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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