How to Stand Up on a Surfboard

Beginner surfers typically face one of the main difficulties when starting to surf: standing up correctly on their boards.

As with most skills, this may take practice and patience to master. Learning to stand up properly is vitally important to any surfer looking to advance their skillset.


An effective surfing stance is key to successfully and safely catching waves, and will allow you to gain balance, shift weight more comfortably, accelerate, slow down or turn around with greater control.

Your stance should be directly above the stringer of the surfboard, with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width. This “wave drive” position will help ensure stability while making sure that every wave you ride delivers maximum fun and enjoyment.

Maintaining balance and preventing injury are paramount when stepping onto a board, which means keeping knees bent when you step on. Bending them too far backward could cause you to lose all balance and fall off without even realizing.

To avoid this scenario, place your foot slightly forward of the front of the board in a direction across the deck to create a stable base and prevent you from sliding off of it. This should create an effective base which won’t allow you to slip.

Stepping onto your board using your knees is another method, though this should generally be avoided as it can result in injuries and makes catching steeper waves more challenging. In general, using this approach should be used with caution.

As soon as you stand up on a board, it is equally as essential to focus on where your journey lies. New surfers often fall into the habit of staring down at their hands while trying to stand up, which will only serve to hinder their progression. Instead, concentrate on looking ahead and soon enough you’ll understand it all better!

Once you’ve practiced on land for several times, take to the water to try it yourself. While it can be challenging, learning the correct techniques should only take a few attempts until you’re standing up on your surfboard successfully!

Beginner surfers commonly make one of the biggest mistakes when trying to stand up on their board: reaching for the rail. Although it is a natural response for new surfers who are trying to regain balance quickly, this can become dangerous when done incorrectly and lead to a fall off their board.

Body position

Proper body position is crucial when standing up on a surfboard. This step will help your feet be planted comfortably on the board, and may help avoid common errors that lead to poor form.

Surfers often make the mistake of placing their knees out to the sides before getting onto their boards, which puts too much weight on one foot and destabilizes hips. Instead, position both feet wide and slightly forward on your surfboard before pushing your hips forward to transfer more weight from back leg to front leg – this will allow for quicker and easier board boarding.

Another mistake often made by beginner snowboarders is placing their back foot overtop of their front foot, as this position can destabilize hips and cause loss of control. For optimal performance, keep feet shoulder width apart with bent knees when on board to absorb impact and maximize control.

Always look ahead, not down as this will increase the risk of becoming unstable. Keep your head centered over the board to maintain balance.

Before trying to stand up on a surfboard, try practicing some balance board exercises first. These moves will help strengthen both your core and lower body while keeping your posture strong.

Once you feel comfortable with this exercise, add upper body movements into it as well. By including such moves into pre and post surfing warm-up sessions, they will help improve balance, stability, and overall health.

As part of an ideal body position, one way to enhance surfboard balance is bending your knees and pulling up one foot using the “Monkey Method.” This exercise strengthens legs, core, and shoulders simultaneously!

Pop-ups, which resemble press-ups but executed at the exact moment you catch the wave instead of during initial paddling to catch it, are another effective technique for building core/lower body strength and helping you get on your feet more quickly when it’s time to stand up. They provide great core/lower body development while speeding up standing up time!


Timing is key when standing up on a surfboard – early or late risers risk sinking off the back of a wave and falling off. It is best to make your standup when waves are moving quickly so that momentum helps propel you quickly uphill.

Before getting out on the water, it’s essential that you develop the ability to recognize when to pop up – this skill will serve any surfer well, whether they are new or experienced alike.

Body position is another critical aspect of standing up, and must be learned correctly in order to ensure proper placement for hips, shoulders and head.

If you’re having difficulty with keeping your body centered, try shifting your weight onto either the left or right foot as soon as you stand up. This will allow you to better maintain balance while simultaneously helping you maneuver more successfully in the water.

As well, you must ensure your feet are positioned appropriately on the surfboard. An all too common misstep is having both feet on opposite sides of the stringer line; this makes distributing weight evenly difficult and may cause you to lose balance and be washed over by waves.

Beginners often make the mistake of taking too long to stand up from their surf board, which can be dangerous as the momentum of the wave will start to decrease and leave less time for you to make your ascent.

Important to keep in mind when popping up is not to grab onto the rail as soon as you do so, as this could result in an accident and unbalance your board. Hold onto your hands for several moments until you feel secure on the board before jumping.

Keep your knees bent when standing up on a surfboard to help maintain balance and prevent falls off the board. Leaning forward could result in your board flipping over.

Getting on your feet

Starting on your feet is one of the key components to standing up on a surfboard and is key in developing your surfing skills. While getting onto your feet may seem complicated at first, following these simple instructions can help you learn to get up quickly and effortlessly:

1. Begin with both feet positioned DIRECTLY IN THE MIDDLE of the BOARD, not at either end, as you approach its center width.

2. Raise your front foot into a standing position by pushing upward with both hands outside the board (“RAILS”).

3. Pull one foot up under you and plant it centered in front of the board.

4. Next, use your arms like legs to DRAG A FOOT FROM THE EXTERIOR OF THE BOARD and PLANT IT FRONT OF YOU in the center of its width.

5. Push Up On Your Front Board Foot Into A Standing Press-Up Position By Placing Your Hand Outside the Rails Of The Board.

6. Now turn your board without leaning your knees rightward or leftward.

7. Position Your Feet in the Middle of the Board, North-West of its Center.

8. Keep looking forward with an open head, and avoid turning left or right as this could alter your balance and force you into taking steps backwards or downwards.

9. After waiting a second or two and striking your board to check its functionality.

10. Keep this in mind as the keystone of maintaining balance on a board: feet in the center.

13. Switch your hands to the opposite side of the board with your hand outside it, and push up on that side into a standing press-up position.

Pop ups are an integral part of learning how to stand up on a surfboard and it is imperative that they are practiced correctly if you want to succeed at surfing. Otherwise, you could miss out on waves and possibly hurt yourself!

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