JOB Surf Experience Surf Tips: The Intermediate Popup

surf tips

Your popup will make or break your ride. If you drag your feet on your popup on a critical wave, you’ll miss the entire ride. At Jamie O’Brien Surf Experience, we teach our beginner surfers a fool-proof popup system that allows them to get to their feet slowly to maximize their chances of success. This pop-up method involves using your knees to stabilize you as you rise to your feet. Once surfers graduate from the beginner category and move towards an intermediate skill level, they must abandon this popup method in favor of a slightly more difficult, yet highly efficient method. If you plan on progressing as a surfer and taking on more challenging waves, then you’ll first need to master a more advanced popup method. To take your surfing to the next level, continue reading below for JOB Surf Experience Surf Tips: The Intermediate Popup.


  1. Position yourself to catch the wave

Intermediate surf tips

The first step to performing the perfect popup is positioning yourself in the ideal place to catch the wave. As we’ve mentioned in other surf tips articles, you want to catch the wave at or just next to the peak of the wave (the highest point of the wave). As the wave approaches, identify the peak and paddle towards it. As the wave begins to steepen, position yourself towards the edge of the peak and angle towards the direction you aim to surf as you paddle for the wave.


  1. Paddle Hard

surf tips

As you feel the lift of the wave, put your head down and paddle as hard as you can. Paddling hard as the wave lifts you will ensure you’re traveling the same speed of the wave as it begins to steepen.


  1. Raise your chest

Surf Tips

As you feel the speed of the wave take you, raise your chest like you’re performing the Upward Facing Dog yoga pose, supporting yourself with your palms flat on your board like you’re doing a pushup. Raising your chest shifts your weight towards the back of your board and delays the drop in just long enough for you to pop up and get to your feet.


  1. Use your back foot to begin your popup.

Surf tips

Next, bend your back knee off to the side of the board, bring your back foot to the tail of the board, and plant it firmly on the tail pad.


  1. Bring your front foot forward

surf tips

Push up through your back foot and bring your front foot forward under your chest. At this point, you should have four points of contact on the board.— your two hands, your front foot just below your chest, and your back foot on the tail pad.


  1. Rise into your surf stance

surf tips

As you plant your front foot firmly on the board below your chest, stand up into your surf stand— a slightly crouched position with your back knee bent inward. Your feet should be just over shoulder-width apart. Your gaze should be down the waves face in the direction you aim to surf, with your shoulders square facing the forward.


Mastering the intermediate popup is the first step to riding clean, unbroken waves on your own. If you’re new to surfing or a beginner in a need of a refresher course during your stay on Oahu, check out our North Shore surf school, where you’ll learn from the best surf coaches on the island. If you’re an intermediate surfer who wants to continue to improve, check out our intermediate and guided surf programs. Stay close to the action on the North shore during your stay on Oahu by booking a room at Turtle Bay Resort.


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