How Skateboarding Can Make You a Better Surfer

Just because there are no waves doesn't mean you can't surf

Skating and surfing go hand in hand – like chips and salsa. Photo: Vans US Open of Surfing

Significantly, skating also allows for more board time. “Since a small fraction of our time ‘surfing’ is actually up on our feet riding waves on our boards, practicing board-body technique via a skateboard can really help with muscle-memory,” says Green.

Out in the ocean, every wave is different and there’s often a long wait between rides due to swell period or crowds. “Every wave is different in surfing. But in a skatepark, you can hit the same bowl again and again”But in a skatepark or out on the street, you can hit the same bowl or driveway again and again, until you get a manoeuvre down. That muscle memory built on a skateboard can translate to your next surf session.

Green says skating also helps with focusing on subtle techniques for controlling the board that are more elusive on the water, such as toe pressure, ankle flex, and hip-body centre placement.

This practice on land, he observes, “translates into the same awareness and natural response while on your surfboard.”

The basics of tic tac. Photo: Board Crazy

Other skate moves also flow from pavement to water.

For example, tic tacs – small kick turns with a carve to generate forward momentum – imitate the mechanics of “pumping down the line” on a shortboard in surfing.

“Once you get tic-tac-ing quickly, and generating speed, then adding a carving 180-degree turn or tailslide grind imitates pumping down the line on a wave, going into a roundhouse cutback then into an aggressive top turn,” Green says.

“Just visualise and play with flowing from one move to the next, generating speed when you need to keep going.” And, he notes, it’s good core and leg exercise too. “My surfing has improved because I skate…”

Sugar Molina, a novice surfer in San Diego, agrees that skateboarding has helped her to surf better.

“As much as I would like to surf everyday, sometimes this is not possible, and this inconsistency interfered with training my balance,” she says.

But because Molina is able to skateboard almost daily, she found her balance as well as recovery from falling continued to get better.

“I use the skills I learned on my skateboard when I surf and constantly try to make those connections,” she adds. “My surfing has improved because I skate and I have plenty of room for improvement on both.”


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