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Phuket Surf School


A quick learn to surf guide
for newcomers to the sport/lifestyle/obsession of surfing

How to 'Pop Up' on a Surfboard

Practice popping up on land first
Always practice the 'pop-up' on dry land before you try it in the water. Below are the steps of the classic surfing 'pop up' start by doing it slow and practice untill you are not thinking about it anymore. Once you can pop up without thinking then you can start speeding it up.

  1. Lay down on the sand placing your hands at your side near your ribs and close to your body, elbows up.

  2. Push your chest/waist up off the ground and bring your back foot up to around where your knees are.

  3. Your front foot should go near where your hands are.

  4. Still keeping your knees bent, take your hands off the board.

  5. All these steps should be done while looking forward.

It takes a bit more effort doing this out of the water, but it will help you to build up your pop-up muscles and get the action going smoothly.

Do not kneel; go straight to your feet. Both feet need to be under you at the same time, one in front of the other, with the toes pointing perpendicular to the centerline of the board.

Going to your knees first is not the same action as going to your feet. Kneeling just develops a bad habit that you will need to overcome later on, so start with the right technique of going straight to your feet.

Another point is to rotate your hips, if you don't, you will be in a stance similar to riding snow skis, there is no way you can maintain your balance in a ski stance when you are on a moving surfboard.

At about this point you'll really know whether you want to be a regular-foot or a goofy-foot.

In the beginning you'll want to stand further up the surfboard, as you will be riding whitewater waves, this will allow you to glide all the way to the beach.

Most modern surfboards are meant to be ridden with 1 foot on the back (tail) of the surfboard, but this comes later when you are riding green waves on the open face.

Watch this quick vidoe on how to pop-up on a surfboard

Other Surfboard 'Pop Up' Tips

Where you look is where you go
If you ask most surfers how they do those turns, they will most likely answer "you look there and you go there". Although this is a bit vague, it is actually a great surfing tip!

Look out in front where you are going, don't look down at the board, or at the wave, as it dramatically affects your ability to balance. Look down, you go down!

It's why surfers always get great in the water shots, as they are looking forward into the camera :)

standing on a surfboard

Practice untill you get it smooth
The first time you try this, do it slow and stay in a low crouching position, when you let go of the board. The action should be controlled, not a jump.

Jumping has 2 main setbacks;

1. jumping jolts the surfboard, causing it to momentarily slow down, many times enough to stop you continuing on your ride.

2. There is no guarantee on where your feet will land.

At first the goal of practising to stand up on a surfboard is to get it smooth, without interfering with the glide, direction and momentum of the surfboard. Once you get it smooth, then you can start to look at making it faster.

Read about Riding Whitewater Waves - First Waves

Click here for our forum with more tips on how to stand up on your surfboard

Other FAQs

How to fix your surfboard

How to spray paint your surfboard


How to forecast the surf

How to ride a body board


Where can I find Learn to Surf Books & DVDs?



All About Surfing::Saltwater Dreaming::

mailing/postal address

Saltwater Dreaming
108/3 moo 3
Cheongthalay, Thalang
Phuket 83110
Tel: +66 76 271050
Fax: +66 76 325629
URL: www.saltwater-dreaming.com

Surf Shop (location map)
Surin Beach, Phuket, Thailand