How to Stand Up on a Shortboard

How to Stand Up on a Shortboard

Surfing embodies the spirit of freedom and a profound connection with nature. It’s a sport that offers an exhilarating experience for individuals of all skill levels, from novices to seasoned surfers. An essential skill in the world of wave riding is mastering the art of standing up on a shortboard. This skill opens up a world of possibilities for surfers, and shortboards are particularly renowned for their maneuverability and responsiveness. In this comprehensive guide, we will take you through the step-by-step process of becoming proficient at standing up on a shortboard.

We will provide you with invaluable tips, techniques, and insights to help you catch waves with grace and confidence. Let’s read below “How to Stand Up on a Shortboard?”

Choosing the Ideal Shortboard

Before you embark on the journey of standing up on a shortboard, selecting the right board is crucial. The choice of your shortboard significantly influences your surfing experience. Here are some critical factors to consider:

Board Dimensions:

  • Length: Shortboards typically range from 5’6″ to 7’0″. Shorter boards offer greater maneuverability, while longer ones provide stability, which is beneficial for beginners.
  • Width: Wider boards provide enhanced stability, while narrower ones are more agile.
  • Thickness: Thicker boards have superior buoyancy, making them suitable for novice surfers.

Tail Shape:

  • Squash tails offer a balanced blend of control and maneuverability.
  • Pin tails excel in providing control in larger waves.
  • Round tails are versatile and adaptable to various wave conditions.


  • More rocker (curvature from nose to tail) is ideal for steep waves and quick turns.
  • Less rocker suits flatter waves and allows for greater speed.


  • The number and placement of fins significantly impact stability and maneuverability.
  • Choose a shortboard that aligns with your skill level and is tailored to the type of waves you intend to surf.

Navigating the Paddle-Out

  • Before you can stand up on your shortboard, you must navigate through the surf zone to reach the lineup. Here are some valuable tips to assist you in this endeavor:

Assess the Wave Break:

  • Carefully observe the wave patterns to identify the most efficient route through the surf zone.
  • Look for channels or gaps in the waves that allow for easier paddling.

Timing is Key:

  • Time your paddle-out between sets of waves to avoid getting trapped inside.
  • Exercise patience and wait for a lull in the waves before initiating your paddle-out.

Utilize the Duck Dive (or Turtle Roll):

  • If the waves are breaking close to shore, mastering the duck dive (for shortboards) or turtle roll (for longboards) is crucial to pass beneath the waves.
  • Regular practice of these techniques will help conserve your energy during the paddle-out.

III. Achieving Optimal Board Position

After successfully navigating the breaking waves, it’s essential to position yourself correctly on the shortboard. Proper positioning is key to maintaining balance and control:

Begin with a Prone Stance:

Start by lying flat on your stomach on the board, ensuring that your chest is centered on the board’s midpoint.

Let your feet hang off the tail.

Locate Your Balance Point:

  • Find the board’s equilibrium by slightly shifting your body forward and backward.
  • You will notice increased stability once you identify the board’s center.

Mastering Effective Paddling

  • Efficient paddling is vital for wave catching and maintaining control of your shortboard. Here’s how to hone your paddling technique:

Maintain Correct Arm Placement:

  • Extend your arms straight in front of you.
  • Cup your hands slightly and immerse your fingertips into the water.

Employ the Pull Technique:

  • Use your arms to pull through the water while keeping your body parallel to the board.
  • Maintain a rhythmic and consistent paddling motion to maximize your speed.

Incorporate Leg Kicking:

  • Engage your legs to provide additional propulsion by delivering gentle kicks.
  • Ensure that your feet stay submerged to minimize drag.

Keep Your Focus Forward:

  • Elevate your head and maintain your gaze towards the horizon.
  • This practice will facilitate directional stability and allow you to anticipate incoming waves.

Catching Your First Wave

  • With efficient paddling and optimal positioning in place, it’s time to catch your first wave:

Select the Right Wave:

  • Choose a wave that matches your current skill level; smaller waves are ideal for beginners.

Timing is Everything:

  • Initiate your paddling just before the wave approaches.
  • Strive to match the speed of the oncoming wave as it draws near.

Apply Vigorous Paddling:

  • Exert maximum effort in your paddling as you aim to catch the wave.
  • The speed you generate will determine your ability to synchronize with the wave’s momentum.

Execute the Pop-Up:

  • As the wave lifts the tail of your board, initiate the pop-up.
  • Place your hands flat on the board near your chest and push your upper body upwards.
  • Bring your front foot forward between your hands and pivot on it to position your back foot correctly.

Perfecting the Pop-Up

  • The pop-up is a pivotal element in the art of standing up on a shortboard. Here’s how to execute it effectively:

Practice on Dry Land:

  • Prior to hitting the waves, dedicate time to practice the pop-up on solid ground to become familiar with the motion.

Embrace Fluidity:

  • Prioritize executing the pop-up smoothly and with control.
  • Avoid abrupt, jerky movements that could disrupt your balance.

Place Your Front Foot:

  1. As you execute the pop-up, position your front foot either on or just behind the board’s midpoint.
  2. This placement offers stability and control.

Set Your Back Foot:

  • Maneuver your back foot into its designated position, ensuring it is perpendicular to the board’s stringer (centerline).
  • Maintain a shoulder-width distance between your feet.

Keep Your Eyes Forward:

Keep your gaze fixed on the horizon to sustain balance and orientation.

VII. Maintaining Balance

Staying balanced while standing up on a shortboard is essential. Here are tips to help you remain on your feet:

Bend Your Knees:

Slightly flex your knees to absorb the board’s natural movements and maintain balance.

Engage Your Core:

Activate your core muscles to stabilize your upper body.

Shift Your Weight:

To initiate turns, shift your weight toward the rail (edge) you want to turn toward.

Lean forward to execute a bottom turn and backward for a top turn.

Dedicate Time to Practice:

  • Balance improves with practice, so spend ample time on your board.

VIII. Riding Your First Wave

Now that you are standing on your shortboard and maintaining balance, it’s time to ride your first wave:

Maintain Focus on the Wave:

  • Keep your attention on the approaching wave.
  • Direct your gaze towards your intended path rather than fixating on your feet.

Generate Speed:

  • Shift your weight slightly forward to accelerate and stay ahead of the wave’s break.

Execute the Bottom Turn:

  • To ride the wave, initiate a bottom turn by leaning forward and toward the wave’s face.
  • This technique allows you to follow the wave’s natural trajectory.

Explore Carving and Maneuvering:

  • Experiment with carving and subtle maneuvers to become familiar with your board’s responsiveness.

Prioritizing Safety

  • While surfing is exhilarating, safety is paramount. Here are safety tips to remember:

Respect Fellow Surfers:

  • Adhere to surf etiquette and give the right of way to surfers on the wave.
  • Avoid “dropping in” on others.

Know Your Limits:

  • Begin with smaller waves and gradually progress to larger ones.
  • Don’t push yourself beyond your current skill level.

Be Aware of Hazards:

  • Stay vigilant for potential hazards in the water, such as rocks, reefs, and other surfers.

Use the Appropriate Equipment:

  • Always use a leash to prevent your board from drifting away.
  • Wear a suitable wetsuit appropriate for the water temperature.


Mastering the art of standing up on a shortboard is a fundamental skill that unlocks the thrilling world of wave riding. By selecting the right board, perfecting the pop-up, and maintaining balance, you can confidently catch waves with grace and style.

Surfing is a continuous journey, and improvement comes with dedicated practice. So, grab your shortboard, head to the ocean, and immerse yourself in the exhilarating experience of riding waves. With commitment and perseverance, you’ll soon be riding the waves with the skill and finesse of a seasoned pro.

I hope you like reading about “How to Stand Up on a Shortboard?”






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