How To Fix Your Pop Up for Surfing

Failed over the falls fumbles?

Or fluidly smooth to your feet transitions to effortless down-the-line surfing?

There’s a big difference between the two, both physically and mentally.

One is the catalyst for stylish and enjoyable surfing, while the other is the stuff of failure, frustration, and embarrassment.


Generally, surfers don’t consider the pop-up, until it’s become an utter failure, source of frustration, and lacking any type of confidence.

Perhaps it’s been lost from years of neglect.

Maybe a hip replacement or knee reconstruction made that pop up a thing of past surf memories.

Are you a beginner surfer and simply looking to dial in the technique?

No matter where you’re coming from I want to give you a clear understanding of what a pop-up is, and how you can fix it if you’re having trouble.

This is How To Fix Your Pop Up for Surfing


The first premise to understand is that a Pop-Up, which you’ll shortly learn isn’t a pop-up at all, rather a Walk-Up, is a Skill.

How long did it take you to ride a bicycle as a child?

How about throwing a perfect curveball in baseball?

And how many punches were thrown until that jab was perfect in terms of timing, speed, and efficiency?

If you’re a golfer you’re probably still working on that swing, and that’s with hours and hours at the driving range.

These are all complex and integrated full-body patterns. This is brain stuff! The neurology of motor pattern development and skill acquisition.

Without going into depth here, simply understand that whether you’re looking to build a better pop-up (walk-up), or retrain or regain your pop-up, you’re changing brain coordinated movement patterns. This takes time and repetition, and repetition is generally lacking in our surf world! Because of this there often is a need for dry land practice, simply in terms of required repetition to build brain “familiarity” of the pattern.

As I touch upon in a specific lesson within the Perfect Pop Up Program, you then need to consider how this dry-land practice carries over to the water. This requires an understanding of threat perception and how it hijacks the ability to make cognitive decision-making. Again, the details of this are discussed in the program but take on board the understanding that a new “skill” being practiced in the water will be more difficult to put into play if there is any “threat”, stress, or emotional impedance.


What this implies is that when you are practicing a new motor pattern (that new pop-up technique), it requires a conscientious effort. You have to direct mental focus towards that process. You have to think more intensely about the movement you’re going to do. It is not yet a habit as it must be focused upon. Once it becomes a habit through repetition, you don’t have to direct mental effort towards it, the nervous system simply fires off that pattern. However, any threat or stress perceived by the brain, such as fear of falling, anxiety from other surfers, stress about wave size, all of that noxious brain input will hijack your ability to conscientiously focus on the new pop-up pattern.

Keep that in mind!

With that tangent, have a watch of this. I break down Slater’s pop up, and you’ll see why it’s actually a Walk-Up

How to Fix Your Pop Up – Slater’s Pop Up Analysis

Watch the video here


In order to fix your pop-up, you first require a fundamental understanding of how your body moves and what a pop-up requires of your body.

Your ability to move your joints dictates how you can create a skilled movement like a pop-up, or any other sport-based skill movement.

Let’s throw this into an example that is physically easy to understand.

Get up and do a golf swing. Swing a driver and aim to hit that ball 200+ yards.

Do you feel that whole-body rotation, literally from head to toe?


Now, I want you to lock up your front hip. Don’t let it move. Pretend to cement it in place. Now recreate that swing.

You can’t. You literally can’t. Your lack of joint range of motion just limited your skill of swinging a golf club.

It’s the same for a pop-up.

Tight hips? Stiff ankles? A spine that can’t move? And people wonder why they can’t do a flawlessly fluid pop-up. You can’t move! Or you lack the skill as noted above.

All of those aspects, movement capacity, joint range of motion, technique, and skill, all of that can be improved!

How To Fix Your Pop Up – Technique & Exercises

Now ask yourself, how well do you move?

Are you looking after your body or creating any positive inputs to maintain a well-functioning body?

If not, it’s time to start!


You have all the tools. A basic understanding of what a Walk-Up is, the awareness of your body’s movement requirements, and a deeper comprehension of how to fix your pop-up.

Improve the skill, improve the body, integrate the process, and apply it to your surf.

If you want the process for all of this, and a step-by-step learning system for fixing your pop-up, you really should check out the Perfect Pop Up Program.

It will give you far deeper insight into the actual Technique of a pop-up, and assessment process to highlight your specific limitations, how to improve upon your specific limitations, and several weeks of fitness training to integrate your dynamic mobility and fluid strength.

Get stoked and motivated with the awareness that changing your pop-up and your surfing is within reach!

Get the ultimate TRAINING PROGRAM for Fixing & Improving Your Pop Up... For Good!


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