The surfing pop up

I’m back at the beach. A barefoot drop-in to the doughnut shop for a ‘buttermilk chocolate’. Standing on a fence to spot the best break. Squeezing into a wetsuit like a cannonball through a garden hose. Finally, down to the water..

There’s only one problem, I don’t know how to stand-up.

Everyone thinks I’m a surfer and I sure tell them I am. But, it’s one thing to love the beach and own a surfboard. A whole different type of fish to stand up and ride a wave diagonal instead of straight towards the shore.

I practice when I’m in the water but my inner dork tugs at me. I must hit the internet and learn the mechanics of surfing. Is it a full body gesticulation or a precise pressure point? Are my legs and abdomen juicing the push or is it just my hands?

With the help of Google, I’ve narrowed it down to these precise movements:

  • Place palms on top of the board, do not grip the side.
  • Push your shoulders off the board but keep your thighs on the board, creating an arch in your back (in Yoga it’s upward dog)
  • Swing your knees to your chest.

That’s it.

Now, for some deeper tips.

  • When you stand on land you push your chest back to stand. This shifts your weight backwards and on water will cause you to tip over.  Instead keep your weight steady by pulling your feet underneath you.
  • Never use your knees. All the sites say this is the first and worst habit that every new surfer learns.
  • It is tempting to position your toes for better kung fu grip but resist. The motion needs to be a push up to a pendulum feet swing underneath.
  • You can let your back foot drag into place because the key is to get your front foot underneath you.

Cool, now I have my mechanics down and it’s time to make it happen.

Oh, and the term for this is called the “pop up”.

Sources: how to surf, surfing handbook, I just surf

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