Pop up on a surfboard: learn how to do it fast

If you're a surfer or aim to become an accomplished wave rider, you need to learn how to pop up on a surfboard. This one's for all the fresh meat out there; as well as late-stage beginners and intermediates who want to polish their skills and get better waves.

Never surfed before? Learn the essential technique. Practice on your beginner board on the beach (dig out a little groove for your fins so you don't wreck them), or any flat surface if you don't have a board handy.

Lay on your belly along a straight line like the stringer in the center of your board. In paddle position, your head and chest are raised while your arms are busy scooping water past. Feet are lying with the tops resting on the board.

When you're ready (the wave is beginning to lift and push you), move both hands to the rails (sides) of your board where your ribs are and grip firmly.

In the same motion, push against the board to get your backside up in the air and contract your torso and leg muscles swinging your feet up under your body in the space you create.

When you swing, you want to twist your hips so that your dominant foot swings to the front. Both feet should land at the same time along the center line, mid-board.

Shoulders stay facing forward; leaning into the ride. Knees are bent; back is straight from the hips to the top of your head. Toes are slightly spread, digging into the wax some. Arms raise up for balance as you take off.

Are you polishing your act? Yoga helps. Staying flexible and maintaining a strong core help you get on your feet more smoothly.

Practice balance and coordination. You might think it looks funny, but practicing your pop up isn't just for the uninitiated. Warm up on the beach with some rounds.

Aim for the center line in one smooth, agile motion. Try not to look down at what your body is doing. Keeping your head up and focused on where you're going next will help make the move translate into the ride faster. The more you do it, the closer to second nature it becomes.