Beginner surfer with instructor


How to pop up on a surfboard

The pop up is one of the most important parts of your ride down the waves, therefore you need to understand and practice the pop up right away when you learn to surf as a beginner. But how do you stand up on your surfboard? We give you our best tips!

The pop up is one of the most basic parts of surfing. But what is a pop up? Well, it is the movement where the surfer goes from lying on their belly on the board to standing up on their feet. This movement will be performed for every wave you catch and is important for beginners to practice as soon as they start surfing. We’ll help you get the technique right for you to get ready for an enjoyable ride!

Stand up on a surfboard – here are three pop up tips

Start your pop up by having a comfortable, centred position on your board. You want enough stability while you paddle so that you can pop up without losing balance. As a beginner, it’s easier to stand up on a foam board than on a smaller board with less volume. Here are some things to think about:

Have a good position

Before you pop up, make sure you have a good position on your board. If you stay too close to the nose of your board you are likely to be off-balance and nose dive. And if you stay too close to the tail of your board you may not generate enough speed.

Generate speed

Before you pop up you need to have enough speed. Paddle around 4-8 strokes before you’re catching the wave that you want to ride. 

Eyes on the beach

Keep your eyes towards the beach, not down on your board. This may feel uncomfortable in the beginning but as you practice you will feel more and more comfortable having your eyes forward. When looking down on the board as you pop up, you are likely to fall.

How to take off – the three steps pop up

1. Extend your arms

Lie on your board with your body straight. In this first step, you will get your arms extended. You are doing this by placing your hands flat on the deck of the board with your hands close to your chest and then extending your arms. It’s important that you keep your hands gently on the deck and not grab onto the rails. Holding the rails will just make it easier for you to fall. Your upper body is getting pushed up from the board while most of your legs still have contact with the deck. 

2. Bring your back foot into position

When you feel like the board has the necessary speed and you feel properly balanced, start bringing your back foot forward. You want to place it a bit in front of the fins.

3. Bring your front foot into position

Then you place your front foot in the middle of the board. Place the foot under your chest in the middle of your hands. You want to perform this step without losing momentum. As soon as your front foot lands on the board you release your hands. Keep your body low, your back straight, and a wide stance with your feet centred. Have your arms up and engaged.

Once you practice the pop up and start to get a hang of the motion, it will start to get faster and more fluid and you won't feel it is divided into steps. This is a motion that you need to practice many, many times to get right! Doing some pop ups every day at home and at the beach before your session are great ways to build up the pop up technique in your muscle memory.

How to take off – the four steps pop up

If it feels too difficult to perform the three-step way, then you can do the four-step pop up. For this technique, you add in the step of using your back knee. This is only a short term solution that helps you at the beginning of your surfing journey. It is an option for you if you struggle with the three-step way, but don’t get too comfortable here since you won’t use your knee when you improve. Here’s the four-step pop up:

1. Extend your arms

2. Place your back knee on the board

3. Bring your front foot into position

4. Bring your back foot in position

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