Standing up on a surfboard can look very easy but once you place that surfboard on a moving, pitching, surge of swirling water where you must simultaneously leap from a prone position while weighting and unweighting left, right, front, and back just to keep from diving face forward, you’ll soon realise a lot of practice will be needed! The place to start to stand is on the beach. Firstly you will need to know which foot will feel most natural to you in the forward position. The left foot forward is called natural stance and the right foot forward is a goofy foot stance. The way to find out which way you swing (!) is to stand up straight, close your eyes and ask a friend to gently nudge you forward, the foot that goes out first to steady yourself is your leading foot!
The motion from prone to standing is called the pop-up, which is basically a quick push up to your feet. Lie the board on the sand (watch the fins) and do a push-up, once your arms are at full extension, pull both knees toward your stomach and hop to your feet. If you practice this regularly it will help when in the water.
The next step is to get out there and do it. It will be best to start in the whitewater:
Step 1—Paddle for a wave and just as you feel the momentum of the surfboard flow faster than your paddling speed, you are ready to hop up.
Step 2—With your hands firmly grasping each rail push up quickly.
Step 3—Simultaneously, extend your arms completely and pull your knees quickly up to your chest. Be sure to keep your weight centred with just a little slant forward.
Step 4—Place your feet firmly on your board, one foot near the tail and one foot just above the midpoint of the board.
Step 5—Don’t stand up completely erect. Keep a low centre of gravity by crouching down and focusing your weight on the midpoint of the board. Keep your arms out, your eyes looking forward and balance.