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Chapter 7: Practicing the surfing popup on land

The surfing popup is essentially an explosive pushup. This is how you get to your feet on a surfboard! To make the popup easier, practice several popups on dry land every day. This will build up your arm strength and give you some muscle memory. When it comes time to do it on a surfboard youíll have a much easier time.


Everyone's surfing popup is slightly different, but for all intents and purposes the popup technique is basically the same for everyone.


At the beach, you can lay your surfboard down on the sand (dig the fins into the sand to avoid breaking them) and practice your popup before you go surfing. Itís helpful to avoid getting sand in your wax =)


Easy steps to a popup:

  • Place your hands flat on the board at the bottom of your ribcage.

  • Push your chest off the board with your pelvis and upper thighs still in contact with the board. (Don't do a full body pushup with your weight on your hands and toes)

  • Without relying on your knees, bring your front foot forward under your body to approximately where your hands are. This step is hard to explain, but your lower torso will twist a little to the right if you're regular or to the left if you're goofy.

  • Your back foot will naturally followójust check to make sure that your feet are parallel to your boardís stringer.

More Tips on the surfing popup

  • Some people like to plant their back foot first and use that as leverage to slide their front foot up to the front. This is an acceptable methodójust make sure you can do it with balance.


  • Some people grab the rails of their surfboard, claiming it gives them more control. Grabbing the rails makes it easier to slip off and give yourself a fat lip or botch a takeoff, but give it a try and see what works best for you. When surfing a shortboard it can help to grab the rails and pull the board under you in a steep takeoff.


  • The popup should be a single fluid motion. Donít worry if you donít get it exactly right the first few times. It will come with practice. You'll also need to build up some muscles.


  • Try not to end up on your knees. This is a tough habit to break for some people. It happens sometimes, though, so donít worry too much.


  • Itís easier to do a popup while youíre surfing a real wave. When you catch an unbroken wave, the action of the popup pushes the wave down the face a bit. Plus, the excitement of catching a wave makes the popup even easier.


  • When you're just starting to learn to surf, practice popups on the floor anywhere you can when you're not surfing. Do 20 or so a day until you can do it without thinking. It's also great exercise and will build your surfing and popup muscles.

Now that you've practiced many popups, let's get in the water already! Click here for Chapter 8: Riding Prone


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