The one thing we all want to do when we’re learning to surf is improve.  Not only that, but we want to do it as quickly as possible.

This is awesome don’t get me wrong, but sometimes investing the time to get the basics right first will speed up your progression down the track.

Solid foundations are the mark of all good surfers.

One of the key fundamentals you absolutely can’t afford to overlook is the Pop-Up.

It’s not the most glamorous of topics but you’d be surprised how many surfers I see every day stunt their progress because they’re making these 3 simple mistakes.

So, before you push forward to master cutbacks and floaters, take a quick second to make sure you’ve mastered the fundamentals first.

Let’s break down each one.


Looking down at your feet is going to encourage your weight forward and you will find it difficult to stay balanced.


Line yourself up with a marker on the beach so when you pop up you don’t take your eyes off the marker. This will develop muscle memory and after a few (hundred) times 🙂 you will begin too “Look up, on your pop up”


Bring both knees up to the center of the board is going to slow the pop up action down. As you progress further in your surfing you wont to be able to pop up as quick as you can. Also, both knees create unsteadiness with the board and become a real challenge to pop to your feet.


Take a look at my walkthrough to avoid placing your knees on the board.

Step 1. Place your hands on the deck of the board near your pectorals. Make sure your back is nice and arched.

Step 2. Bring your toes to the tail of the board and push up. Begin to bring your back foot forward, closely followed by your front foot.

Pro tip: Lift your knees up as you make your way through the pop up

Step 3. Keep your hands on the deck until both feet are in the correct position.


Two arms on the same side are creating more weight on one side. You will find it more resistive and difficult to balance as you are likely to fall with all the weight moving to the one side.


Make sure you place one arm either side of the body, bend your knees and stay low with your center of gravity.

Pro tip: Leading arm is on the outside of your front heal

If you’re enjoying this article about Popping Up, then you’ll probably find my other writing on Learning to Surf and How to Tutorials useful.

Okay, now I’m interested to know what are your favorite pop up tips?

Let me know in the comments below!

With love,


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