Surf Tips: How to Pop Up


While there are many things that you need to learn when surfing, one of the most important is the pop-up. Doing it right will have a huge impact on your ride potential. It is a basic movement that every beginner needs to learn. This will also have an effect on your progression, which makes it important to master the techniques.

If you want to know how to pop-up the right way, keep on reading the rest of this post and we’ll let you know how exactly this can be done. The best way to improve in your pop-up is to practice it consistently at home on an even surface before you hit the waves.

A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Pop-Up

One of the most important things you should know is that there is no single way to do the pop-up. There are different variations on how it can be successfully completed. Different coaches may also have varying approaches on how they will be taught.

  • The first thing that you obviously need to do is to paddle. Assume the standard position and make sure that you are comfortable. The ideal position is to have your back arched while your head is looking forward. Keep your legs closed along the stringer.
  • Start to position your hand for the pop-up. Have it tucked next to the chest while keeping your elbows out. While you are doing this, keep your feet together and your head held up high.
  • Now is the time to ascend from the board. To do this, you will need to perform a half push-up. Use your knees to lift your front body. While you are looking forward, make sure that the other half of the body remains next to the board.
  • Bring your back foot forward into the position at the back of the board. This way, your toes should be in front of your knee with the heel up. While you are doing this, take note that you should not rely on your knees, which is exactly the reason why you need to work on the strength of your upper body.
  • Once your back foot has landed on the board, next thing is to follow with your front foot. At this point, it should be between your hands fronting the board. This is the position where your chest is originally while you were starting to paddle.
  • Extend your legs and move your hands away from the board. Slowly assume the standing position while keeping your arms evenly spread, which will be instrumental in finding the balance of your body. Your knees and your back should be slightly bent.

Aside from what has been mentioned above, there is another variation that you might want to practice. This is called the one-knee first, which you can complete by following these simple steps:

  • Start with the original position as it has been mentioned above.
  • Slide one foot all the way to the back of the board. Assume a kneeling position while keeping your hand firm on the board.
  • Use your hand to push your body up and twist so that your feet will be parallel to your board.
  • While your back foot and lower leg remains at the back of the board, slide the front foot and get ready to pop-up.

Train for the Pop-Up

Do not ignore the importance of training when it comes to mastering surfing techniques. For instance, one of the most important would be your flexibility. Yoga is one of the best forms of exercises that can improve mobility and flexibility, which will provide a good foundation for doing the pop-up the right way.

To add, plyometric push-ups will also be good. To do this, you have to begin with the standard position in a regular push-up. Lower down your body and push explosively to bring your body upward. Push with enough force to have space between your hands and the floor. Clap in between the repetitions. This will build your body, making it easier to pop-up on the surfboard once you are already in the water.

You will also benefit from doing exercise ball knee tucks regularly. Start in a planking position. Tuck the knees to your chest. Keep the position for a while. Extend your legs and return to the original planking position. While you are doing this, keep the power to your core and make sure that your body does not sway.

Train for the Pop-Up


Assume the Proper Position

When it comes to surfing pop-up, the right position is one of the critical elements that will help you to do it successfully. You need to be in your sweet spot, which simply means that your body should be well-balanced.

If you put more weight on the front, you can plan your speed and momentum quickly. However, the problem with this is that there is a high chance that you will end up nosediving.

If you put more weight on the back, meanwhile, you can enjoy better stability and control. However, the problem with this is that since the weight is concentrated on the end part of the board, it might make it more difficult for you to catch waves.

Therefore, you need to find a balanced position or your sweet spot. You should not be in the front or back but at the center. This will improve the efficiency of paddling without the need to compromise your speed.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Before we end this post, let us have a quick look at some of the most common mistakes that you should not commit:

  • Do not get up the board too early. You must feel the wave pushing the board before you stand up.
  • Do not look down on your feet during the pop-up. This is because the water may end up running over you and you will end up being dizzy. It will cause you to lose balance.
  • Do not place your hands too high or too low. While you are lying flat on the board, it is recommended that the hands should be positioned in the same line as your ribcage. It should also be board-width apart.
  • Do not spring from the toe. Instead, you should use the strength of your upper body to move.

Wrap Up

As discussed above, learning how to pop-up is quite easy, even if you are a beginner. It is one of the fundamental surfing skills that you will need to master. Aside from learning how to do it, you should also be engaged in a proper exercise to stay fit and to do the pop-up without having to exert too much effort.

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