How to stand up on a surfboard?

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So you want to learn how to stand up on a surfboard?

Written by Anya Gilbert

Press up using your hands and lift your chest off the board. Slide both knees up between your hands so you’re in the crouching position.  Rise up onto your fingertips and bring your front foot forwards so it’s sitting flat and centrally between your hands. Keeping your chin high and eyes forward, twist your hips to the side so you’re now in a low standing position, feet shoulder width apart. Bring one arm out in front as your leading arm, and use the other arm to balance.

‘Popping up’ is the term used to explain the process of standing up on a surfboard from the paddling position. In order to make the most of a wave, popping up should be done in one smooth, quick motion. During a surfing lesson your instructor will lead you through two pop-up techniques. It takes practice, but you’ll get there! Watch, listen and have a go, we’ll support you individually and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

5-step method

You’ll begin on the sand as a group. Try lying along the centre of your surfboard, facing your instructor. Make sure your toes are touching the end of the surfboard. 

1. Press up into the Prone Position

The prone position is like half a press-up. When lying on the surfboard, place both hands palm down under your shoulders and lift up your chest, arching your back and keeping your hips on the board.

2. Slide your knees

Keep your hands where they are and slide both knees up between them. You’ll be kneeling in the centre of your board.

3. Fingertips

Move your hands from sitting flat on the board to resting on your fingertips. It’s really tempting to look down at your board when popping up to check where your hands and feet are. Do this whilst you’re practicing on the sand, but when in the water, keep your chin high and look straight ahead. It will improve your balance and make the next step much easier. 

4. Bring your front foot through

Your surf coach will help you establish which foot to bring forward on the surfboard during a pop-up. If your left foot is forward, you’re a natural footer and if your right is at the front, you’re a goofy-footer!

Now you’re resting on fingertips in the kneeling position, bring your front foot forwards between your two hands and place it flat in the centre of the board, at a slight angle for balance. 

5. Twist and stand

With your front foot forward it’s just a case of twisting your hips to the side into a crouched standing position! Remember to keep facing forwards and your knees bent, as you’ll find it helps with your balancing.  Now you’re up and riding white-water waves!

Our coaches teach comprehensive surf lessons that will provide you with a firm foundation of surfing from which to practice and improve! We guarantee to get you up and riding your first wave.

Come and join us at Newquay Activity Centre Surf School for an award winning surf lesson! Our centre is based at 60 Fore Street, Newquay, TR7 1LW. We overlook the world famous Fistral beach. Drop us a line (01637  877722) for the best surf lesson in Newquay and we guarantee fast results.


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