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HOW TO: Pop-up

A step-by-step guide to getting to your feet on a surfboard – in or out of the water…

Picture yourself floating ‘out back’ beyond the whitewater shallows at Watergate Bay. Looking around; rugged cliffs, sun on the water… then the smooth bump of an approaching wave starting to pitch up behind you. You start paddling, feel the momentum as the wave starts to carry you, then pop to your feet and ride ‘down the line’ until you fall off and surface, grinning all the way to the beach.

The ‘pop-up’ is the fundamental manoeuvre that’ll get you there.

A surfer rides a wave

It takes strength, mobility and a lot of practice to get it right – but the good news is you can learn and improve your technique on dry land. No beach or board required. 

So limber up and get started now – on your living room floor, in your garden, on a yoga mat – ready to make the most of your time on the coast, whenever that may be.

Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to pop-up once you’ve caught a wave, as demonstrated by one of Wavehunters’ friendly surf instructors

1. Lying on your belly, place your hands near your rib cage with your palms flat and your elbows tucked in. 

Push Up Beginner Surf Pop Up

2. Push up off the ground/board, arching your back to lift your chin and chest. Then slide your knees forwards so you’re kneeling.

Slide knees beginner pop-up

3. With your hands still on the ground/board for balance, move into a standing crouched position by first bringing your front foot forwards, then rolling your back foot flat. Your feet should be angled slightly. 

Standing Crouch (2)

4. Once you have a solid foundation, release your hands and extend your legs, keeping them bent. Look and point your arms in the direction that you want to go.

Stand Up Pop Up

As you progress you can remove some of these steps to make getting to your feet a more fluid motion. But first, practise, practise, practise…and you’ll be up and riding in no time


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