Mastering some techniques is important for every surfer, and the surfing pop up move is one of them. There is no way you can ignore this technique if you want to be an accomplished surfer.
To enjoy a smooth transition from lying on your surfboard to standing up, your full attention is needed. By perfecting the move, your chances of wiping out become slimmer, and you can even wield bigger waves.
Like the duck diving move, this technique is also essential even if you are a beginner. In this article, I will guide you through how to execute the surfing pop up technique with ease.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Pop up in Surfing?
- What You Need to Know Beforehand
- 6 Steps to Execute the Surfing Pop up on Your Surfboard
- 6 Things to Note When Executing the Surfing Pop Up
- 2 Common Problems for Beginners – Pearling and Bogging
What Is a Pop up in Surfing?
Pop up in surfing is basically the process of getting up on your surfboard while catching a wave. It is that seemingly simple push-up executed by professionals between lying down and standing on their surfboard. It is a fluid technique where a surfer plants both hands on the surfboard before placing their legs.
What You Need to Know Beforehand
Before learning how to execute the surfing pop up, you need to have a good knowledge of some surfing basics. This way, you’ll position yourself to master the technique with relative ease.
1. Your Stance
Your stance is how you stay upright on your surfboard. You must develop a proper surfing stance as it can affect your surfing experience. A surfer cannot just stand anyhow or entirely upright.
Your preferred stance should be comfortable even if you want to surf for extended periods. Generally, you have to bend your knees to maintain the right surfing stance. You can either have a goofy or regular stance.
Surfers with a regular stance have their right foot behind the left foot towards the surfboard’s tail. For the goofy stance, the left foot stays behind the right one. However, neither stance is better than the other.
The distance between your feet should be reasonable, considering the surfboard’s length, your height and weight, and wave size. Maintaining a good stance is synonymous with maintaining a good balance.
2. Balancing and Positioning
Once your stance is good, you can start thinking of balancing and positioning yourself on your surfboard. It is essential to identify the center of gravity of your surfboard with respect to the wave and your moves.
Positioning yourself towards the front of your surfboard will increase your speed, but you are more likely to sink or nosedive. Conversely, you may enjoy increased stability and control when standing on the tail, but your speed will reduce.
However, the center spot will offer a balance between the two in terms of speed and control. It would be best if you also learned how to use your hands to control your movement.
6 Steps to Execute the Surfing Pop up on Your Surfboard
Popping up on short surfboards requires a high level of mastery. This is among the reasons they are recommended only to intermediates and advanced surfers. It is easier to wipe out due to its small size.
When lying (chest down) on the surfboard and paddling to catch a wave, your legs extend beyond the tail. The ideal process of popping up on your surfboard is the chicken wing technique.
The procedure is slightly different for a longboard since you always have your body “in” the surfboard. You are also less likely to lose your balance owing to their stability. The procedure is as follows.
1. Paddle Towards Your Desired Wave
Of course, before you can attempt to pop up, you must have a good and desired wave in prospect. Then, you must paddle towards it to put yourself in position.
Bear in mind that small surfboards might exhibit slow speeds and lower stability. Once you feel that the surfboard is becoming light (weightless), it’s time to pop up.
2. Push up Your Chest for Action
As soon as you catch your desired wave, plant your palms on your surfboard close to your sides. You should do this carefully to avoid disrupting your balance.
Now, push up your upper body (chest and shoulders) while your lower body (legs and hips) remains in place. This posture allows you to pop up easily. Your waist, knees, legs, and toes should not touch the surfboard.
3. Place Your Rear Foot on the Surfboard’s Tail
a. For a shortboard: Place your rear foot on the tail of the surfboard. Bend the knee of your rear leg and ensure that leg (knee) stays along the rail of the surfboard. You will benefit from the presence of a traction pad on the surfboard’s tail, providing additional grip. Due to the length of the surfboard, you must execute this step very smoothly.
b. For a longboard: Carefully bring forward your back foot close to the other knee. Unlike shortboards, where you have to remain closer (prone) to the surfboard, you can move your body to bring your back foot ahead.
4. Push up Your Body to Plant the Other Foot
a. For shortboards: Ensure your rear foot is well-planted on the tail of your surfboard. Then push up your entire body gradually like you want to get up. However, do not attempt to get completely until the next step. Your two hands and the rear foot on the tail should be the only ones on the surfboard. This position allows the space where the other foot will be placed.
b. For longboards: Bring the other foot ahead, passing between both hands. You must keep your hands in the same place while doing this. This helps you maintain your stability and speed.
5. Place the Other Foot on the Board
For the other leg, bend your knee and bring it towards your chest before placing the foot towards the corresponding palm on your surfboard. It should be a few inches closer to your palms.
6. Stand Up
Maintain a good balance with your lower body still compressed like an athlete runner about to launch off. Your knees should remain low and likewise your hip as you face the desired direction. Also, check to ensure the proper stance.
The width between your feet and their positions on the surfboard are those things you need to check. Make the necessary adjustment with regard to your desired direction.
You can also check out the video below to learn more about How to pop up like an advanced surfer:
6 Things to Note When Executing the Surfing Pop Up
To achieve a smooth surfing pop up, there are some other things you need to be aware of. Kindly take a look at the list below.
- Do not attempt to place or jump on the surfboard with both feet simultaneously, as it can disrupt your balance.
- Do not remove your hands until you have enough control over the surfboard.
- Do not straighten your knees or bend your upper body. Also, this can cause you to lose your balance.
- Never grab the rails of the surfboard, or you may lose your balance, cause drag, and slow yourself down.
- When planting your hands, do not place them ahead of you. It makes it difficult for you to pop up but always put them on your sides. Ensure you have enough surf wax on your surfboard to maximize your grip.
- Additionally, this technique is meant to be a single fluid move; hence, practice, practice, and practice to get better.
Here is another video for a more practical explanation.
2 Common Problems for Beginners – Pearling and Bogging
Pearling is quite common among beginners as they try to execute the surfing pop up technique. It can happen when a surfer is too close to the nose of the surfboard. Of course, this will result in nose-diving and wipeouts.
When the wave’s angle is too high for the surfer, pearling (nose diving) is likely to occur. Similarly, if the surfer hits the wave without attaining a suitable speed, pearling can happen too.
Bogging is the opposite of pearling, and this happens when a surfer is too close to the tail of the surfboard. The surfboard definitely points upwards, and the surfboard slows down drastically. Interestingly, the surfboard can also stall.
In both cases, you are most likely to wipe out. While these can be adjusted in split seconds, not many beginners are quick to take the necessary actions. The first thing to do is practice and understand the pop up technique properly.
Also, keep your eyes focused ahead when popping up, monitoring the development of the waves. If the wave is quite steep, position the surfboard at your desired angle. Paddle at a suitable speed smoothly.
Suppose the wave is yet to peak, paddle to get ahead of its possible break. If it’s getting too steep, you might want to slow down your paddling and get ready to pop up. Check your stance and move your weight around the surfboard to maintain your balance.
I found some interesting frequently asked questions related to the surfing pop up technique on the internet. You might find them useful. I have answered them below briefly; kindly check below
How Do You Pop up Fast in Surfing?
You can only pop up fast if you have good knowledge of the technique itself. Once that’s done, you should keep practicing till you have a good grasp of it.
Can a Beginner Surfer Use a Shortboard?
Yes, anybody can use any surfboard regardless of their experience. However, as a beginner, you are still in the basic learning stage and limited surfing knowledge. You might find it difficult to paddle, pop up, and stay balanced. Your likelihood of wiping out is high.
Perfecting the surfing pop up technique requires an adequate understanding of the embedded moves and regular practice. Therefore, you should be able to develop a fluid transition between lying down and standing on your surfboard every time.
The three essentials – stance, positioning, and balancing – must be understood to avoid pearling or bogging. Beginners should consider starting with longboards till they fully get the technique. Remember always to keep your eyes focused ahead. Happy surfing.
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