Pop up 101 with Coco

How to pop up!

Are you interested in learning to surf but have never touched a surf board before? Here are some tips that will help you to gain the strength, flexibility and balance you will need in the water to pop up into your surfing stance. Honestly ladies; even if you can already surf, but your pop up is not on point, it will become hindering to your surfing ability. Check out these tips and exercises. You can practice them at home and all you need is a yoga mat or towel.


Before we start practicing the pop up you need to find out if you are regular or goofy footed.

Some of you are probably wondering what this means, so let me explain. Regular footed means that you would surf with your left foot in front of your right foot, so that the right foot would be on the back of the board. A goofy footed surfer would be the opposite with the left foot on the back and the right foot in front. Don't worry, it is super easy to figure out, just stand normally with your feet hip distance apart, have a friend or spouse give you a gentle push forward from the center of your back. Which ever foot naturally goes forward is your dominant foot, the foot that will go to the back of the board. Now you are ready for pop up 101!

Beginner pop up techniques

We have come up with a few different techniques for getting to your feet. Pease try out each technique and see what works best for you.


Ok so for the first technique you will lay face down on your mat; we are going to pretend our yoga mat is our surfboard. Place your hands under your shoulders on the mat and scoot your knees forward to all fours position. From here you will slide your front foot between your hands, and then step up and plant your back foot. This version works for people who may have tight hips and need a little more time getting stable on the board. Remember, your surf stance should be with your toes facing the side of the board or mat but positioned in the middle of the board with knees bent & looking forward. NOT your feet in a skiers stance and NOT a warrior 2 yoga stance.

Front foot first…

The next technique, you will come to lying again on your belly, keeping your elbows in close to your side, press your arms straight, and swing your front foot forward between you hands, then plant your back foot. Always keeping a bend in the knees once you have gotten up to both feet and again looking forward.

Back foot first…

For this one you will lay face down again, bend your back knee and then plant your back foot, step the front foot forward. For those of you with long legs this can be a great technic for you to get to your feet. Stay low, bending in the knees and head lifting up to looking forward.

Pro pop up

If you can, this is the best version of the pop up, the tricky part to popping up this way is that since you are getting to your feet too fast, they may not be in the correct place on the board. If you can practice at home, pay attention to foot placement.

What are the steps to a great pop up.


Firstly, you need to have speed before you can pop up, making sure you have a good strong paddle and getting some forward momentum. You can’t pop up if you can’t catch a wave, so you need to be able to catch a wave.

When to pop up

When you are first learning, your pop up is different then if you are an intermediate or advanced surfer. Because you are just beginning, it is not necessary to pop up right away. Once you have felt the wave hit you and you are moving forward, you have caught the wave. This is when you want to pop up using whichever technique you have practiced.

If you are an intermediate or advanced surfer you will want to pop up on the top of the wave, as soon as you catch it, pop up right to your feet. Not while dropping down the face and not at the bottom of the wave.

Hand placement

When popping up, place your hands on the deck (the top of the surfboard). Make sure your hands are under your shoulders and that you apply equal weight to each hand as press your arms straight and pop up.

Flexibility in the hips

This is a tough one for a lot of people so here are a few poses you can practice on land to help lossen up your hips.

1. Figure four pose is a great pose to begin opening the hips. Against a wall if your hips are really tight.

2. Pidgeon pose for people with a bit more flexibility. Hold the poses on each side for 3-5 minutes.

Arm Strength

Popping up on land and yoga push ups are great practice to building up the strength you need to pop up and to paddle. The more you practice before-hand, the easier it will be for you when you try on the board. Doing push ups on your knees is a great place to start and gradually making your way to a full push up.

Foot placement

When you are practicing your pop ups on land try to make sure your feet are a little wider than hip distance apart. Each time you pop up, keep your feet in the center of your yoga mat and make sure to land in that same spot each time. When you are ready to get in the water and surf for the first time, you need to be lying correctly on your board so that when you get to your feet they are in the right spot. We call this spot the sweet spot. You are positioned so that the board is flat in the water. If you are too far forward on the front of the board, the nose will go under. If you are to for back, the nose will go up in the air.

Thanks for reading everyone please feel free to contact me if you have any questions sistersurfcr@gmail.com. Pura Vida , Coco