A Good Surf Stance - One of the Most Important Points in Surfing Waves
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This page is in response to a question from our Surfing FAQ Page.
The question was: "I feel unbalanced once I have managed to stand up on my surfboard. Is it just a matter of trial and error to find the correct position?"
No it's not really a matter of trial and error. What it comes down to is popping up and getting right into the correct surf stance. Before we go further make sure you have read our page How To Stand Up on a Surfboard. The page covers the pop up technique and your surf stance. It discusses how to determine whether you are a goofy foot surfer or a regular stance surfer. After the video of the pop up on that page, there is a short lesson on the surf stance that you can review. Now let's discuss the surf stance in more detail.
The surf stance is crucial to surfing waves well. I remember when I was still relatively new to surfing (I had been surfing regularly for about a year) when a friend who I had never surfed with gave me some friendly advice. He said my surf stance was not wide enough and that I was too erect. I was aware that I tended not to get low enough in my stance but I felt my stance was wide enough. I tried his advice the rest of the day and made a conscious effort when coming out of the pop up to make sure I was setting my feet considerably wider. What a difference this made to my balance.
Having this wider stance naturally got my body lower as well. After a year of surfing one of the things I knew I need to improve was my balance or you could say stability on the surfboard. When I was working my way laterally across the face of the wave near the whitewater I would often lose my balance simply from the turbulence of the breaking wave. On that day my surfing improved dramatically from just one small change. Widening my stance gave me so much more stability.
The adjustment I am talking about isn't huge. But when you learn how to surf with your feet in a set position making a small change a year later takes a conscious effort and will feel huge. The change I made in my surf stance was setting my feet about 8 to 10 inches further apart. The other adjustment I made to my surf stance was just bending my knees a little bit more.
Bending my knees a little more, coupled with the slightly wider surf stance really got my body lower and my stability improved immensely. On the day I made those changes, I was able to start getting across waves that were starting to break where I normally would have fallen or performed the kick out and ended my ride. Now I was able to get across the breaking portion of the wave to the unbroken part of the wave, extending my rides.
Give it a try and see if these two small changes give you more balance on your surfboard.