06 July 2020

How to stand up on a surfboard

August 2, 2013

Perhaps you’re curious as to what it feels like to have the ocean underneath you while you ride a wave, but whether you’re a total newbie to the world of surfing, or been doing it a while, standing up on a surfboard is not always easy!


Sportsister’s Bianca chatted to Oakley sponsored surfer Gwen Spurlock, (4 x British Junior champion and 5 x Welsh Champion), to get some great insider tips for making it to the standing position successfully on your surfboard.

“Standing up on a surfboard is NOT something that comes quickly or easily. It involves a lot of persistence and motivation,” says Gwen.

But fear not fellow rookies, the process can be broken down into three movements, and with copious amounts of practice, (in AND out the water), finally achieved!


Seal Island

The first movement involves lying on the surfboard with the middle of your body aligned with the ‘stringer’ (a line of wood that helps strengthen the board – it run down the centre of the board from tip to tail). This position helps maintain your balance whilst paddling for the wave and gives the surfer the best chance of successfully catching the wave.

Push Up

Next, perform a half push-up quickly – literally push the top half of your body off the board till your arms are extended and your stomach is still firmly on the surfboard. This is to gain awareness of the strength of the wave and it indicates to other water users that you are ready to ‘pop’ (see below) whilst looking left and right for safety.

The ‘Pop’

The third movement, getting you up on the board, is the ‘pop’. Once your arms are at full extension, pull both knees toward your stomach and hop to your feet.

Everyone naturally leads with one foot or the other and it doesn’t matter which – one will just feel right! If you are ‘regular’, your back foot will be your right foot, and opposite if you are ‘goofy’. The aim is to keep the middle of your foot central to the stringer to ensure that you are balanced.

Your head should be looking to where you want your body to follow, in most beginner cases this will be to the shoreline. For some people, holding your arms up to your sides can also be used as a balancing tool.


The best exercises for surfing

Gwen recommends swimming as useful training to build up arm strength and get you used to paddling in water. Pilates are also great too to help develop core stability which is very important for surfing.

Press ups with your feet on a Bosu ball or Swiss ball to get you used to pushing up on the surfboard is again another brilliant practice session, as well as squats on a wobble board, or burpees and box jumps to help perfect your ‘pop’.


But finally, practice makes perfect! By practicing the ‘pop’ movement on land 10-20 x times a day, this will help program your subconscious to be ready for what you’re going to be doing in the water and once you’re feeling comfortable with this, take it to the water and practice in different conditions, as they are forever changing.

And for even more help, why not attend a beginner’s/improver’s weekend with the girls-only surfing experts Surf Sistas?

More info: surfsistas.com

Bianca Fermi, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

Photo credits: Surf Sistas

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