How to The 3 stage Pop-up

How to pop up on your surfboard

The three stage method is the second of our two pop-up methods in our online surf school “learn to surf”-series. Missed the first one? Check out our surf blog on 

How to pop up on your surfboard: the straight Pop-up here

Now, today, we are looking at the three stage pop-up which is considered slightly easier to master than the straight pop-up and ensures that you can still get to your feet and enjoy surfing instead of falling off on every wave. It is similar to the straight pop-up, but is a more basic slowed down version.

Use this three stage pop-up method if you struggle with the pop-up or if you are running out of energy, but want to surf for longer. Over time you will be able to remove steps one and two giving you the perfect pop-up.

A step-by-step guide


Lay on your board exactly how you would be when paddling.

Toes just off the end of the board, feet and legs together and body centred on the board.


Place your hands just underneath your shoulders alongside the rails and push up into the prone position. (STAGE 1)


Bring your back foot into the correct position.

However do NOT twist your hips here, keep your hips and shoulders facing forward to allow us to bring our feet under our body. (STAGE 2)


Make sure you’re still looking forward in the direction you want to be going.

Bring your front foot up and underneath your body, placing your front foot between your hands.



Once you have your foot up and underneath your body.

Remember to still look in the direction you are surfing.

Now with our eyes focused forwards and our feet in position we simply stand up using the muscles in our legs.

Don’t push off with your hands as this will unbalance you, projecting you off the surfboard and into the water. (STAGE 3)


Remember the three-stage method is a slowed down pop-up allowing more control over your surfboard and your body.

Don’t stand up until you are certain your feet are in the right position and always look where you are going.


here's one we made earlier

Star Surf Camps' Top Tip

If you are struggling to master the pop-up in the water with the waves, take a surfboard onto the beach or remove the fins and put it on your bed. Then practice the pop-up until you have mastered it – it’s a lot easier to practice on land than it is in the ocean!

Want to try another way?

If you didn’t get on with the 3 stage pop-up method, try the straight pop-up one below!

How to pop up on your surfboard: The straight Pop-up