Author Topic: Surfing 101: Revisiting the Pop-Up  (Read 11696 times)

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Offline SeaCliff

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Surfing 101: Revisiting the Pop-Up
« on: January 21, 2010, 10:25:57 AM »
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  • Straightforward article re-emphasizing the importance of technique for a basic pop-up. Perhaps I should listen.  ;)

    See the article in context here: http://ijustsurf.com/2010/01/revisiting-my-surfing-pop-up/

    **************************

    It has been six months since I last paddled out into the water, and my quickly aching muscles remind me of how much work it takes to paddle out into the lineup. But the ocean feels so familiar, so much like home, that the aches and pain are easily set aside in lieu of the rush. My paddling is tired and weak right now, as my muscles attempt to recall their memorized movements, and my pop-up is labored and stiff. In my head, I recall the countless articles and advice on paddling and pop-up, and I smile … for in the end, the mechanics of surfing can still be broken down into the basics!

    I once read that the movements involved in the surfing pop-up is similar to that of an explosive push up. I also read somewhere that the pop-up should be broken down into simple steps in order to build muscle memory. I have read a great number of things about surfing’s elusive pop-up, and although all of them analyze one aspect or another of this critical maneuver, they do agree on one thing: The popup should be a single fluid motion!

    And so, on this day of my return to surfing I am focusing on making my pop-ups one single fluid motion. A slight push up and an arched back (which always reminds me of yoga’s cobra pose), a quick look in either direction for good measure, and in one motion I swing my legs forward and a bit sideways as my arms create a slight pendulum for my body. The mechanics are always there in my head, but six months of land locked living needs a bit of a refresher to get back into the sing of things.

    I tire way too quickly, an obvious lack of conditioning in my paddling … a far cry from surfing two to three hour sessions 5 days a week. And as I sat on the beach exhausted and elated, I began to list the surfing pop-up tips I have amassed over the years:
    • Try not to end up on your knees. This is a tough habit to break!
    • Grabbing the rails makes it easier to slip off and give yourself a fat lip!
    • The popup should be a single fluid motion
    • When you first start off on a longboard, you use your toes to prop yourself up and hop to a standing position … short board pop-ups are exactly the same except your knees take the place of your toes
    • Hold the arched-back push-up position for a second or two to be sure you have caught the wave before completing the pop-up
    • Practicing your pop-ups on dry land is one of the best things you can do to improve your surfing
    • Think paddle, paddle, paddle, bang – you’re up!
    • Be fast, be smooth, be explosive!
    • When you push up on your board, you are also twisting your torso and jumping into a standing position
    None of these are a good substitute for getting out on a moving wave and practicing your pop-ups, but they do have merit. In the end, it is all about your on personal style and preference that dictates what works for you.

    *******************


     
    « Last Edit: January 21, 2010, 10:28:04 AM by SeaCliff »
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    Offline Shacky

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    Re: Surfing 101: Revisiting the Pop-Up
    « Reply #1 on: January 21, 2010, 11:45:46 AM »
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  • with the lack of surf i have been doing about 30 pop ups a day.  i feel so goofy, but it has been the best thing i have done for my surfing in years.  other winters i've had to go to bigger boards because i kept blowing waves.  it was really depressing.  this year has been a totally different story.   not perfect but much better.  i totally recommend doing them daily. 
    You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.

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    Offline surfplusart

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    Re: Surfing 101: Revisiting the Pop-Up
    « Reply #2 on: January 21, 2010, 02:24:38 PM »
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  • on vacation, this surfer was showing me 2 ways to pop up on a shortboard... the first way is just pop up using your arms and your knees are on the board (like in SC's post), and the other way is to turn the leg that steps on the traction pad so you feel the pad with your foot, which is what he does. does anybody here actually do this? just wondering.
    Darian would go

    Offline Looseness

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    Re: Surfing 101: Revisiting the Pop-Up
    « Reply #3 on: January 22, 2010, 01:10:50 PM »
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  • One thing i see with beginners and sometimes not so beginners do is the tippy toes back foot landing, where the back foot is NOT flat on the board, but is up on the toes/front of foot and the heel is up in the air. You can't control a surfboard like that. i know it is because of tight achilles, calf and hamstring muscles, but that needs work if you can't squat and have your back heel stay on the board.   

    i think i may do what surfplusart described though i'm not sure. my feet just land on the board, sometimes in the right place....
    It's no better to be safe than sorry....

    Offline Mark E

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    Re: Surfing 101: Revisiting the Pop-Up
    « Reply #4 on: January 23, 2010, 09:36:03 PM »
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  • I find it much harder to pop up on a shortboard because my toes are hanging of the back of the board and I have to use my knees to spring up instead of my toes.
    "Take care of your knees, you'll miss them when they are gone"

    Offline onefinookas

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    Re: Surfing 101: Revisiting the Pop-Up
    « Reply #5 on: January 24, 2010, 01:23:22 AM »
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  • I find it much harder to pop up on a shortboard because my toes are hanging of the back of the board and I have to use my knees to spring up instead of my toes.
    never use your knees, ever (seacliff).  Marke it sound like one of two things are happening, your popping up to far back on the board where the tail narrows or your pulling your wait to one side and thus your foot would follow.  Popsquats which i think they call burps now, balance boards and learning to carve a skateboard should fix that.
    "paddleboarding is bullshlt, where's my wine" anonymous

    Offline SeaCliff

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    Re: Surfing 101: Revisiting the Pop-Up
    « Reply #6 on: January 24, 2010, 10:10:29 AM »
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  • I find it much harder to pop up on a shortboard because my toes are hanging of the back of the board and I have to use my knees to spring up instead of my toes.
    never use your knees, ever (seacliff). 

    Really? Wow - this'll change my whole approach.  ;) ::) ::)

    All kidding aside, slowly but surely, all things (hopefully) improve - but on a much bigger note, what I've been working on lately is two things - both of which depend completely on a well executed pop-up. Depending on what the wave is dictating, and assuming that the wave does not call for a traditional bottom turn I've been working on either...

    1. (more) effectively setting the rail as part of the process of popping up; and/or...
    2. getting that first pump in almost immediately to bring the board higher up on the face of the wave.

    It's actually working to my benefit in a couple of ways. First and most obviously, it's way easier to control and generate speed and surf a wave with a well set rail, and certainly bringing the board immediately up and into the power of the wave itself is a staple of seasoned surfers everywhere (I've watched  nycwipeout, shacky, goth, onefin and countless others do it a zillion times) - but bigger than that - as I mentioned, you can perform neither of these unless your pop-up is well executed.

    Of course, I could work on these things a helluva lot more if I could just stop this annoying habit of setting up for phantom bottom turns on waves that don't require them...  ::) ::) ::) ::)
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    Offline Mark E

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    Re: Surfing 101: Revisiting the Pop-Up
    « Reply #7 on: January 24, 2010, 10:32:42 AM »
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  • I am definitely ending up with my feet too close together and a little nearer the tail than I should be.


    It's not that I am getting to my knees first its just that I have to use my knees to lift my hips off the board and then swing my feet underneath. I think some people use a different technique where they bring their back foot up to the tail and use that to spring up from.


    This is how I do it with varying amounts of success 
    Real short board pop-up
    "Take care of your knees, you'll miss them when they are gone"

    Offline SeaCliff

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    Re: Surfing 101: Revisiting the Pop-Up
    « Reply #8 on: January 24, 2010, 11:19:41 AM »
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  • I am definitely ending up with my feet too close together and a little nearer the tail than I should be.


    It's not that I am getting to my knees first its just that I have to use my knees to lift my hips off the board and then swing my feet underneath. I think some people use a different technique where they bring their back foot up to the tail and use that to spring up from.


    This is how I do it with varying amounts of success 
    Real short board pop-up

    Mark - I understand what you're saying about using your thighs/knees to create the space for your legs - but it really should be MUCH more about sliding your hands a little futher back towards your hips and using the pushup itself to create the space. Try moving your hands back, you'll see what I mean.

    Far bigger than that - after watching guys like nycwipeout and onefin up close, and also studying and slow mo-ing countless images and vids of accomplished friends and pros alike in all the vids, I've come to the conclusion that they dont' "jump" up on the board at all as pictured in the vid the majority of the time - they actually maintain pressure on and transfer control of the board from their prone body to their hands, and then from their hands to their feet in a very smooth, deliberate manner. Seems subtle at first, bit it's actually of major consequence if you think about it. Here's why:

    If I just "pop-up" as in the vid their is a fraction of a second of time where there is virtually no weight and therefore no control of the board at all. A set rail becomes relatively unset as the board rises in the water and slides with no one at the helm. If I transfer control as described, I maintain at least some element of weight on the board. Then by default, I am also keeping weight and pressure on the rail I am trying to set for direction and control.

    Now my guess is that 99.99% of the best surfers we know or have seen anywhere do this entirely by instinct and have never even given this a second thought, or even a first thought for that matter. For me, I have to work on things like this very deliberately, very consciously - and I can tell you, when I do, I get FAR better rides as a result.
    « Last Edit: January 24, 2010, 11:22:43 AM by SeaCliff »
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    Offline Mark E

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    Re: Surfing 101: Revisiting the Pop-Up
    « Reply #9 on: January 24, 2010, 01:15:19 PM »
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  • Ok, I just figures something out. It is easier if, instead of trying to swing both feet underneath me at the same time, I rotate my body a little so that I can sneak my back foot unto position and use that to push up on to bring my front foot forward.


    i saw a video of this on the youtubes but I can't find it now.


    My family must think I am nuts, I have my fish on some cushions in the bedroom and I am practicing my surfing. Oh and yes I am a grown man in his mid-forties.
    "Take care of your knees, you'll miss them when they are gone"

    Offline snaggletooth

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    Re: Surfing 101: Revisiting the Pop-Up
    « Reply #10 on: January 24, 2010, 02:04:04 PM »
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  • i don't think you want to do that (put your back foot down first). both feet should land about the same time, no? i don't think you want to push off your knees either - just seems weird to me and will sort of destabilize the board. come to think of it, i think it's my quadricep muscle that touches the board last before my feet hit, never the knees.
     
     
    Also, i don't think it's something you can overthink. I know if i even think about blowing a wave, i likely will, or if i even think too much about how i want to pop up, it kills my rhythm. you just have to surf enough that you get it (and stay strong when you're not in the water, which apparently, i didn't do this last little break and am paying for it).
     
     i've done the board on the bed thing, too. one of the best ways to mimic the shortboard pop-up, i've found, is to grab a sturdy bench and get your legs hanging off the end and practice pop-ups that way. you can't rely on your toes. or, just come to my bootcamp class - we do 8,000 burpees (squat thrusts) a class.
     
    This is coming from someone who sucks so take it with a grain of salt and an "i know what you're going through"
    « Last Edit: January 24, 2010, 02:08:30 PM by snaggletooth »

    Offline Looseness

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    Re: Surfing 101: Revisiting the Pop-Up
    « Reply #11 on: January 24, 2010, 02:26:25 PM »
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  • Ok, I just figures something out. It is easier if, instead of trying to swing both feet underneath me at the same time, I rotate my body a little so that I can sneak my back foot unto position and use that to push up on to bring my front foot forward.


    i saw a video of this on the youtubes but I can't find it now.


    My family must think I am nuts, I have my fish on some cushions in the bedroom and I am practicing my surfing. Oh and yes I am a grown man in his mid-forties.
    NOPE
    this sounds like a two stage maneuver, which will always take longer. "Easier" maybe, slower definitely. think about it, re-read your descriptions below and think which would be faster/cleaner, which it all important in this thing.

     "swing both feet underneath me at the same time", faster/cleaner

     "I rotate my body a little so that I can sneak my back foot unto position and use that to push up on to bring my front foot forward". two stage- slower

    if you're going to practice something out of the water don't practice the slow, crash on late takeoff method that seems easier.... you're just training yourself into a bad habit that you'll have to unlearn. It's called a POP-UP not a use my back foot to help get my front foot forward UP.
     
    It's no better to be safe than sorry....

    Offline Mark E

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    Re: Surfing 101: Revisiting the Pop-Up
    « Reply #12 on: January 24, 2010, 03:05:19 PM »
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  • Ok, I just figures something out. It is easier if, instead of trying to swing both feet underneath me at the same time, I rotate my body a little so that I can sneak my back foot unto position and use that to push up on to bring my front foot forward.


    i saw a video of this on the youtubes but I can't find it now.


    My family must think I am nuts, I have my fish on some cushions in the bedroom and I am practicing my surfing. Oh and yes I am a grown man in his mid-forties.
    NOPE
    this sounds like a two stage maneuver, which will always take longer. "Easier" maybe, slower definitely. think about it, re-read your descriptions below and think which would be faster/cleaner, which it all important in this thing.

     "swing both feet underneath me at the same time", faster/cleaner

     "I rotate my body a little so that I can sneak my back foot unto position and use that to push up on to bring my front foot forward". two stage- slower

    if you're going to practice something out of the water don't practice the slow, crash on late takeoff method that seems easier.... you're just training yourself into a bad habit that you'll have to unlearn. It's called a POP-UP not a use my back foot to help get my front foot forward UP.
     


    You are right, i just tried that again, prolly wouldn't work on a late take off. Definitely helps to rotate my body a little just before pop up. That way I seem to land with my feet in a more shorboard stance.
    "Take care of your knees, you'll miss them when they are gone"

    Offline Mark E

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    Re: Surfing 101: Revisiting the Pop-Up
    « Reply #13 on: February 08, 2010, 09:39:27 AM »
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  • Ok, yesterday I took SC suggestion of placing my hands nearer my hips for the pop up and that made all the difference in the world. It felt much more natural and was lot less effort.


    Thanks SC.


    "Take care of your knees, you'll miss them when they are gone"

    Offline SeaCliff

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    Re: Surfing 101: Revisiting the Pop-Up
    « Reply #14 on: February 08, 2010, 10:21:15 AM »
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  • Ok, yesterday I took SC suggestion of placing my hands nearer my hips for the pop up and that made all the difference in the world. It felt much more natural and was lot less effort.

    Thanks SC.


     ;D ;D

    Next tip: Try this -

    Take two dumbbells and place them on the floor, about 20 - 25" apart, and then use them for pushups - but here's the kick:

    Place them parallel to your body, but instead of having them forward like a normal pushup, have them back closer to your hips, in approx the place you want to have your hands when you pop up. Try it - it not only reinforces hand position, but strengthens the exact muscles you need to execute the pop-up!

    Now...with the dumbbells in the same position, do several pop ups, concentrating on this: smoothness, foot landing position, and imagining that the handles of the dumbbells are the rails of your board and you are setting a rail into the wave and taking a line.

    As a side note, one of the other benefits of using dumbbells like this as opposed to just doing them on a flat floor is that the slight elevation and the grip of the bar much more closely resembles the feel of pushing down and popping up on a board....at least to me.

    I still have a loooooooooooong way to go, but this is definitely helping me...hope it helps you too!
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