Beginner Pop-up Surfing Techniques

After receiving several requests for an in-depth explanation on how I will teach the pop-up to those who have never been on a surfboard before, I am finally divulging. I have touched on the pop-up technique before, but this will focus on the movements not yet written out in previous articles. This six-step method is for individuals who are brand new to the sport of surfing and are looking for a sure-fire way to get to their feet on the first day.

Step one – Toes
Assuming you are using a longer surfboard, as you should when surfing at first, position your body with your toes barely dangling off of the back of the board. Once the wave lifts the board and begins to take you forward, get your toes onto the deck. Press them down as if you are attempting a plank with your lower half. The motion will let you know exactly where you are on the board before moving your feet.

Steps two and three – Hands/Press
Bring your hands directly under your chest. For reference, you should think of having your thumbs pulled under your armpits. This keeps you from putting too much weight on either rail and will allow you to press your chest up without causing any wobble or imbalance. When you press off of the deck, make sure your head stays up and does not look down at the board.

Step four – Back foot or back knee
Depending on your athleticism, the next step may see some variation. For individuals with less ability to balance themselves on the board, I will encourage the knee method. Bring your back knee under your belly button over the stringer “middle” of the surfboard. (Your belly button is in the center of the width of your body, and your body should be centered width-wise on the board). If you are flexible and coordinated enough, I will recommend simply placing your back foot in the center of the board so your butt can rest on your heel.

Step five – Front foot
Making sure your back foot/knee is centered over the stringer line, bring your front foot directly up the middle of the board between your hands. Use about sixty percent of your body weight to push down on your front foot to gain momentum and stability. Keep your hands down on either side of your foot until you have completed step six.

Step six – Pivot and stand
Your back knee or foot should still be facing straight in the direction that the surfboard is moving. Regardless of the method, this is the moment to pivot your back knee out. The movement will open your body into your stance. Now it is time to remove your hands from the deck and raise your body into position. Keep your knees bent and feel the board glide as far as you’re able to ride.

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Written by Caleb Dolloff

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