Stay longer on your surfboard: do the Charleston

Why your surf stance is holding you back and what to do about it

Wow, we have come so far. I started this series to help beginner surfers with the most common surfing problems. I wanted to show you in detail that these mistakes can be corrected by doing something counter-intuitive.

You will not find these solutions by paddling out on your own and falling into the water time and time again.

So far, we have covered fixing the nosedive, hand placement and today we will fix your stance for more stability and better turns. To help you understand how to do this, we will look at the Charleston Wobbly Knees dance for inspiration:

wobbly knees

Quick analysis —how your stance is holding you back

Here is what is happening when you are trying to stay on / turn on your wave:

  • correct and incorrect surf stanceYou don’t have the ability to distribute your weight effectively, because your feet is too close to each other and the knees are nearly touching, or
  • Your feet is too wide and your knees are pointing apart — you are in the “sumo stance”

You are now probably nodding and thinking that this is not happening to you. You are making this mistake, but you don’t even notice it. You don’t believe me? Try the below drill and see for yourself.

So here is how to set up your stance correctly

Just find a ball and leave it somewhere in your room, so any time you are bored, you can practice this. By doing this drill for 10–15 times in the next weeks, you will know what feeling to look for next time when you are standing up on your surfboard.

surf stanceTry it out now:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart
  2. Make sure your feet are pointing in one direction (see “correct stance below”)
  3. Squeeze the ball between your legs (for guys I mean the green ball..)

Remember: You need to be able to move your bodyweight in between your feet without having to move your feet.

How to practice the correct stance

Find a smaller ball, or make a 20 cm diameter ball by crumpling newspaper sheets and put it between your legs like this:

surf stance fix

Is this how it feels when you are on the surfboard? Probably not.. Can you feel the difference?

This stance allows you to move your bodyweight in between your feet without having to move your feet. This is what makes all the difference for making turns and generally staying longer on your board while surfing.

You can also practice this feeling by doing the Charleston, just like our old friend here:

wobbly knees

And if you are also concerned about your style, it also looks much more stylish and better than what you were doing before 🙂

Using this simple drill, you will ride more waves and have more fun surfing. And that is what matters.

Because fun in surfing = catching the most waves during your session.

Let me know if this helped you, or what you want me to cover next by emailing me at [email protected], or sign up below!

Thank you for the great feedback and the shares so far!



Do you know what is the number 1 thing holding back your progress in surfing?

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