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the surfing Pop-Up: How to Correct One of the Most Common Mistakes in Surfing

Since this is such a common issue for everyone, let’s fix your surfing pop-up!

The Mechanics of a SurFing Pop-Up

If we’re going to create a system to improve your pop-up, we need to deconstruct the motion so you can practice it extensively in the water and on dry land.  Not only is the surfing Pop-Up one of the most fundamental movements of surfing, it’s also demands a very specific form of strength and mobility.  All of the guests on our Sea Hearts Surfaris will be asked to take the 30 Day Pop-Up Challenge before they depart because this is an action that troubles so many surfers and really determines how you will surf the rest of the wave.  A strong, consistent surfing pop-Up will allow a surfer to take off deeper, make steeper drops, catch more waves, and feel more confident in the water.

So, let’s break your Surfing Pop-Up down into a few steps:

Basic – Three Step Pop-Up:

  1. Chicken Wings to Cobra: Place both hands flat on the board near the rails (chicken wings) and push your chest and hips up off the deck (cobra). Do not grab the rails.

  2.  Front Foot: With you hands still flat on the rails, swing your front foot into place on the center line of your board (the stringer). Your foot should be in a surfing position at 90 degree angle to the stringer. 

  3. Back Foot: Using your arms and front leg, push up off the board and move your back foot into place on the center line.  Assume Ninja surfing stance (knees bent, hands in front of your body, shoulders open and pointing down the line.

Advanced – Combine all three steps into one fluid movement.

Now, REPEAT.  

Repetition over time should make this action automatic.  You’ll no longer have to think about popping-up.  When you stroke into a wave, you’ll just rely on our old muscle memory, pop-up, and start shredding down the line.  One less thing to worry about.  

Watch this video of the World’s Best Surfers Popping-Up on Kelly Slater’s Wave.  Do you think Jordy, Kelly or John John are thinking about each Pop-Up?  

Surfing pop-ups can be improved with hip mobility and single leg strength
Single strength and hip mobility are the biggest predictors of a good pop-up

2 thoughts on “the surfing Pop-Up: How to Correct One of the Most Common Mistakes in Surfing”

  1. If you are on the Cobra position, you can’t bring your front foot forward first and then your back. It’s the other way around. Orr at the best both at the same time. This is not a good breakdown. Do your research about this and fix this bad advise

    1. Hey Tiyo, thanks for your feedback. If you bring your back leg up first, you’ll end up with the dreaded drag along front leg that takes years to reverse. This is a true pop-up where everything really happens at once as you can see in the video of the surfers at the Ranch. Of course, there are modifications for every surfer based on his or her body. :)

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