If you are someone who loves longboarding, then you certainly have heard of the cross step longboarding technique. Well, it’s just shifting your weight and moving your feet in a cross-step pattern.
To be precise, you will move your feet in a cross-like pattern from side to side rather than sliding them the traditional way. It is often used by downhill longboarders as an artistic expression. Moreover, it allows riders to showcase their style and creativity on the board.
Over time, the cross-step longboarding technique has gained popularity in the longboarding culture. However, as a professional longboarder myself, I see many people do the cross-step technique in the wrong way. That’s why today I am going to show you the correct techniques and styles for it. Let’s get started.
If you are looking for a recreational sport that provides a thrilling and engaging experience then longboarding is the way to go. It involves riding a longboard, which is a longer version of a skateboard. These boards are meant to be ridden on paved surfaces and are designed for stability and speed.
Looking back, longboarding was invented in the 1950s, and cross-step was 2-3 years after it. Nevertheless, it is safe to say that discovering the cross-step technique in longboarding was a game changer.
Longboarding originated in Hawaii by a surfer thus, everyone had plenty of opportunities to try it out, thanks to the island’s favorable location. They wanted to get the feel of surfing on the road, and the idea came of the longboarding on land.
As surfers experimented with numerous techniques and styles, cross-stepping appeared as a way to add fluidity and grace to their rides.
Similarly, as soon as the surfers come across the cross-step technique, they realize how much potential it holds. The surfers got obsessed with it as it was a way of expressing their creativity, style, and, most importantly, their freedom.
However, cross-step lost its popularity after it gained it in the 1960s and 1970s. Thanks to our star surfer and influencer named Joel Tudor for popularizing it again. Now, more people are leaning towards longboarding exponentially, and is expected to be a $2.4 Billion market size by 2025.
Cross-stepping isn’t only about show-off. There are numerous benefits you will receive if you use the cross-stepping method. So here they are;
Riders can equally spread their weight across the board by shifting their weight and moving their feet in a crisscross position. It is simpler to manage the board because of the evenly distributed weight. As a result, improved stability and balance while maneuvering is received.
Riders can produce a visually appealing rhythm by smoothly switching from one end of the board to the other. So, whatever the environment may be, the dynamic movement of cross-stepping stands out against different environments.
The cross-step method can be applied to a variety of riding styles to improve control and stability. So whether you are cruising, carving, or dancing, cross-steps are always there to add to your style.
Cross-stepping is a creative technique. The foundation of any effective approach is knowledge of the fundamentals. Nevertheless, sequencing, board movement, and arm movement are the fundamentals you need to understand when performing cross-step.
To generate momentum, footwork is one of the most critical aspects of cross-step longboarding. Here are the footwork basics;
- Cross-Step Sequence: Start with your dominant foot on the tail and your other foot on the ground. As you move, shift your weight onto your back foot and lift your front foot off the ground. Place your front foot forward, keeping your back foot on the tail.
- Foot Placement: To perform a proper movement, bend your knees and make sure to maintain parallel feet. Later, lift your heels slightly and position your toes outward and away from the movement direction.
- Weight distribution: To maintain balance and stability on a board, distribute your weight evenly over your feet with your knees bent and back straight, avoiding 60% of your weight on one foot at once.
Talking about weight distribution in the previous section, board movement also comes into play to help you distribute your weight properly. By shifting your weight and position on the board, you can distribute body weight over different areas. As a result, better control and stability are received.
Nevertheless, the board moves as you cross your feet during the cross step. It depends on how the weight is distributed and where you are standing. Maintaining stability and control while transferring weight from one end of the board to the other is the major objective here.
Overall, as you execute cross steps, the board responds by tilting and turning per your weight shifts. The degree of tilt and turn depends on factors such as speed and terrain.
Your arm movement is crucial to counterbalance the force when you shift your legs in between longboarding. By moving your arms to extend or retract, you can balance the center of gravity of the board.
On the other hand, professional riders also use their arms to express their style. With advanced movements you can also use advanced arm movements to complement your footwork and produce visually pleasing movements.
Undoubtedly, the cross-step technique is a high-quality skill; without practice, you won’t be able to perform it. Well, it took me a lot of time to learn it. Nevertheless, with my experience, I have come across some practices that you can do to learn it faster.
As a beginner, find a flat and open area where you can practice without any obstacles first. After that, stand on the longboard with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
By changing your weight from side to side without moving your feet, you can practice maintaining balance.
Once you are comfortable with it, you can try the cross-step drill. Start by standing in the middle of the longboard with your feet parallel to each other.
Afterward, shift your weight to the front foot while simultaneously bringing the back foot forward and positioning it next to or slightly behind the front foot.
Repeat this process for the overall lengths of the board, and you are ready to do intermediate practices.
One of the primary, intermediate cross-step techniques is pivoting. Here, you have to do a basic cross-step, but there is a twist. When you transfer your weight onto your front foot, initiate a pivot turn by shifting your weight toward the back of the board.
Later on, use your back foot to push the ground and turn the board in another direction. You will come across the board pivoting, and right at that moment, you perform a cross step and keep moving in the new direction.
Another important technique is the nose ride. Perform a basic cross step in the front of the board and transfer your weight onto your front foot. Also, make sure that your back foot is towards the tail of the board. Later on, slowly shift your weight forward until your toes are over the nose’s edge.
Here are some common mistakes that new riders often make during cross-step practice and how to avoid them;
- Leaning forward too much interrupts the posture. Simply sit tall with shoulders relaxed and feet shoulder-width apart.
- Placing feet too far forward or backward leads to instability. You have to keep your feet parallel to each other and directly under the knees.
- Gripping the handles too tightly affects overall balance. Just relax the grip and keep your hands light on the handles.
- Incorrect body alignment, such as being bent during the process. You have to keep the body straight and aligned with the direction of travel.
After all this, you can probably tell how versatile cross-step longboarding is. Over time, people figured out ways to implement cross-step in different styles. So, let’s check them out.
Implementing cross-step into dance routines makes the performance more stylish and elegant. Riders can produce a visually appealing routine that captivates both the audience and other riders by swiftly switching between various foot positions.
Here’s a video that will help you with dancing cross step;
Cross-step adds additional value to freestyle longboarding. Since the riders are meant to show their unique tricks, the cross step allows them to show flips, spins, and slides uniquely. Overall, it adds more complexity to the tricks, which makes it appealing to the audience.
Longboarders frequently come across various terrains and difficulties, such as cracks and bumps, while cruising. Well, with perfect cross-step skills, you will be able to properly distribute weight and change your stance to retain balance and control of the board.
On the other hand, carving involves shifting your weight from one side of the board to the other while leaning. Yet, you can effectively shift weight and adjust your stance during turns with cross-step skills. As a result, it allows you to make more fluid movements and tighter turns.
Learning new skills in longboarding, such as cross-step, can be difficult and hazardous. Thus, safety should be your priority. Here are some safety considerations when learning cross-step;
- Use Protective Gear: Before attempting any new longboarding technique, it is crucial to wear appropriate protective gear, such as helmets and pads. These protective gears can help reduce the impact of falls and protect vulnerable areas of the body from injuries.
- Suitable Riding Location: It is crucial to pick a suitable location that offers a secure learning environment when performing the cross-step. Look for flat, smooth areas with obstructions. This will reduce the chances of accidents exponentially.
- Start Slowly: When first learning the cross step, start by practicing at a slow speed rather than a high speed. As you are learning, it’s vital to master the footwork and weight-shifting technique first. Otherwise, you will make mistakes during the process and hurt yourself.
The longboard community is well-adapted to cross-step longboarding. Firstly, there are events and competitions that showcase cross-step techniques. These include the World Surf League (WSL) Longboard Tour and the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Longboard Championship.
On the other hand, there are multiple forums and communities present on the internet. One of my favorites is the Reddit group called Longboarding. Here, I have come across different longboarding enthusiasts who share their experiences. From there, you can learn a lot about it.
Nevertheless, I came across these forums later, and my friends whom I go longboarding with are the ones that made me excited about cross-step. From them, I have learned a lot, and certainly, they make this sport better by supporting unique techniques like cross-step and others.
If you are someone who loves longboarding, then there’s no reason not to learn new techniques to express yourself. Cross-step is one of those techniques that you learn to show your creativity and style while having fun in the back.
By smoothly switching from one end of the board to the other, you are eligible to come up with something new every time. Aside from that, cross-stepping is versatile, making it appropriate for every situation and acting as a style to the beat.
Here are some resources that might come in handy to master this technique;