Day 1 – Popping up on a Small Paddle Board

Day 1 – Popping up on a Small Paddle Board


Alright!  Let’s learn how to paddle a smaller board.  I’m committed to 7 days of practice to surf a smaller board…  Please let me know what’s working for you or your tips/tricks that could help me or other folks out.  Commenting below is the best way, then it’s here forever!

The board I’m riding for this quick video is a 7.9×27 at 88L.  It floats me well and it’s overall pretty stable.  I weigh in at 83KG, so I have a few extra pounds of float.  I figured it would be easier to see the foot work with the board out of the water.


Here we go…

SUP Pop Up - 1

This is just a normal sitting position.  I prefer to keep my paddle blade on my right side as that’s where I want it when I pop up.  It’s a quick maneuver and I have a single second if I’m lucky to get the blade in the water for balance before I fall.  So having the blade on the right side is key.

SUP Pop Up - 2

The first step is to lean forward and get your weight on your hands.  They will be just in front of your legs.  Notice that I have my right hand, toe side bottom hand, on the paddle in the spot where I hold it to paddle.  You can’t see it in this image, but my back foot is starting to swing behind me.  I pop up in surf stance.  Back foot swings behind and the front foot will come up through my arms.

SUP Pop Up - 3

Here if you look closely you can se the back foot toes finding the board.  I won’t need to move my foot from this point.

Sidenote:  When I first started popping up from seated… first I started paddling fast and popping up like I was surfing, but I found that was actually harder.  Then I switched to popping up, almost like jumping, both feet at the same time, but there was too much motion and chance of where you land and how your weighted.  I have found that although this pop up that I’m describing happens super fast, it is very fluid and there’s no loss of contact with the board.  You can even do it slow at times if the situation calls for it.

So, back foot swinging under and almost all weight is on the hands.

SUP Pop Up - 4

Back foot is grounded and front foot is coming up.  This is a pretty stable stance as you have 3 points of balance.  Depending on your board size you could maintain this position.  Once my front foot comes out here I’m sinking, so the clock is ticking.

SUP Pop Up - 5

Front foot coming up.  Notice that my head and eyes are pointed forward on the horizon.  Normally, I’d be tracking a wave or looking out at the set coming in.

SUP Pop Up - 6

Front foot is now in surf stance.  I wrote a guide on surf paddle stance and different stances, if you haven’t read them I’d suggest it.

Notice that my top hand is finding the paddle.  Once you get control of the paddle with the blade in the water you’re in a very stable position.  This is the position that I’ll wait in the lineup in instead of sitting down sometimes.  You’re in surf stance so you can catch a wave in 2 second with two or three strokes.

SUP Pop Up - 7

Same stance, full control of paddle.  Blade buried.  It’s better to have your blade buried beneath the water because you can control to both directions by pulling up on the water or pushing down.  I do this when I stand now too, but learned it in this stance.

SUP Pop Up - 8

Transitioning from crouch to paddling.  When you stand up, you’re going to sink your board more… when sinking you always want to sink tail first.  I call it the hole, and coming out of the hole.  If you can maintain tail down and nose out of the water, you can pull yourself out of the hole with a big stroke.  Remember yesterday when I said shorter paddles will help you… this is one of those situations.

SUP Pop Up - 9

Notice that beautiful paddle 🙂  You can get a 20% discount by using promo code Paddlewoo.  1 Year in and haven’t broken one 27N paddle.

I’m in full surf stance here.  It’s efficient to pop up in surf stance as you have zero steps needed to take off on a wave.  In this photo I’ve just pulled myself out of the hole and now I’m on top of the water.

SUP Pop Up - 10

Figured I’d show you the correct way to sit down while we’re at it… It’s easier than popping up.  Step 1 is to find your board with your hands.  Same position as popping up.  Let go of the top hand of your paddle.

SUP Pop Up - 11

Weight is now on the hands.  Back foot unweights first.  Then you do a little jump off the board to a seated position.

SUP Pop Up - 12

And your done.

Now, go practice and let me know how it’s going below!  Comments and shares motivate me to do these blogs.

If you love popping up on flat water, then you’d really love getting tubed at offshore beach breaks in Costa Rica!  Contact us to find out the best time to get the waves you’d like to surf.


Fisher Grant

Fisher Grant

Episode 7 of the podcast features Fisher Grant.  Fisher is an inspiration to me as a surfer, as he is arguably the most well rounded 18 year-old in our world.  In the Surfing America’s Championships this month in California, Fisher placed 5th in shortboard (missing the final by less than a point), 2nd in longboard, and he won the SUP surfing event.

I wanted Fisher to come on the show as he is in a unique position to comment on where SUP surfing fits into surfing as a whole, what he loves about it, and how he feels surfing multiple disciplines helps each.  He is candid and thoughtful with his responses and I hope I get the opportunity to surf and play some music with Fisher at some point in the future.


I feel that I can push a lot harder on a Standup than I can on a Shortboard. – Fisher Grant




Fisher’s Website –

Fisher and his brother Kieran’s Facebook page –

Fisher’s Instagram –

Show Notes:

  • 0:45 – Fisher Grant gives us some bio info, surf history though shortboard, longboard and SUP.  Started contests at 10 years old.
  • 1:30 – Travel history.  Lots of California, Mexico, Nica, France and Morocco with Standup World Tour
  • 2:50 – USA National Championships, Fisher won SUP, 2nd at Longboard and 5th in Shortboard.
  • 3:30 – Fisher talks differences between Shortboard, Longboard, and SUP.
  • 4:50 – Longboard is all about style, Shortboard fits into tight pockets.
  • 5:50 – Erik explains when he fell in love with SUP surfing (perfect marriage between style, flow and power)
  • 7:00 – Does SUP make Fisher a better shortboarder?  Longboard?
  • 7:44 – Is it an advantage to do all three sports?  Fisher says definitely
  • 8:30 – How does the paddle fit in?  How do you think of it while surfing?
  • 9:00 – What is Fisher’s take on “paddle tricks?”
  • 10:10 – How does Fisher approach backside surfing on a standup?
  • 11:30 – Fisher uses 27North paddles, cut about forehead high
  • 12:48 – Fisher is 5’10” and 155lbs, riding 65-70L, he’s underwater when he’s waiting for waves
  • 13:21 – Tail high technique, doing a duck-dive with your feet…
  • 13:49 – Erik gets honest about why he’s doing the podcast
  • 14:10 – Fisher loves futures fins, they’re more responsive.  Futures you should sponsor Fisher Grant!  He uses Futures Blacksticks
  • 15:12 – Fisher is an artist, he explains his work.  He is getting into playing guitar.  His dad is his agent.
  • 17:10 – Fisher’s plans for the future?  Full time on Standup World Tour
  • 18:40 – Payette River Games, why did the surfers have the advantage?
  • 19:20 – What is the most difficult?  Shortboard, Longboard, or SUP?  He says SUP.  Is it harder to catch waves on a SUP?
  • 20:40 – Informational advantage on a SUP.
  • 20:50 – Would it change shortboarder’s attitudes to know how hard it is to SUP?
  • 22:00 – SUP Native vs. SUP Immigrant
  • 24:00 – What does a Paddle Enhanced Video look like in 10 years?  Where are boards?
  • 25:00 – Fisher says not to rush into a very low liter board, you need to work down to it.
  • 26:00 – Fisher surfed a normal longboard at the Carolina Cup contest?  He got 2nd to Colin McPhillips in that event.
  • 27:45 – Closing Thoughts – Just do what makes you have fun!