Regular vs goofy foot surfing: Which surf stance are you?

Last updated on: January 23, 2023
regular vs goofy foot stance in surfing

You have probably heard the terms “regular foot” and “goofy foot” used in different board sports, including surfing. We use these terms to describe the two different stances, where your either have your left foot forward or your right foot forward on the board.

There is no “right” or “wrong” stance in surfing. It all comes down to preference and what foot you have the most stability and control over. The best surfers in the world are a mix of both regular and goofy-footed surfers.

If you are new to surfing, you need to know the difference between a regular and a goofy stance. In this article, we will explain the main difference between the two. We will also give you some tips on how to determine your own surf stance.

Surfing: Regular vs. Goofy Foot

While it would be nice to be able to choose your stance, most surfers will probably agree that you’re born either a regular or goofy-footed surfer, much like we know it from being right- or left-handed. In surfing, your dominant foot will determine your stance. Being a regular is most common, hence the name. Some studies have shown that only 30-40% of surfers are goofy-footers.

Regular: Left foot forward, right foot back

If you are placing your left foot forward on the surfboard, then you are using a regular stance.

Goofy: Right foot forward, left foot back

If you are placing your right foot forward on the surfboard, then you are using a goofy stance. If that’s the case – welcome to the goofy-gang 😉

How to determine your surfing stance: Are you regular or goofy?

Am I a regular or goofy-footed surfer? A question anyone new to surfing would be asking themself before getting started. Luckily it is very easy to determine once you know how to identify it.

If you know your dominant foot from sports like soccer, you should be able to determine your surf stance. People who kick the ball with their right foot will most likely be regular surfers, while people with a dominant left foot tend to be goofy surfers.

If you don’t know which one is your dominant foot, then we have gathered a few simple tips to help you confirm your surfing stance.

Stand on your surfboard

Try to stand on your surfboard on land. Standing on a motionless surfboard will usually give you a clear idea about which surfing stance feels more natural to you.

If in doubt, try one of the following techniques to get your first instinct confirmed.

The push technique

Stand on a flat surface with a relaxed posture. Try not to think about the exercise. Your friend will be standing behind you. Your friend’s job is to give you a gentle push on the shoulders and then observe your reflex. The foot you automatically lean forward on will determine your surfing stance.

  • If you step forward on your left foot then you are regular.
  • If you step forward on your right foot then you are goofy.

The lean technique

This technique allows you to achieve the same effect, in case you don’t have a friend around to help you with the push. Stand upright with your feet together, slowly start leaning forward in a falling motion. The foot you place forward to “catch” yourself from falling will be your front foot on the surfboard and thereby determine whether you are a regular or goofy-footed surfer.

How will your stance affect your surfing?

Your surfing stance will not have any affect on the surfboard you choose nor your surf equipment. However, your surfing stance will affect how you ride the waves. Some people will associate being “goofy” with fun and creativity while being “regular” means maintaining the status quo. In many ways, your surf stance plays a big part in your entire surfing identity and style.

In surfing, we differentiate between “left’s” and “right’s” – meaning that you can either go left or right on a wave. Your surf stance will determine whether you ride frontside or backside in those directions.
We use the term frontside when a surfer’s chest and toes are facing the wave, and backside when the surfer’s back and heels are facing the wave.

Most surfers will prefer to surf frontside since it’s generally easier and allows for more control and speed when going down the line.

Right-hand waves

Regular footed surfers ride frontside on waves breaking to their right, while goofy footed surfers ride backside on a right-hand point breaks.

Left-hand waves

Regular footed surfers ride backside on waves breaking to their left, while goofy-footed surfers ride frontside on a left-hand point breaks.

Which surfing stance is better?

As mentioned, there is no “right” or “wrong” approach. Your surfing stance will be determined by your dominant foot. Therefore, Regular footed surfers are no better than their goofy counterparts, and vice-versa. Instead, the better surfer will be defined by talent and training commitment.

To put this into some perspective, the best surfers in the world consist of both regular and goofy footers. For instance, 11-time world champion Kelly Slater is a regular footer, and so is the current women’s world champion, Carissa Moore. On the other hand, we are seeing goofy footers, among some of the best surfers that the world has ever experienced, such as Gabriel Medina and Italo Ferreira.

This clearly shows us that no stance is better than another, even though the regular stance is more widespread. As long as you know what stance you are and put in the work, then the competition between the two counterparts is equal.

By now, this article should have helped you to determine your surf stance. All there is left to do – Is for you to paddle out and put your feet to the test!

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