A friend once asked me if I would prefer to have a boyfriend who was an amazing pro surfer sponsored by Quiksilver, but terrible in bed; or a boyfriend that had dreadful poo stance but was incredible in the sack. Actually she didn’t quite use those words, but modesty prevents me from repeating her exact articulation. If you’re unfamiliar with the term ‘poo stance’ it refers to a surfer who stands on their surfboard with their bottom sticking out and bending at the waist. It looks like they are going to the bathroom. It’s also known as stink bug stance, or stripper butt.
But back to my friend’s question, and I chose the second option, the guy with the poo stance. I made that decision because poo stance is not a crime, and it can be easily corrected. A lot of beginner surfers will stand in poo stance, so we’ve all been there at some point. Also there are some professional surfers such as current World Champion Gabriel Medina, Adriano de Souza, and Sally Fitzgibbons who are often referred to as having a ‘boxy’, parallel shinned stance.
In this video I run through lots of examples of poo stance, and ways to fix it. If you’re wondering why there are no toilet noises in the video, well unfortunately the boss very loudly forbade me from including them…
I hope this video is useful because I think stance is a very important issue which often gets overlooked. How you carry yourself on the wave says a lot and sets your overall style. Your stance is like the first position in ballet, or the posture a golfer has before the swing. If your surf stance is good then learning turns and manoeuvres is going to be much easier.
At Pura Vida Adventures we use lots of drills to make sure that beginner students have a solid stance. If you’re looking for a surf camp where all the instructors are cool surfer dudes smoking doobies, then this is probably not the right place for you. However if you’re looking for articulate, intelligent teachers then we have a lot to offer. Here’s a recap of some the video’s main points:
Bad feet positioning is often the root cause of poo stance. If your front foot doesn’t reach the stringer (the line running down the center of the board) then your upper body is likely to compensate and lean over the toe side rail. So be disciplined with your feet. Make two crosses out of tape on your bedroom floor and position them a bit more than shoulder width apart. Practice popping up so that your feet land slap bang on the crosses.
Keep the front arm outside the front knee. The front arm should not come across the body. I like to have my arms in the ‘Neanderthal’ style with both arms held loosely in front of the body. Or imagine that you’re holding in front of you a tray of mojitoes for your friends. Everyone likes mojitoes! The chest should be pointing forward, or in the direction you want to go.
The knees must always be bent, but it’s more than just that. The knees should also be tracking in towards each other, like that first stop you learn in skiing, the snow plough.
Tuck the pelvis under. Pilates students are often familiar with this concept. I always like to tell students to ‘push the bush’ and I wanted to call this video ‘push the bush’, but sadly I was overruled by company top brass. Keep the bum over the surfboard (and if you keep the chest pointing forwards this will help a lot). Don’t let the bottom come outside the parameters of the surfboard.
Finally the video camera is your friend, and not a foe. This season at Pura Vida Adventures we have beefed up our Video Analysis Program. The overwhelming feedback we were getting from clients was that they loved the video sessions, so this season we’ve decided to give you more of the things you want. The video sessions are great for correcting errors that you might not be aware you’re doing. Sadly it’s true that we all put on at least 10 pounds on video, but that’s outweighed by the new enthusiasm you will feel for the sport. Small keys can open big locks.