What is Proper Surfing Stance?

January 15, 2024

What is Proper Surfing Stance?

One of the key determinators for surfing with performance is your stance. Proper stance can be the difference between falling or succeeding, making a barrel or getting stuck in the foam ball, landing that turn you've attempted for months or falling yet again. Your feet are the only connection between you and your board, so getting your stance right is integral if you want to improve your surfing, and have more enjoyable sessions. 

To assist you in your learning journey, this blog will focus on: 1) what is proper baseline surf stance? 2) in what situations will I need to change my stance? 

1) What is a Proper Baseline Surf Stance?

A baseline surf stance refers to your go to stance right when you pop up. The most stable and stylish stance is at, or a bit past, shoulder width apart with your knees slightly bent. If your stance goes wider than this, you will have a "stink bug" stance and you won't be able to turn. But if your stance is too narrow, you will not be able to balance on the board very well, and your turns will be weak (or non existent). Also remember, when bending your knees, there is no need to get too low for your baseline stance. Have a slight bend in your knees, with your back knee bent forward; this will help you gain torque in your turns, and have better style. Keep As for your footing, keep your back foot facing outward, and your front food can angle slightly forward. Most importantly, make sure they are planted securely at the stringer, or center of the board. 

As for positioning on the board, you should position in a way that allows for the board to stay flat on the water, with only the nose rocker pointing upward. If the nose is pointing to the sky and you are moving too slowly on the wave you are too far back; while being too far forward will result in a nosedive. 

2) In what situations will I need to change my stance?

While your baseline stance is the foundation of your greatest potential in surfing, it is never a static stance. Some of the best surfers on the planet are able to make subtle adjustments in their stance to fit their needs. Here are some of the most common examples of when to change your stance: 

1) Turning

When turning your surfboard, you will want to subtly adjust your foot placement closer to the tail. This will help you sink the tail to turn the board with ease. This will also give you a bit wider of a stance which helps you get lower in your turning. If you find yourself unable to turn quickly, being too far forward on your board might be the culprit. 

Second, you will want to bend your knees more, especially in bottom turns, cutbacks, and snaps/off the lips. This will give you lower center of gravity to land these maneuvers. 

2) Increasing stability 

Especially when the waves get bigger, sometime you will see surfers take a wider stance off the take off to gain stability. While keeping your natural stance is the most ideal in terms of style, widening it is definitely preferred as opposed to falling on a big wave. You might also gain stability by getting low to the board before standing up all the way. This is helpful especially when taking off on the wave. 

3) Gaining or losing speed 

When the section gets fast in front of you, it is best to move forward on the board. The effect of doing this is like pressing on the gas petal in a car. This works for barrel riding, pumping down the line, or staying in the wave when it's mushy. On the contrary, you can stomp on the tail if you need to slow down. This is called a "stall" or a "check turn," and it is primarily used when setting up for a tube, or trying to blow speed for an upcoming section. Another way you can gain some momentum is by getting low by bending your knees to gain momentum in small waves. 

4) Riding Different Boards 

Your stance may change depending on what board you are riding. On a shortboard, for example, who might have a lower, wider stance for high performance, whereas on a longboard you might stand a little taller for style and ease. 

When learning your stance, we recommend starting out on a longboard. A longboard will allow for a greater margin of error, so if your stance is a little bit off, you can still re-adjust without falling. On a shortboard, if your foot is even an inch off center, you can likely dig a rail and fall. 

Last, riding a longboard will help you with feet placement on any type of board. A longboard will force you to move back to turn, or move forward for speed. Once this type of surfing become engrained in your memory, you can apply this to a shortboard to make subtle adjustments forward and back. 

In Conclusion

Most of all, keep applying this in the water! It will take many hours of surfing to feel as though you've mastered your stance, so don't be discouraged. If you've applied these tips and are still having difficulty gaining speed or turning, you might be on the wrong board. Give us a call at (800) 920 -2363 and we'd be happy to personally assist you in find the right board! 




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