Learning to surf involves The Best Ways to Stand Up on a Surfboard. Because standing up to us is a habit we have been practicing since we were toddlers, it would seem standing up on a surfboard would be easy. The problem is that the land habit is much different than the water process.
Our instincts about standing up don’t work in the water. We don’t wind up in the same stance on land and in the water. Standing up on a balanced beam in gymnastics would be closer or on a 4 x 4 above the ground. The obvious difference is that on the latter two, one foot is in front of the other in a wide stance and our weight is balanced by having our hands in front and weight equal on right and left sides. Visualize that.
Getting our Balance Right in the Water
Now we have to consider the best processes to get into that stance on thankfully a wider platform. How do we get one foot in front of the other and our balance equal on the right and left side. There are two main popup processes utilized by surfers. One is considered advanced and one is good for beginners but also used by advanced surfers.
The beginner and advanced pop ups start with paddling to catch the wave. Both then have the surfer putting their hands flat on the board next to their rib cage in a man’s pushup position. It is important to stop here for a second to gain poise and stop our body’s forward momentum from the wave. Then in both processes, the surfer pushes up. This gets his chest off the board so he can bring his feet under his body.
Getting the Advanced Pop Up
This is where the two processes part. In the beginner pop up, the surfer brings one foot up about 2′-3′ on the board and places it flat on the board under his butt. This allows him to stand on it. He stands on one foot for a second while raising his hands and clearing the way for the front foot to get in front of the body and near the nose of the board. When the front foot hits the board, the surfer is upright and his hands are in front.
The advanced pop up moves both feet at the same time. I find beginner students that are lean and very fit can do this easily. After the surfer pushes up, he moves both feet but is driving the front foot under his chest and forward in front of his body so when he stands up, the front foot is in front of him. If the front foot doesn’t make it forward, the surfer is on the back of the board and loses the wave.
The front foot doesn’t make it forward because the surfer leaves his hands on the board too long and blocks the foot from moving forward or he doesn’t have the strength, flexibility, and agility to drive the front foot to the nose. This is the reason I don’t teach beginners the advanced process. They usually don’t have the physical capabilities.
Arriving in the Correct Stance on the Board
in both pop ups, the body arrives in the same stance. Like on a balanced beam, there are not a lot of ways to stand correctly. Only one. The feet are shoulder width apart. The hips and shoulders are square to the front as the surfer is looking forward with hands where he can see them. The issue snowboarders, and skateboarders have is they like a hand trailing and one shoulder towards the tail. This causes them to fall off on their butt side.
If the surfer’s stance is correct, the board will go straight with no additional work. In a foam wave, the surfer wants to ride to the beach. In a real wave the surfer wants to ride down the face and then carve into the pocket. Both require stability and correct balance in the stance. On a real wave, this pop up has to be more perfect because the board is moving faster. Any incorrect balance or positioning is magnified.
Both popups can be practiced in the living room and I suggest to my students they do 20 a day. This will develop the surf specific muscles. Doing push ups, squats and dead lifts help the flexibility and strength for pop ups. The squats and dead lifts can be done daily without weights. It takes a while to develop a smooth accurate pop up with practice on dry land and in the water.
Read Other Posts:
Beginner Surfers Learn on Soft Tops
5 Steps to Improve Surfing Performance
3 Ways to Catch Real Surfing Waves
Training to Ride the Surfing Short Board
Short Board Surfing Techniques
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