Whether you are a regular or goofy foot, the surfing stance helps you unlock your full surfing potential and maintain balance on your board. With the correct technique you will gain balance, become more comfortable shifting weight and accelerate, slow down and turn around with more control.
Surfing is very different to other board sports. If you have already selected the right surfboard for you, then get on board to discover the basics of the surf stance to surf better.
The first thing you should do is determine your natural stance. To do this, fall forward and check what leg catches you first. This will become your surfing stance. If you are a “Regular surfer” or regular footer, you will surf with your left foot forward, while if you are a “Goofy surfer” or goofy footer, you will do so with your right foot.
In the past Hawaiians used to ride waves with their feet parallel, however, we don’t do that anymore. When you adopt a correct stance, you improve your balance, acceleration, turns and overall maneuvering performance.
Doing a proper stance will unlock you a whole new fantaSEA in wave riding by optimizing weight distribution and adjusting your body to the waves. Placing your feet in the correct place of the surfboard is the start for a good body position.
Both of your feet should be centred on the width of the surfboard. If the board has a stringer, put your feet above it. If it doesn’t then imagine a line right in the middle of the board and place yourself here, as if you stand on the sides of the board you are likely to fall.
Also, if you stand too far back on the tail of the board, you will bog it, it will slow you down and eventually you will also fall. If you are a beginner, keeping a low stance will help you keep your balance, but don’t get too low.
Shoulder width: the distance between your feet should be about a shoulder width or a bit more. If you have a very small stance, it is hard to distribute weight. Also, keep your knees bent to absorb the impacts of the wave and your hands should be close to the board’s rail or at least your waist.
Remember, you are surfing, not taking a poo. This is one of the most common mistakes made by all types of surfers. This position looks like you are sitting on the toilet with the knees pointing apart.
The position does not look good and it will make it harder for you to move your hips as you draw the line on the face of the wave. Similarly, you should try to avoid the open stance. This is when you point your front foot forward instead of sideways. With this stance you can go forward and backward, but you will have no control from side to side.
Even if legs are very important, so are arms. Arms play an important role in keeping your balance and maintaining the right surfing stance. Remember your left hand should be outside the left rail, while the right hand goes outside the right rail.
If you have both arms pointing to one of the rails, you will likely be put off balance. Also, remember to look where you are going! You might get overwhelmed at first trying to get your body in the right position, but your head is your steering wheel and it needs to be looking forward.
If you are about to ride the wave, you should get ready depending on the type of wave you are surfing. If it is a small and low mushy wave, you might need to shift your feet forward towards the nose of the board, keeping a relatively low stance to continue surfing. However, when the wave is medium-sized, you will move your feet toward the tail.
This video from Barefoot Surf will help you learn how to take-off for a perfect surfers ride:
Once you are on the wave’s face the trick is to move your weight towards the centre position of the board. This will maximize your riding time and you will be able to do more tricks on the water.
If you need to accelerate, shift your weight forward, and if you want to slow down, you will move your weight backward, bending your back knee.
Surfing is about having fun, and it takes practice to master. If you struggle at first, don’t give up! You are hours of training away from catching waves. If you liked this article please remember to give us a thumbs up on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.