the definition

Goofy footed surfers ride with their right foot forward, while regular footed surfers ride with their left foot forward. This means that when a goofy footed surfer is riding a wave, their left foot is closest to the tail of the board, while a regular footed surfer’s right foot is closest to the tail. There is a common misconception that the origin of these terms comes from Walt Disney’s Hawaiian Holiday (1937), featuring the character Goofy surfing. However, this legend is incorrect. In the animated short, Goofy demonstrates the ability to surf using both stances. The terms must come from the fact that the majority of surfers were and are Regular footed while a minority was seen as goofy doing it the other side.

Why do we have a preference for a particular stance?

 It all comes down to our dominant foot. Our dominant foot is typically more powerful and agile than our non-dominant foot. This foot should always be at the back of the surfboard to “drive” the board. Research suggests that our preference for a particular foot may be due to genetics and asymmetries in our brain. However, the reason why we evolved to have a preferred foot is still not fully understood.

It’s worth noting that while most surfers have a preference for one stance over the other, some professional surfers are capable of surfing both sides, as seen on the Championship Tour. However, even pro surfers will have a preference for one stance, known as their “better side.”

A Goofy footer balancing on its toes front-end

What is the consequence of being a goofy or regular footer?

Well, it will likely influence your preference for Right and Left waves. The way humans are built gives them more leverage and control over their toe side than their heel side. Controlling your body balance is much easier with your toes than on your heels.

This means that a goofy footed surfer will have more control facing left-hand waves, while a regular footed surfer will have more control facing right-hand waves. It’s important to note that this is not a hard and fast rule, and some surfers may find they have more control on one side or the other regardless of their stance. However, the majority of surfers tend to have a preference for waves of a certain direction based on their stance.

So, how do you figure out which stance you should use?

  • First, consider your past experience in other board sports. If you’re a skateboarder or Snowboarder, you may want to stick with the same stance you use for those sports.
  • Look for your dominant foot. Your dominant foot should always be at the tail of your surfboard (back).
  • If you’re unsure about your dominant foot, a quick test is to walk towards a staircase and see which foot you use to climb the first step. Or try to jump high, the foot that gives the final impulse determining the jump, the one that is the last support on the ground must be your dominant foot.
  • If you’re naturally more comfortable with one foot forward and the other backward, that’s likely the stance you should use.

It’s important to note that it will probably be a lifelong choice as once you have surfed for a while in a stance, it will be difficult to switch stances as it becomes a commitment. So, take the time to experiment and find the position that works best for you!

What about you, are you Goofy or Regular? Do you skate in one stance and surf in another?

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