How To Pop Up On A Surfboard

Learning how to pop up on a surfboard is the critical step to progress up to standing and surfing. It takes some practice and a bit of strength, and being on an uneven floaty platform to start with doesn’t help but it isn’t too hard to do.

Practicing The Pop Up Itself

Before we look at doing this on a surfboard out in the water, let’s look at the move itself, and this is a move you can start to get used to in the comfort of your own living room – on steady, flat ground!

So to practice the pop up on steady, dry land  I would recommend doing this on your surfboard so you get used to positioning. Just make sure you take the fins of first and do it on a soft surface so you don’t ding it

How to pop up on a surfboard:

  1. First you need to know if you are natural footed (left foot forward) or goofy footed (right foot forward). For this tutorial we’re going with natural footed, so just swap your left and right side instructions for goof footed.
  2. Lay flat (stomach down) on your board, and place your palms flat – roughly in line with the lower part of your rib cage. Your hands should be flat and facing forwards, not holding the rails of the board.
  3. Your feet should be close to the end of your board and about 5 or 6 inches wider than shoulder width apart. That way when you pop up you’ll be in a balanced position with your feet in the center of the board.
  4. To pop up, in one smooth and flowing motion you need to push your upper body up with your hands, snap your feet in under your body and assume a crouched position for balance.

It might be a little bit tricky to understand that from the wording so watch this video instead:

Once you have mastered the pop up on dry land, step in to the water and give it a go. When you can manage it on calm, smooth water, then you’re definitely ready to start trying it out on the waves.

You Can Also Try Popping Up On A Surfboard With Your Knees

A demo of this move is included in the above video. You could try popping up from one knee if you’re struggling with the full pop up.

But I would strongly recommend sticking with mastering the full pop up as it will come in handy later on – and if you want to get to a higher level of surfing it is something you will need to master eventually. So better sooner than later.

The knee pop up is a short term solution so you can enjoy your surfing, but try not to stick to it for too long as it can be a tough habit to break.

To master the knee pop up on a surfboard:

  1. Slide the knee of the foot which is going to be at the back of the board forward, so you’re kind of kneeling on this knee.
  2. Bring your other foot forward, and place it as close between your hands as you can.
  3. Push up from your hands and straighten your legs into the crouching position to regain your balance.

That is pretty much it. There isn’t too much strength involved although it does help, It is just a case of combining balance, momentum and understanding the movement.

If you are struggling, you can use the knee pop up as a very short term fix, but don’t get too reliant on it.

The key is to practice, practice and practice again until it becomes second nature.

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The Beginners’ Surfing Toolkit

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