How to Perfect Your Pop Up: Fast on Surfboard

Surfing is not just a sport; it’s a way of life. The feeling of gliding across the water, riding the waves, and connecting with nature is unparalleled. If you’re new to surfing or looking to try out a different style, longboard surfing is an excellent choice. Longboard surfboards offer stability, ease of use, and the ability to catch waves with grace. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of popping up on a longboard surfboard and help you develop the skills to ride the waves like a pro.


What is a longboard surfboard?

A longboard surfboard is a larger, more stable surfboard characterized by its length, typically ranging from 8 to 12 feet. Unlike shortboards, longboards provide a more relaxed and smooth surfing experience, making them ideal for beginners and those looking to enjoy a more traditional style of surfing.

The popularity of longboard surfing

Longboard surfing has been around for decades and has recently seen a resurgence in popularity. It offers a nostalgic and classic approach to riding waves, focusing on style, flow, and grace. Many surfers appreciate the longboard’s ability to catch smaller waves and enjoy longer rides, making it an appealing choice for surfers of all skill levels.

Benefits of Longboard Surfing

Stability and ease of use

One of the primary advantages of longboard surfing is the stability it provides. The larger size and volume and volume of longboard surfboards make them more stable in the water. This stability makes it easier for beginners to find their balance and get comfortable on the board. It gives you a solid foundation to build your surfing skills upon.

Ideal for beginners

Longboard surfboards are often recommended for beginners due to their forgiving nature. The added length and width provide better buoyancy, allowing beginners to paddle and catch waves with ease. Longboards also have a larger surface area, giving beginners more stability when standing up and riding the waves.

Enhanced wave-catching ability

Longboard surfboards are designed to catch waves early and effortlessly. Their increased volume and length allow for better paddling speed, making it easier to catch even small or slow-moving waves. Longboards are great for beginners who are still developing their wave-catching skills and want to experience the joy of riding waves sooner.

Popping Up on a Longboard Surfboard

Now that you understand the benefits of longboard surfing, let’s dive into the process of popping up on a longboard. Popping up refers to the transition from lying down on the board to standing up and riding the wave. It’s a fundamental skill that every surfer needs to master. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you pop up on a longboard:

Step 1: Understanding the proper body positioning

Before you even think about popping up, it’s important to understand the correct body positioning on the board. Lie down on your board with your chest centered over the middle of the board. Position your hands on the board slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your feet hanging off the tail.

Step 2: Step-by-step guide to popping up on a longboard

  1. Placement of hands and feet: From the lying position, move your hands under your shoulders and place them flat on the board. Keep your fingers spread for better grip. Your feet should be positioned where your knees were, with your toes pointed towards the nose of the board.
  2. Transition from lying down to the paddling position: Lift your chest off the board and push yourself up using your arms. At the same time, bring your back foot forward, positioning it between your hands. Your body should now be in a push-up position.
  3. Pushing up into the standing position: Push up with your arms and extend your back leg to bring your back foot forward and between your hands. Keep your eyes focused towards the horizon as you push up, allowing your hips to rise naturally.
  4. Balancing and adjusting foot placement: As you push up, quickly bring your front foot forward and position it near the center of the board. Keep your knees slightly bent for better balance and stability. Adjust your back foot if needed to find the most comfortable stance for you.

Common mistakes to avoid when popping up on a longboard

  • Placing your hands too far forward or too far back, affecting your stability and balance.
  • Failing to distribute your weight evenly between your hands and feet, leading to instability.
  • Popping up too slowly, missing the opportunity to catch the wave.
  • Standing up too quickly or abruptly, causing loss of balance.

Remember, practice makes perfect. Spend time on land mastering the popping-up technique before taking it into the water. With consistent practice, you’ll build the muscle memory and confidence needed to pop up smoothly and ride the waves with style.

Developing Balance and Coordination

In surfing, balance and coordination are essential for maintaining control and executing maneuvers on the board. Here are some tips to help you develop these crucial skills for longboarding:

Importance of balance and coordination in surfing

Good balance allows you to stay upright on the board, while coordination enables you to make quick and precise movements while surfing. Developing balance and coordination will significantly improve your overall surfing performance. Here are some exercises that can help:

Yoga and Pilates

Yoga and Pilates are excellent practices for improving balance, flexibility, and core strength. Engaging in regular yoga or Pilates sessions can enhance your body awareness and stability on the board. Focus on poses that target your core, lower body, and balance, such as tree pose, warrior poses, and plank variations.

Balance board training

Using a balance board is a fantastic way to simulate the movements and challenges you’ll encounter while surfing. It helps strengthen your leg muscles, improves proprioception (awareness of your body’s position in space), and enhances your overall balance. Start with basic exercises, like balancing on the board, and gradually progress to more challenging movements and tricks.

Core strengthening exercises

A strong core is crucial for stability and control while surfing. Incorporate exercises that target your abdominal muscles, lower back, and obliques. Planks, Russian twists, and bicycle crunches are great exercises to include in your routine. Additionally, practicing stability exercises on a Bosu ball or Swiss ball can further challenge your core muscles.

Cross-training activities

Engaging in other activities that improve your balance and coordination can greatly benefit your longboarding skills. Activities such as skateboarding, snowboarding, and even martial arts can help develop your body awareness, reaction time, and agility. These activities complement your surfing training and enhance your overall physical abilities.

Remember to be consistent with your training and gradually increase the difficulty of your exercises. Developing balance and coordination takes time and practice, but the results will be evident in your surfing abilities.

Catching and Riding Waves on a Longboard

Catching and riding waves is the ultimate goal of any surfer. Here are some tips and techniques to help you catch and ride waves on a longboard like a pro:

Reading and selecting waves suitable for longboard surfing

Understanding how waves break and recognizing their quality is essential for successful wave-catching. Look for slow-rolling waves with a gentle slope, which are ideal for longboarding. Avoid waves that are too steep or fast-breaking, as they can be challenging to catch and ride on a longboard.

Paddling techniques to catch waves

Efficient paddling is crucial for catching waves. Use long, powerful strokes with your arms, reaching as far forward as possible. Kick your feet lightly to provide additional propulsion. Angle your board slightly toward the breaking wave to maximize your speed and make it easier to catch the wave’s energy.

Generating speed and maintaining momentum on a longboard

Once you’ve caught a wave, generating and maintaining speed is key. Use your arms and legs to propel yourself forward along the face of the wave. Shift your weight slightly forward to increase your speed. Pump your legs and use the wave’s energy to maintain momentum. Finding the right balance between generating speed and maintaining control is essential for a smooth and enjoyable ride.

Techniques for turning and maneuvering on a longboard

Longboards are known for their ability to perform graceful turns and maneuvers. Here are a few techniques you can incorporate into your longboarding skills:

  • Cross-stepping: Cross-stepping involves moving your feet up and down the board in a cross-step pattern. This technique allows you to adjust your weight distribution and trim the board for optimal performance. Cross-stepping adds style and elegance to your surfing.
  • Drop-knee turn: The drop-knee turn is a classic longboard maneuver. As you approach the section of the wave where you want to turn, drop your back knee toward the board while keeping your front foot firmly planted. This technique allows you to pivot the board and execute a smooth and controlled turn.
  • Nose riding: Nose riding is a signature move in longboard surfing, where you position yourself on the front of the board and ride with your toes hanging off the nose. This maneuver requires precise footwork and balance. By shifting your weight forward and adjusting your body position, you can achieve a stable and stylish nose ride.

Experiment with these techniques and find your own style of maneuvering on a longboard. With practice and experience, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of your board and how it responds to different maneuvers.

Essential Equipment for Longboard Surfing

Choosing the right equipment is vital for a fulfilling longboarding experience. Here are some essential pieces of equipment you’ll need:

Choosing the right longboard surfboard

When selecting a longboard surfboard, consider factors such as length, width, and volume. Longer boards (between 9 and 12 feet) provide better stability and glide, making them ideal for beginners. Wider boards offer increased buoyancy and easier wave-catching. Volume is important for floatation and paddling efficiency. Consult with knowledgeable surf shop staff or experienced surfers to find the right board that suits your skill level and surfing goals.

Leashes and traction pads

A leash is a vital safety accessory that attaches your ankle to the board, preventing it from drifting away when you fall off. Choose a leash that matches the length of your board and the conditions you’ll be surfing in. Traction pads are adhesive pads applied to the tail of the board, providing better grip and control when performing maneuvers. They enhance your foot placement and stability while riding.

Wetsuits and surf accessories

Wetsuits are essential for cold-water surfing, providing insulation and protection against the elements. Choose a wetsuit appropriate for the water temperature in your surfing location. Other accessories such as surf wax, sunscreen, board bags, and repair kits are necessary for proper board maintenance and protection.

Ensure that all your equipment is well-maintained and regularly inspected for any signs of wear or damage. Properly caring for your equipment will prolong its lifespan and enhance your surfing experience.

Safety Tips for Longboard Surfing

While longboarding can be an exhilarating experience, it’s crucial to prioritize safety both for yourself and others in the water. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

Importance of surf etiquette and respect for other surfers

Respect other surfers in the water by following the established surf etiquette. Be aware of the pecking order, wait your turn, and share waves appropriately. Communicate with fellow surfers and avoid dangerous collisions. Remember that everyone in the water is there to enjoy the experience.

Being aware of the surroundings and potential hazards

Before entering the water, assess the conditions and any potential hazards. Look out for rocks, reefs, or other submerged obstacles that could pose a danger. Be mindful of other water users such as swimmers, snorkelers, and bodyboarders. Stay vigilant and always prioritize safety.

Understanding and following local beach regulations

Familiarize yourself with local beach regulations, including designated surf zones, restricted areas, and any specific rules or restrictions. Observe and adhere to these regulations to ensure a safe and enjoyable surfing experience for everyone.

Basic first aid knowledge for minor injuries

Accidents can happen even in the water. Equip yourself with basic first aid knowledge to handle minor injuries such as cuts, scrapes, or jellyfish stings. Carry a small first aid kit with essentials such as band-aids, antiseptic solution, and pain relief medication.

Remember, safety should always be your top priority. Surf within your limits, be aware of your skill level, and never underestimate the power of the ocean. If you’re a beginner, consider taking lessons from a certified surf instructor to learn proper techniques and safety protocols.


Longboard surfing offers a unique and rewarding experience for surfers of all levels. Whether you’re a beginner looking for stability and ease of use or an experienced surfer seeking graceful maneuvers and style, longboarding has something to offer.

In this article, we explored the benefits of longboard surfing, learned how to pop up on a longboard, discussed the importance of balance and coordination, discovered techniques for catching and riding waves, discussed essential equipment, and shared safety tips.

Remember, mastering longboard surfing takes time, practice, and dedication. Embrace the learning process, enjoy the journey, and savor the moments of gliding across the water. So grab your longboard, head out to the waves, and experience the joy of longboard surfing firsthand.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. Is longboarding suitable for beginners?

Yes, longboarding is highly recommended for beginners due to its stability and ease of use. The larger size and volume of longboards make them more forgiving and beginner-friendly.

  1. Do I need a specific type of longboard for surfing?

Yes, there are specific longboard surfboards designed for surfing. These boards are typically longer, wider, and have more volume compared to traditional longboards used for cruising.

  1. How long does it take to learn how to pop up on a longboard?

The time it takes to learn how to pop up on a longboard varies from person to person. With consistent practice and proper technique, most beginners can master the skill within a few weeks.

  1. Can I use a longboard for other types of surfing?

Longboards are versatile and can be used for various types of surfing, including cruising, nose riding, and performing graceful turns and maneuvers.

  1. What safety precautions should I take while longboard surfing?

Always prioritize safety by respecting surf etiquette, being aware of your surroundings, following beach regulations, and having basic first aid knowledge. Surf within your limits and never underestimate the power of the ocean.

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