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A Fast Standard Pop Up

The “standard pop up” is the most popular take off technique amongst advanced surfers because some conditions such as fast peeling waves require surfers to get onto their feet as fast as they possibly can. It’s the fastest way to get to your feet, but it can be challenging for some surfers as it requires a good amount of core strength and mobility.

Step 1: Push up, swing the knees & land on the back foot

The first step for this technique is to push the upper body up, swing the knees forward & land on the back foot. This might sound like multiple steps but it should be done in one fluid motion. To verify if you’re able to do this step, lay on your belly with your hands below your pectorals. Push your upper body up. As your thighs lift off from the floor, see if you can swing both knees up and forwards without them dragging on the floor and have your back foot land towards where your tail would be. Often, surfers will have the toes land on the surfboard’s tail first, which is fine.

Make sure to swing your knees up and forward by using only your hands and knees as spots of contact with the floor or surfboard. You can purposely lift your feet from the ground before taking off, to prevent you from using your toes.

Step 2: Push higher to create space

The next step is to push your body up to create more space. Once you’re in this “one-legged push up” position, the rest of the process is much the same as for some other take off techniques such as the chicken wing. Push your whole body up and over the surfboard. This creates the necessary space between your body & the surfboard for the next step: bringing your front foot forward.

Step 3: Bring the front foot forward & stand up

The last step is to bring the front foot and stand up. Throw your front knee forward towards your chest and place your front foot on the surfboard. The knee slides close to the surfer’s chest during this step. Your front foot should land straight over the surfboard’s stringer, in between your hands. Remember to look towards where you want to go during the take off, and to use your hands to keep your speed and to maintain balance.

This tutorial was purposely divided into multiple steps in order to clarify the body mechanics of the take off. In reality, the standard pop up is done quickly in one fluid motion, often with the back foot landing only a small fraction of a second before the front foot. Surfers don’t pause in between steps as those have become automated for them through practice.