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Fulcrum Surf Tip “The Pop-Up”

Learning to surf without an instructor is akin to mastering a foreign language by moving to a country you’ve never been too. It’ll happen (with a great amount of persistence, patience, and time) but not nearly as effectively had you just taken lessons.

Every Fulcrum Surf Lesson begins with practicing the pop-up on the beach. Much of what you will read below will be mentioned in your lesson, but if you’d like to feel prepared for your first time out with a Fulcrum Surf Coach, make a mental note of the following.

Step one. Correct Posture.

The “prone” position is when a surfer is lying on their stomach with their ankles together.

Tops of the feet should be flat and toes should be touching the leash string at the “tail” or the end of the surfboard.

A slight upward bend in the lower back allows for the surfer to see past the “nose” or the front of the surfboard.

Hands should be kept flat and next to the armpits as if one is about to do a pushup. A common mistake is grabbing the “rails” or the edges of the surfboard. Doing so draws the eyes downward and makes popping up nearly impossible.

Step two. “Eyesight”

As I just mentioned, the line of vision is critical in a successful pop-up. At Fulcrum, we often say “wherever you are looking is where the board is going to go.” By this, we mean that when you’re looking down at the nose end of the board, it draws your weight forward and makes the board pearl or nose dive.

Looking sideways when getting up, makes people get up on one hip and often not to their feet.

The correct place for your eyes should be towards the beach. At Fulcrum, we use our tents as a stationary reference point. With correct prone posture, and eye sight fixated not downwards but up, balance and weight are distributed evenly over the center of the surfboard making for a more stable platform to pop-up onto.

Step three: “Stance”

First, we’ll find if you are right foot, or left foot forward surfer typically referred to as “goofy” or “regular” stance. For those who’ve never surfed, skateboarded, or snowboarded before, we encourage trying both to find what is more comfortable.

Once your dominant foot is established, the correct positioning is for the feet to be shoulder width apart. The back knee is drawn inward,  and the front knee is bent. Backs are straight with a slight bend at the waist. Ideally, you want to maintain a low center of gravity. Arms are held out for balancing.

When you are practicing your pop up, this stance is what you want to land on your feet in. Everyone’s stance is a little different and we encourage doing the way that works best for you. We offer modifications to fit everybody type.

Step four. “Timing”

At first, you will not have to decipher when is the correct time to pop up, our instructors will be loud and clear as to when you should get to the standing surfing position.

In the beginning stages of surfing, our coaches will maneuver the surfboard out through the white wash, and push our clientele into gently breaking waves.  No paddling is required, we do the hard part so you can focus on getting to your feet and feeling the sensation of surfing.

What makes our instructors a cut above the rest is that they position our students in a spot where they can comfortably try popping up over and over again. With a bit of practice and insight from our coaches, you’ll be surfing before the end of your next lesson!

If you want to increase the likelihood of getting to your feet when you meet with a Fulcrum Surf Coach, try a fun workout we like to call, “Surf Ups”.

Similar to burpies, start in the prone position and pop up into your surf stance. Muscle memory is everything in surfing and with a bit of repetition this will become second nature to you.

Book a lesson with a Fulcrum Surf Coach and perfect that pop-up today on or call 858.405.5066 for your next lesson!