How to Pop Up on a Surfboard

how to pop up on a surfboard

Learning how to surf starts with the fundamentals. Did you ever check out the people on the beach and ask yourself how they can pop up on a surfboard? Well the answer to that question is practice and lots of it. It takes some learning, practice and much courage to actually get up on a surfboard. As skating is to land, surfing is to water. However, this could be your chance to learn how to pop up on a surfboard.

Components of a Surfboard

Before jumping into learning the pop up technique, we should go through the various parts of a surfboard. All these parts work together to give you the real action. Once one part is missing or it’s wrongfully placed, it won’t work. Just like every tool with different component parts, a surfboard is a tool for surfing on the waters.

A surfboard has about 13 main parts. Each of these parts has their functions. Briefly let’s take a look:

  • Nose
  • Stringer
  • Rocker
  • Concaves
  • Leash
  • Leash plug
  • Fins
  • Fin plugs
  • Tail
  • Rail
  • Bottom
  • Outline
  • Traction pad

Those are the 13 major parts of a surfboard. Check out their functions here. Having listed out the major components of a quality surfboard we can move on to the real deal.

What You Need to Check Out?

Aren’t you bored of just lying while surfing? Most times, you go to the beach and you see people doing all sort of surfing techniques. This can feel intimidating but you should go out with confidence and use this guide as a reference. Here are the important things to consider before you practice the pop up techniques.

1. Know your Stance

young surfer practicing surfing balance stance

Yes! This is first thing you must consider before moving to popping up on your surfboard. Your stance simply means how you stand. How are you going to stand while surfing? This is a very essential thing we must know because failure to stand properly can result into losing balance.

Similar to snowboarding, you must know if you have a regular stance or a goofy stance. The regular stance is left foot forward and right foot back. This means that your right foot is dominant (you kick a ball with your right foot). On the reverse, we have the goofy stance. The goofy stance is right foot forward and left foot back. This means that your left foot is dominant (you kick the ball with your left foot).

It is not necessary that everyone has the same stance. Just choose the one you are comfortable with. For the sake of this guide, the best way to stand is sideways if you know what I mean. You can decide to stand with your right leg forward closer to the center of the board and your left foot at the back closer to the tail. It all depends on what makes you comfortable.

2. Your Balance

This is also another important thing you must take into consideration. It also goes hand in hand with the former. How you balance or position yourself while surfing is essential to a smooth ride. Here are some positions that are not good enough or may hinder a smooth action.

  • Don’t lie more on the front part of the board. This will contribute to your momentum while surfing but can also result into nose diving.
  • Also lying more on the back part is likely to help you direct yourself better to turn in whichever direction you want. However, if you exert more weight on the tail of the board, it will more difficult to flow with the waves.
  • The best way to position yourself on a surfboard is to lie on the middle portion of the board. This would help you maneuver properly to any direction. It also helps you control your speed.

Pop up Techniques

After we have established the essential things, we must take into consideration when it comes popping up on a surfboard. Don’t forget, there is this common rule to everything which is practice makes perfect. Try it out on your own on land before actually going into the water. So let’s get started on the techniques we found useful and easy to do.

Depending on your level of mastery, we will begin with the easiest one:

Two-Step Technique

The first thing is to try and balance yourself on the surfboard like we said earlier. Now to popping up! Place your back foot first. This back foot could mean your left or right. Recall that you must select the one you’re comfortable with.

So as you put your back foot first on the board, try and push your body up simultaneously with your other leg, left or right. This technique is called the two-step technique because it has two steps.

One-Step Technique

This step is more difficult but faster if you know what I mean. You don’t want to jump into this because it’s more advanced. However, if you’re full of courage and confident in your abilities then you can choose this one.

The one-step technique actually has one step as the name implies. It’s straightforward and swift such that within seconds you’re up on your surfboard. Let’s dive in!

Take your position on the surfboard and ensure you’re balanced. The next thing is to lift your body from the board and simultaneously retract your legs close to the chest level. Simple! This is how most professional surfers pop up.

Helpful Tips to Improve Surfboard Pop Up

There certain things that can actually help you improve your popup skills. Remember I said practice makes perfect. You can’t just get up, start surfing and popping up. Well, it’s possible but not common. So these few tips would help you improve.


For any kind of activity like this, you’ve got to be fit. Just like soccer that could take hours to play, popping up requires some muscle action and a little endurance. When you exercise frequently, you’ve got an advantage.

However, if you don’t exercise often then it’s time to hit the gym. You certainly have to work out your muscles and improve your strength to handle the big waves. To get better at surfing, you should follow these surfing fitness and strength exercises.


woman regular surfing stance on a surfboard

Your feet are part of your body, right? So don’t drag it in water because it reduces your flow while surfing. Ensure that your feet are kept together. You’ll have to practice setting your feet up to regular or goofy stance at a consistent basis.


You don’t need to get wet before learning your popup techniques. You can practice on land at the beach, in your home or at your gym. Anywhere is fine! Follow these YouTube videos that are mentioned above and pay attention to all the body movements so you can be fluid in your technique.


woman using her hands to pop up on a surfboard

Every part of your body is important in surfing. Your hands should be placed flatly close to your chest region. This makes it easy for you to pop up. Your hands are should be parallel and they should be placed near the middle of the board. Your hands should be one foot to a half a foot away from the stringer and closer to the rails.


Don’t be too quick to stand. Start by popping up in a crouch position- your knees bent. Try to find your balance before standing gradually. Avoid rushing to stand up. Instead, begin by popping up into a crouch position with your knees bent. Focus on finding your balance before you gradually stand up. This approach helps maintain stability and control as you transition to a full standing position on your board.

Practice and Choose the Right Surfboard

Surfing is an entertaining sport, not as dangerous as most people think. Most importantly, surfing takes time and practice to get better at the water sport. For what it’s worth, you’ll wipe out and fall a lot before you get comfortable with the two step technique.

Lastly, you’ll want to invest in the right surfboard before you go out surfing. Come check out our huge selection of surfboards with details, specifications, and dimensions that are suitable for you.

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