Deeper Surf Stance and Foot Position While Surfing

Erik Antonson
Erik Antonson
May 6, 2016

Morning…  Ro emailed in last night with a few questions that I’m sure are relevant to most folks, so I’ll answer them here.  Bout to go get a surf!  And drop a new podcast this afternoon…  Will Taylor, editor of SUP the Mag did the show a few weeks ago, and I’m finally wrapping that episode up.  If you’re not subscribed to the podcast, it is the best way to listen…  Subscribe on iTunes and then you’ll be notified when an episode releases.  Sometimes I’ll get the show up a few days before I get it on the website, so you’ll know first…  Enjoy, E

you have opened my mind thinking about surf stance vs race, plus getting back enough.  Going down to 110l my natural instict put me from the original feet parallel on big boards to a race style stance to help with the lower volume and shorter board at 8′.  When on a wave i then step back and accross. So now i read your article and light bulb on i can forsee the advantages to feet on stringer, then just step back into it.  SO a couple of questions, do you always paddle surf style, i.e. with your feet on the stringer or just when getting ready to paddle into a wave?  if you are always in surf stance do you paddle both sides or just the one?

No, I don’t always paddle in surf stance.  My normal paddling stance is my feet close together, my front foot (surfing) forward and my back foot about 6 inches or so behind.  If conditions are worse my feet will spread out a bit.  When I catch a wave sometimes I don’t change stance, as my front foot is always close to the stringer, and I think it can be stylish to roll into a wave with your feet close together, but if the wave is steep or at all critical then I go into a pretty aggressive surf stance.  The more critical the wave is the wider my stance is and the further back on the board I am. I’ll sometimes take off on wave as they are breaking and when I do that I’m already back on my tail.  In the lead photo of this blog, you can see a fairly aggressive surf stance.  That is the stance that I used to paddle into this wave.  Foot is already in bottom turn position.  The way I normally will transition all the way back is as I am paddling aggressively towards the peak on a wave, I’ll move my feet a few inches in between strokes.  It all happens fast, but in 4 stokes you can be in a full surf stance, BEFORE you start to paddle for the wave.  Never change stances WHILE your catching the wave.

Up to this point my paddling has been very lopsided towards my toe side.  So much so, that I can see a difference in my thighs.  My front leg thigh is a touch bigger than my back leg.  I’m working on evening this out right now and have tried a number of things.  When I did the Connor Baxter episode, and talking to him, I realized that I had to get good paddling on the heel side.  So, for the next week I only paddled on that side.  It was terrible, but I got it.  And am now about 80% proficient.  I still fall more in bad conditions, but can get by.  If you watch Danny Ching paddle, he switches his stance just a touch, when he switches sides.  From a very slight surf stance on toe side to a parallel stance on heel side.  I’ve been working on this and it makes the backside paddling more powerful, instead of pulling across your body.

In this video you can see Danny switching stances just a touch switching sides.

I think i am not always getting back enough, your comment “if you think you are back enough, go 1 foot further and you are probably there”, i think that sums me up.  I find if on a fast grunty wave i can get right back and stay back but on the fatter waves i am up forward to try and keep going.  I think i need my front foot just behind the handle, so maybe half a foot back, then move rear between current spot but then be able to get it right back for the WHAM.

That sounds correct.  There isn’t a perfect spot on a board to surf.  You’ll move around a whole lot.  Colin epitomizes this… watch his feet in the video below.  It’s amazing how much he’s moving around, but when notice where his feet are when he’s turning.  There isn’t anyone else on the planet that does this, but it’s a great example of knowing your board and how to utilize the different areas for different goals.

If you like these blogs and want to keep them coming, show support by sharing and commenting.  Let’s create a community of paddle surfers and a resource for all of us to improve.  Email me here with your questions, or thoughts.  Maybe I’ll answer them on a future blog!


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