We’ve taken the Christmas tree down, the booze is going down the sink, and those coffee creams are heading to the trash. It’s time to get back to business with another installment of our world famous (TBD – Editor’s note) ‘how to surf’ series. Here’s part 2 of popping up on a shortboard. As far as Helen is concerned your surf style shouldn’t look like you’ve just eaten a giant bag of Haribo… why argue? But if you did spend New Year’s Day just eating handfuls of fizzy snakes whilst on your timeline everyone else was going on wholesome country walks or getting engaged to the loves of their lives, then don’t worry about it because we think you’re the real winner. But if on a shortboard you look like a wounded seagull flapping your wings about, or a backing singer in Madonna’s ‘Vogue ‘ – then this video is for you…
How you get into the wave really sets the tone for that entire wave, so it’s a good idea to focus on getting a good pop up. Here’s a recap of some of the main points from the video:
Compared to longboarders, shortboarders need to catch the wave when it is slightly steeper. Look for the ‘C’ shape in a wave. When you notice a wave start to make the letter ‘C’ shape, it means that’s a good spot to catch it. At mellow wave spots like in front of our hotel, you can kick your feet at the back of the shortboard to help propel you into the wave, but make sure you don’t de-stabilize the board. Get your head and chest down in your final 4 or 5 paddles if you are struggling to get into the wave. By getting the head and chest down, it will put weight on the front half of the board so you can drop down the wave face.
When you paddle really hard to get into a wave, make sure you don’t take all that momentum into your pop up. You always want the pop up to be smooth and controlled, and not like a jack-in-the-box or a piece of toast popping out of the toaster. Keep the arms quiet immediately after the pop up, and make sure you are lifting them up at the same time. Some students have a tendency to life the toe side arm first, but this is usually an easy error to fix and GoPro footage can be useful for this.
When you pop up going backside don’t let your front arm cross over the body and onto the toe-side rail, because you could come into poo stance territory. Keep the front arm outside of the front leg. Longboarders are also vulnerable to this error, but it is more prevalent among shortboarders.
There are lots of different ways of popping up, but on a shortboard you want your pop up to be smooth and unobtrusive. There’s no hard n’ fast rule to this one, but generally we recommend aiming towards the ‘jump up’ style of pop up if you’re on a shortboard.
One of the great things about shortboarding is the versatility. For instance it’s possible to take off on steeper waves. However, on steep waves you should angle your take off with your paddling, so you can negotiate the drop easier. Also apply a little extra pressure on the inside rail (the inside rail is the rail closest to the wave face) through your chicken wing hands and the feet. This means your surfboard will grip into the wave better, and you’re less likely to get flipped and pitched towards the beach.