Adam Griffiths, runs through the vital components of log riding and gives you his top tips for improving your surfing.
Words by Adam Griffiths
Before we start I'm just going to clear up what a log is. When I say log I'm talking about, a heavy single ﬁn, 9ft or over, weighing in at 6+ kilos, with 50/50 rails and no hard resin edges.
In my personal opinion when riding a log, it's all about having fun and getting back to the roots of where surﬁng started and experiencing the glide and speed the board has behind it. Try to surf a variety of boards to suit the conditions from short to long, retro to performance. My motto when surﬁng is to pick a board that suits the conditions of the day. I see too many people on the wrong boards for the conditions or just stuck in that performance shortboard mind set. So why not try different boards, open up your mind and it will only help you to become a better surfer all round. This now brings me on to my ﬁve tips for logging, not every one will agree but I hope you ﬁnd something helpful in here.
Wave selection is really important when riding a log, In my opinion it's really important to choose the right conditions for the board, obviously these heavy single ﬁns are perfectly suited to small, clean conditions. Ideally a small peeling point but the majority of us probably don't live near one. So as a general rule these boards don't really like choppy waves, especially if it's a beach break or if its closing out. Try to ride these boards in clean waves in the 1-4 ft range.
Setting Up For a Nose Ride
You want to kick the bad habit of shufﬂing to the nose as early as possible before it becomes ingrained in your mind. Cross stepping is all about becoming conﬁdent with where your feet are on the board and working out how many steps it takes to get to the nose.Positioning yourself within the correct part of the wave is essential when wanting to set up for a nose ride. When wanting to perform a nose ride on takeoff, you have two options. The main objective is to lose some speed before running to the nose.This can be done by either performing a mid-faced bottom turn in the top half of the wave and using your back foot to stall, by not using the bottom part of the wave not as much speed will be gained. Or taking off on a 45 degree angle towards the white water in the opposite direction you plan to surf across the wave. If you get into the wave nice and early this will allow you to swing the board around in the top part of the wave. Again a mid-faced bottom turn would be used in this instance. A slight stall on the back foot will help to wash off some speed as well. This should set you up for cross stepping towards the nose. Things to remember:
- Use the back foot to stall and wash off speed.
- Use your hand and arm in the wave face to stall and slow down.
- If you go to the bottom of the wave you will have too much speed.
There is a massive difference between cross stepping or shufﬂing to the nose. You want to kick the bad habit of shufﬂing to the nose as early as possible before it becomes ingrained in your mind. Cross stepping is all about becoming conﬁdent with where your feet are on the board and working out how many steps it takes to get to the nose. If you're not hitting the nose straight away don't worry, it will take time and patience but at least you are cross stepping instead of shufﬂing. Try to ﬁnd out what works for yourself and the size of board you're riding.
Things to remember before cross stepping:
- Make sure you have set yourself up for the nose ride, i.e. slowed down enough.
- You're not going to get it ﬁrst time, the more you practice the more familiar you will become with where your feet are positioned on the board
- Sometimes a slight foot shufﬂe forward (just a few inches) before cross stepping might just get your feet in the right spot if you ﬁnd yourself not quite hitting the nose.
Nose Riding (Hang 5)
Once on the nose, the natural thing to do is become greedy and get stuck up on the nose until you pearl. You need to look down the line to see what the next section of the wave is doing, don't get to greedy. Remember you can always step back and re-adjust then cross step back to the nose. Things to remember:
- On your front side you can use your hand to stall or act as a stabiliser.
- You should be constantly making small weight adjustments between your legs when on the nose (if it's a fat section your going to want more weight on the back foot).
- Don't hog the nose you want to complete the manoeuvre.
When riding a heavy log, half of the fun is the amount of speed they have when your line is set. The weight and speed of the board creates a glide or trim feel like no other. So don't forget to just stand there a feel the glide every once in a while and get back to the roots.