Cross Stepping - Intermediate

  CROSS STEPPING FOR INTERMEDIATES

This section is for cross stepping skaters who are working toward the goal of taking four smooth steady steps to the nose, the traditional sequence. Several exercises will lead up to a three step sequence. The four step sequence and backpedal can be seen in Wave 1, in the context of a full "wave" hill ride routine.

Classic style boards have advantages
Use the whole board
Weight change cross stepping
Weight change step, leaving the tail
Weight change, approaching the nose
Save board space: Dig and kick your cross steps
Angle your feet

 

Classic style boards have advantages

Your board may have some say in this. If you're riding a new school longboard with kicked tail and kicked nose, so that tail and nose are interchangeable, four steps may not be the way. Space is cramped. Two steps may work fine, and I believe these boards should be walked on for hybrid tricks ie; an ollie to a nose landing then two cross steps back to the tail. Natural for this kind of board. But for the surf skating style, a classic board is used; long, flat, heavy. This type of board will allow four steps to a regular stance, or perhaps five steps to a parallel nose or fakey nose stance.

 

Use the whole board

Are you ready for the nose? "Nose riding starts at the tail." This is as true in surf skating as it is in surfing. Maybe for different reasons. Surfing well from the tail, turning properly, will set up nose rides. Surf skating from the tail will open up lots of space up front to nose ride on.

It looks a lot better to skate on the tail and walk up several steps to the nose to completely change the character of the skating than to stand in the middle and lean turn then step up needlessly. It's not easy to skate on the tail. The board wants to wheelie, it's loose, and balance is harder than hanging out on the middle like slalom carvers do. Go back to the pushes section and try to get your body weight over the middle to back half of the board while your feet are way back. That's the preparation you need for good walking and nose riding.

Once you can do a tail carve or kick carve in a narrow stance from way back, you're ready to set up a four step walk with style and smoothness. That's your goal.

 

Weight change cross stepping

In preparation for the three step sequence, two-step exercises that emphasize weight placement will be shown. These patterns allow you to step off the tail and approach the nose without throwing your board off balance. The basic idea is to keep your weight toward the middle of the board even if your feet are all the way on the tail or all the way on the tip.

Longboard surfers will benefit from this. These two sequences put together would be one four step walk to the nose on a long surfboard. The first skating exercise is the way to weight transfer off the tail, and the second one represents the next two steps up the nose.

 

Weight change step, leaving the tail

My feet are in a narrow tail stance. From here the board can easily be turned. But with the weight near the tail, it's pretty loose. Moving forward a lot will stabilize the board for a downhill run.

Next I take a cross step forward, in a fairly large step.

Here I transfer my weight forward, evenly and strongly, putting my weight on the new front foot. The effect is that the board stabilizes and settles down. The idea is to get off the tail and give up the looseness for some stability, or trim. In surfing, this step would flatten out the tail rocker and the board would accelerate, or trim.

 

Weight change, approaching the nose

This sequence has the opposite intention as the last sequence. Here the object is to move forward, while keeping the weight back. I start on the tail, as before.

My first move is to lower my weight, straight down over the front foot.

Next I cross step forward while continuing to lower. My weight is held over the left foot which bends deeply. The right foot is extended forward.

Now some weight is transferred forward onto the cross step, but an effort is made to hold it back. This is done by assuming a sitting position, like sitting in an imaginary chair in the middle of the board. My left foot uncrosses forward. Note I'm leading the step with the knee, keeping the toe on the board as long as possible.

I swing my left foot forward. This is a toe lead. The toe shoots forward, which makes the step quick and sure. It should be possible to do this without transferring the slightest bit of weight forward. In fact, it should be easier now to hold the chair position, because the left foot coming forward has some counterbalancing effect on the weight of the seat being held back.

I'm pressing backwards with my arms to keep more weight back. So the stance has changed from tail to nose stance, but very little weight has moved forward.

It's a solid hang five, that will not tip forward.

You can put in your mind the ideal weight transfer, which is to move your legs forward while your weight actually draws back. This may be impossible in reality, since you are putting weight on the legs up front. But the imaging helps the reality a bit.

In surfing, this weight change approach would be used to come off the trim spot into a hang five. In the hang five, no weight would be placed on the left foot, which hangs off. Some stalling might still occur, unless your board is a real nose rider. These boards do not stall until the weight is on the tip, ahead of the nose.

 

Save board space: Dig and kick your cross steps

One problem in skateboarding that you don't have in surfing is space. Unless you have a seven foot skateboard, you will have to take small steps if you want to get four of them in when cross stepping to the nose.

For taking small steps it helps to "dig" your heel toward the shin you just crossed. This will conserve space. Cross it in front then squeeze it back against the shin of the leg behind it.

On this forward step onto the nose I "dig" my right foot into my left. Note the tightly crossed position.

When backpedaling you "kick" the toe toward the calf you just crossed to tighten the feet close together.

 

Angle your feet

Walking on your board with feet parallel to it eats up walking space. Try to angle your feet across it, at about 45 degrees.

 

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