Cross Stepping - Technique

  CROSS STEPPING TECHNIQUE

Leg and foot details in cross stepping
Knee leads
Toe leads
Heel leads
Side edge leads
Pressing
Foot angle
Brushing

 

Leg and foot details in cross stepping

Cross steps are not quite like normal walking. The feet have to control and steer a moving board below while carrying a body above. A number of techniques can be used to maintain the pressure of the feet on the board and help smooth out the flow of steps.

This stuff may seem insanely complex. I'm sorry if it's heavy reading. Really it's basic "smooth walking" technique borrowed from ballroom dance. It transfers perfectly to longboarding. The more articulate the step, the smoother it is. After a while you memorize the technique and take smooth steps without even thinking about it. Just don't walk like this away from your board. People will think you're sneaking up on them.

Bending the knees is the most important. Keep the knees bent to the same degree all through the steps. The head will stay at the same height. Imagine a bunch of low tree branches over the road you're skating on, above your head, and make sure you don't stand up straight and get clobbered.

Smooth walking techniques

Knee leads

Leading a step with different parts of the leg or foot gives a step a different look and feel. Knee leads give lots of control, because the toe stays on the board a long time. Start the step with your knee poking forward. Take it slow. Your foot will bend at the ball, your toes staying on the board.


Left knee lead

 

Toe leads

Toe leads are great for walking backwards. Think of shooting that toe back like an antenna, feeling for the spot. Toe leads are pretty natural for walking forward. Swing your foot past the other leg. Reach for the board with the toe or ball of the foot. Place the toes and ball of the foot down first, gaining some control, then lower the heel.

 

Heel leads

The heel can lead the cross step. It has a couple of uses. When you're trying to keep weight on the heelside rail, all steps have to be heel leads. The foot is flexed so the heels can press on the rail. This is useful for surfers who want to practice walking on backhand waves.

The heel lead can also be a good way to get a big step that is in control, not a leap. Bend the knee on the standing leg so you get real low and push the crossing leg's heel way forward. It's a solid step, and looks cool as well.

 

Side edge leads

The side edge of the foot can lead a step. This is a little complicated, and it will be explained with an illustration in the three step sequence on the intermediate pages. Think of a soccer style kick. A cross step follows an inner edge lead. With the foot turned out, the arch or inner edge of the foot leads, the back edge comes down first, then the inner edge hinges down.

 

Pressing

Press on your board with your feet for control. To maintain pressure on the control surfaces of your board and trim at all times through the walk, the knees must be flexed. Don't be light. I've read surfing articles saying you must be light on your feet to cross step. Sure, if you want the board to fly out from under you. You want to put weight on the board to control it. You can LOOK like you're light footed by having spring and by stretching your upper body. That will come with mastery. But, at the beginning, get some weight and pressure on the board, and try to feel which way the board wants to go through the pressure, communicating with your board.

 

Foot angle

If you keep the back foot turned in and the front turned out, you should be able to make contact with almost your whole foot on the board. This way you are able to steer while cross stepping by pressing on the rail with either toes or heels. Try to keep your feet at the same angle, and don't let them flop around to the right or left.

 

Brushing

Brushing the feet against the board and the legs close to eachother is another way of keeping control. As you take your knee lead step, brush the foot close to the standing leg. This is so there wont be any swing to the side which could throw the balance off. Let the tip of the toe brush a little on the board, so there's always a little pressure on the deck. There is a great feeling of security with brushing, because the feeling of riding on one leg is lessened.

 

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