When learning to surf, one crucial thing to know from the very beginning is whether you are “goofy” or “regular” – that is, whether your left foot (regular) or your right foot (goofy) is in the front.
Those of you who skate or snowboard may already know what their position on the skate- / snowboard is. However, when just learning how to surf it’s best to forget all the prior boarding-knowledge you may have. I’ve been snowboarding for many years, and from the very beginning I’ve been standing on the board with my right foot in the front. So when I came to Itacaré to try out surfing, I naturally thought I´d stand on the surfboard the same way as I stand on my snowboard...WRONG! After 2 weeks of barely being able to stand up and making really slow progress, the instructors suggested I switch to regular. And viola…it was a lot easier! To make sure you don’t lose 2 weeks of your precious time, here are a few simple exercises that may help you find your right base:
1. Play some football with your friends and pay attention to which foot you use to kick the ball. Whichever foot you use for kicking will likely be your BACK foot.
2. Now walk up some stairs. Which foot do you use to take that first step? This one will probably be your BACK foot.
3. If you’re not already a skater then try to find a skateboard and just switch between your right and left foot. See which position feels more natural to you and which foot gives you the balance you need.
4. Lie on your stomach on the ground as you would on a surfboard, putting your hands under your shoulders as if you were going to do a pushup. Spring into a surfing or riding stance. Try it first with your left foot forward and then with your right. Whichever stance feels better is probably the right one for you.
So take your time to do these exercises and figure out whether you’re goofy or regular. If you’re not sure what your base is by the time your surfcourse starts, then talk to the instructors and just try to get up on both sides. They will be able to tell you which one is probably your front foot and you will certainly feel that one of them feels more natural than the other.