucial for choosing the right waves to generate speed. Observe the wave’s shape, size, and direction. Look for sections of the wave that offer a steeper face or a clean wall. These sections provide better opportunities for gaining speed and performing maneuvers.

Choosing the right wave for speed

Focus on catching waves that have a consistent and powerful energy. Avoid waves that are too small or weak, as they may limit your ability to gain speed. Look for waves that have a steep face, allowing you to drop in and generate momentum.

Trim and Glide Techniques

Trimming and gliding techniques play a significant role in maintaining speed and flow on a longboard. Practice the following techniques:

Cross-stepping and noseriding

Cross-stepping involves moving your feet towards the nose (front) of the board while maintaining balance. This technique allows you to shift your weight forward and increase speed. Noseriding, where you position yourself on the front of the board, allows you to ride the nose and take advantage of the wave’s energy for prolonged periods, enhancing your speed and style.

Trim positioning for speed

Finding the right trim positioning is crucial for maintaining speed. Adjust your body weight forward or backward on the board, depending on the wave and the desired speed. Moving forward generates more speed, while moving backward increases control and maneuverability. Experiment with different trim positions to find what works best for you.

Pumping and Bottom Turns

Pumping and executing powerful bottom turns are effective techniques for gaining speed on a longboard. Follow these tips:

Generating speed through pumping

Pumping involves using your body and legs to generate speed by compressing and extending them while riding the wave. Coordinate your pumping movements with the wave’s energy to maintain and increase speed. Bend your knees and push down on the board as you move through the bottom turn, then extend your legs and push up as you transition into the next section of the wave.

Executing powerful bottom turns

Bottom turns are fundamental maneuvers that allow you to redirect your board and generate speed. As you approach the bottom of the wave, shift your weight slightly back and apply pressure on your toes or heels, depending on the desired direction. Use your arms and upper body to initiate the turn, generating speed and setting yourself up for subsequent maneuvers.

Carving and Cutbacks

Maintaining speed through turns is crucial for a dynamic and fast longboarding style. Practice the following techniques:

Maintaining speed through turns

To maintain speed while turning, focus on smooth and fluid transitions. Avoid excessive dragging or stalling of the board as you execute the turn. Instead, engage your rail and use a combination of body rotation and weight transfer to guide the board through the turn. This allows for a continuous flow of energy and maintains your speed throughout the maneuver.

Performing smooth cutbacks

Cutbacks are essential for changing direction while maintaining speed. As you approach the top of the wave, initiate the cutback by shifting your weight and redirecting your board towards the breaking part of the wave. Use your upper body and arms to pivot the board smoothly, generating speed and setting yourself up for the next section of the wave.

Equipment Considerations

Choosing the right equipment is crucial for optimizing your speed on a longboard. Consider the following factors:

Choosing the right longboard

Select a longboard that suits your skill level, weight, and wave conditions. Longer boards generally offer more stability and glide, while shorter boards provide increased maneuverability. Consider the volume and shape of the board to ensure it aligns with your surfing style and preferences.

Fins and fin setups for speed

Experiment with different fin setups to enhance speed on your longboard. Fin configurations such as single fins, thrusters (three fins), or quads (four fins) offer different levels of speed and maneuverability. Adjust the fin placement and size to find the setup that optimizes your speed and control.

Training and Conditioning

Improving your speed on a longboard requires physical fitness and practice. Focus on the following aspects:

Physical fitness for longboarding

Developing core strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular endurance is essential for longboarding. Incorporate exercises such as yoga, swimming, and strength training to improve your overall fitness. A strong core and upper body will enhance your paddling power and maneuverability on the board.

Practicing speed-generating maneuvers

Dedicate time to practicing specific maneuvers that generate speed, such as pumping, bottom turns, and cutbacks. Find an open and safe area in the water where you can focus on executing these maneuvers repeatedly. Through practice and repetition, you’ll develop muscle memory and improve your ability to generate speed on demand.

Safety Tips and Precautions

Surfing safely is crucial for enjoying your longboarding experience. Keep the following tips in mind:

Surfing etiquette and awareness

Respect other surfers in the water and adhere to proper surfing etiquette. Be aware of your surroundings, maintain a safe distance from other surfers, and follow the right-of-way rules. Communicate and signal your intentions to avoid collisions and ensure a harmonious surfing environment.

Wearing appropriate safety gear

Protect yourself by wearing a leash, which keeps you connected to your board in case of a wipeout. Consider wearing a wetsuit or rash guard to protect your skin from the sun and potential abrasions. Always surf within your skill level and be aware of the current conditions to minimize the risk of injury.


  1. How long does it take to gain speed on a longboard? The time it takes to gain speed on a longboard varies for each individual. With consistent practice and proper technique, you can start noticing improvements in speed within a few weeks or months.
  2. Can I gain speed without using wave energy? While utilizing wave energy is the most efficient way to gain speed on a longboard, you can still generate speed through efficient paddling and executing maneuvers such as pumping and bottom turns. Although wave energy provides an additional boost, mastering these techniques can help you gain speed even in flat or small wave conditions.
  1. Do I need advanced surfing skills to gain speed on a longboard? Gaining speed on a longboard doesn’t necessarily require advanced surfing skills. However, having a basic understanding of paddling, trimming, and maneuvering techniques will greatly enhance your ability to generate speed and maximize your longboarding experience.
  2. Are there any specific board shapes that enhance speed? Certain board shapes, such as those with narrower tails and more pronounced rocker, can enhance speed by reducing drag and improving maneuverability. However, it’s important to find a board shape that suits your skill level and wave conditions to optimize your overall performance.
  3. Can I use the same techniques for other surfboard types? While some techniques, such as proper body positioning and efficient paddling, can be applied to different surfboard types, certain maneuvers and strategies may vary depending on the board’s characteristics. It’s recommended to adapt your approach and techniques according to the specific surfboard you’re riding.


Gaining speed on a longboard surfboard requires a combination of proper technique, wave knowledge, and equipment selection. By optimizing your body positioning, mastering paddle technique, utilizing wave energy, and refining your maneuvers, you’ll enhance your speed and overall performance in longboarding. Remember to prioritize safety, practice regularly, and enjoy the unique experience of gliding across the waves on a longboard.

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