Surfing Stances: Regular, Goofy Foot and A Third Stance

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Image Source: CFOX

There are two stances in surfing, the regular and the goofy foot. So what is the third stance? We’ll talk about it later. First, let’s identify the differences between regular and goofy foot stances in surfing.

It is clear that there is no right or wrong stance in surfing. It is all a matter of preference whether you are more comfortable riding with your left foot forward and right foot back (regular), or riding with your right foot forward and left foot back (goofy).

This is something you should decide upon early on when you start learning how to ride. When you find what you’re comfortable with, you can focus on fine-tuning your skills on that stance.

Determining your surfing stance

So how do you know whether you are a goofy foot or a regular foot surfer? Watch this video below for tips.

As a general rule, the foot you walk with first is your least dominant foot. That will help you identify which foot you will put forward and which one back.

Regular vs. Goofy

So what is the difference between the two aside from which foot is forward? Is one better than the other? Well in the World Surf League’s championship tour, there are more tour stops that favor the regular foot than the goofy foot surfers and that can be considered an advantage. But does that mean that regular stance is better than goofy? Not exactly, as several world champions are goofy-footers.

Here is a list of surfing world champions grouped by their stance.


Midget Farrelly (’64)
Felipe Pomar (’65)
Nat Young (’66)
Fred Hemmings (’68)
Peter Townend (’76)
Shaun Tomson (’77)
Wayne Bartholomew (’78)
Mark Richards (’79-’82)
Tom Curren (’85-’86, ’90)
Martin Potter (’89)
Kelly Slater (’92, ’94-’98, ’05-’06, ’08, ’10-‘11)
Sunny Garcia (’00)
Andy Irons (02-’04)
Mick Fanning (’07, ’09, ’13)
Joel Parkinson (’12)
Adriano De Souza (’15)
John John Florence (’16)


Rolf Aurness (’70)
Jim Blears (’72)
Tom Carroll (’83-’84)
Damien Hardman (’87, ’91)
Barton Lynch (’88)
Derek Ho (’93)
Mark Occhilupo (’99)
CJ Hobgood (’01)
Gabriel Medina (’14)

One might observe that the ratio is 17:9 or 65% against 35% in favor of the regular foot. But as prevailing arguments suggest, the playing field for goofy and regular-foot surfers in pro surfing wasn’t really leveled. It was always a hill climb for goofy-footers to win championships and that clearly indicates how good these goofy-foot champions were.

Well, the playing field might be leveled soon, thanks to the success of the Future Classics event at Kelly Slater’s ranch that provided both left and right waves in a consistent manner.

Scientific Theory:

In a post by Inertia on why goofy is goofy, the author has argued that regular-foot surfers have dominant left brains, which controls the logical thinking needed for fine motor skills. On the other hand, goofy-foot surfers have dominant right brains, which controls the creative side of things.

This explains why goofy Rob Machado is a wonderful soul surfer, while regular-foot Kelly Slater is a logical, and tactical, competitive machine.

Rob Machado the Soul Surfer:

Kelly Slater’s best waves in competition:

The Third Stance:

Does this sound new to you? Well, there is always something new in surfing! As cliché as it seems, it is true that surfing has evolved a lot throughout the generations. The surfboards today are different from several years ago. The fins today are becoming more improved and the way surfers surf today have definitely become more innovative. Back then aerials seemed impossible, today, many surfers can just spring up into the air as a normal routine. Wave pools were once just being imagined, now wave pools are becoming part of pro surfing competitions. We have come so far in surfing.

And the latest evolution in surfing is the third stance. It is a unique surfing stance that defies everything we have discussed about goofy and regular-foot surfing. We’d like to call it the “No-foot stance”.

If you have never seen one, you should watch these guys in the video below who decided that the unconventional way of riding surfboards would give them the ultimate fun and enjoyment of their lives.

And you might question whether it is fun but here’s solid proof that these innovative thinkers can have fun in surfing waves the unconventional way.

You can be the judge, whether this kind of surfing is acceptable or not. But as far as this video below is concerned, it seems the guys meet the basic definition of surfing and that is catching waves, regardless if they were standing up or not.

Introducing No-Foot surfing stance at its best, enjoy!

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