4 Tips for Improving Your Noseriding
Harnessing an ocean wave and sliding across its surface is incredible, in-and-of-itself. Doing that while perched way out on the nose of a 9-something longboard seems physics defying. It's thrilling and difficult to master, which is why we pay so much respect to the surfers who make it look so easy.
1. The setup, the setup, the setup.
You have to take one step backward before you can take three steps forward (literally and figuratively). Get comfortable surfing the back 1/3 of the board before attempting to head to the front 1/3.
The old adage "learn to walk before you run" is appropriate when learning to master the art of the noseride. Get comfortable cross-stepping backward to set up before attempting to head toward the bow.
2. Keep your eyes on the stringer while cross stepping.
Your feet will follow your eyes. If you keep your eyes locked on the stringer as a guideline, your feet will stay centered on the board. If your eyes wander, your feet will wander as well. You will need to stay centered and balanced when venturing forward.
3. Aim 6” short of the nose
Walking to the nose of a surfboard is not the same as walking to the end of a diving board, the board is actually moving backward slightly as you walk forward. You will often see surfers run right off the end of the board. Don't be a lemming, aim to stop short.
4. Error on the side of putting more of your weight on the uphill side of the board.
The primary force in surfing is lift. The concave in the nose of a longboard is designed to create lift on the face of a wave. If you get your balance out over the outside rail of the board, the wave will pick you up and dump you right into the flats. Keep that inside rail firmly planted in the wave face.
Think about the line you are traveling, and where it will take you when you speed up. Moving to the nose of your longboard will cause you to speed up. So you want to set up deeper than you'd like to be and then use the speed to catch up to the pocket.
This can be done by taking a high-line, and angling slightly toward the beach as you start your cross-step.
This can also be done when you are taking a lower line on the wave, angling slightly up the face, and using a noseride to accelerate your way back up into the pocket of the wave. (This requires more pressure on the inside rail, utilizing the lift of the rail to accelerate the board.)
Review these steps in your mind during the idle lulls between sets, and have fun out there.
For an example of great footwork, watch Nathan Adams riding a 9'6 Lumberjack below, particularly on the first wave.