When you start riding any type of board, whether it is a snowboard, longboard, surfboard, or skateboard, one of the first steps is determining your stance. Any sport that involves a board includes a process of figuring out how you should stand.
There is no defining way to exactly tell what food should be in front, but you can do a few things that will help you figure out if your stance is goofy or regular.
For some people, they may be able to tell right away, from the moment they step on a board. For others, it can be more challenging. Especially if you are not yet comfortable riding a board, it can be hard to figure out and you haven’t quite discovered your balance yet.
To determine whether your stance is goofy or regular you need to start by riding which foot should go in front. You can always practice, trying out both ways to see what feels more natural. Jump on, ride down a small slope, and just see what works best for you.
However, there are some misconceptions, mainly being that your dominant hand or foot doesn’t always have to determine your stance. It is much more dependant on how stable your ride feels and how comfortable you are.
It can be possible that you are doing it wrong and have chosen the incorrect stance. You cannot force a certain stance as your body and brain will determine whether or not goofy or regular is for you.
What is Goofy and Regular?
So, what is goofy and regular? Goofy and regular are the stances in which you use to stand on the board (regardless of what type of board it is).
Your stance is all about your footedness, and footedness is all about the foot that you prefer in the leading, or front, position on the board. This can also apply to other activities that demand a certain stance, such as fencing.
It also includes kicking a ball, balancing on one leg, or whichever foot leads when you jump.
When you start a sport such as skateboarding or snowboarding, as a beginner you should be aware of which foot you prefer in front. What makes it difficult? It can vary depending on the activity. You could prefer your right foot in front for skateboarding, but kick a ball with your left.
Let’s have a look at the stances now.
Regular stance falls to a small majority of people, this means having your left foot in the front and your right foot to the back. This applies to many sports that involve using a board. This is a stance that is often used by both left-handed and right-handed individuals.
More people ride goofy than regular. However, even though more people ride goofy, this doesn’t make it better. It does not affect or style or make you go faster either, it simply means that it is more preferred and more natural to more people.
In terms of how it makes you skate, snowboard, or surf, there is no difference at all.
Why is goofy called goofy? You will laugh. Goofy as a term for a stance comes from a Disney cartoon in which it shows the character, ‘Goofy’, riding a skateboard. Well, that’s what the internet says anyway.
The stance itself means that your right foot is in front and your left foot is at the back, opposite to regular stance. This has nothing to do with your left/left-handedness also, it is just about preference and what feels right.
Some people may even have no preference, having no problem riding both ways which will give you crazy respect from your peers in board sports.
How should you ride?
There is no choice in how you ride, regular or goofy stance is no more of a choice than being left or right-handed. You do not get a say in which foot goes on the back and which on the front of the board.
Your body will have a natural preference and you need to figure out which it is. It is much like how if you go swimming and you do a crawl stroke, you will usually start with one arm naturally, you will either take the first stroke with your left or right arm first, you will likely do it the same each time, as it simply feels more comfortable.
Similarly, you may feel more comfortable kicking a ball with a particular foot, or if you stand on one leg you have a preference. It is no different from these and much like these you do not get a choice in which stance is for you.
You can figure this out by standing on a board and having someone pushing you along as you turn around to see what feels right. If you don’t have anyone around who can push you, try a small slope so you don’t go too fast, and do the same.
Does left/right-handedness matter?
You may think that your left/right-footedness would be linked to whether you are left or right-handed, however, it is not. Whether you are right or left-handed has nothing to do with whether you stand goofy or regular.
If you look into other sports such as archery or even tennis, you may find that a right-handed player may use a left-handed racket or in archery, a left-handed bow may often be used by a right-handed archer.
There are no hard facts on this, there are a few studies you may find but we would suggest taking them with a grain of salt as there are not that many studies, and the facts are not solidified in hard-core studies. It is best to just have a play around and figure it out yourself.
Does your dominant foot have anything to do with it?
Now, after all, we have said so far you may think that your dominant foot will always determine your stance, much like kicking a ball.
Perhaps if you kick a ball with your right foot then your right foot is dominant and will determine your stance, right? Not always. It can be useful in figuring it out but it is not always correct, nor does it always work this way.
If you are oblivious to what your preferred stance is, you can start with your dominant foot on the back of the board. This is a technique that can apply to any board sports. Some people will not suit this though, and this will not always work.
You can adapt over time, for example with something such as river dance. That is a motion that requires you to stand on your left foot and kick with your right.
At any point, your action foot may become the opposite. Given enough time, you may also find you prefer to kick a ball with your opposite leg, your body may adapt over time to using the opposite of what you are used to.
This is similar to people who lose their arms and become much more skilled with their feet, or if a right-handed person lost their right hand and learned to use their left in its place.
What is the most common riding style?
Looking at the Tampa Skatepark Database, it is summarised that around 44% of skateboarders will ride goofy and 56% ride regular.
This is very different from the right-land-handed ratios, and so backs up the point that there is no collaboration between right and left-handedness and how a person rides their board.
There are a few studies that have been carried out, including ones that state that 3 in 10 snowboarders stand goofy, so in comparison, the numbers seem to vary per sport. It is also definitely clear that there is no link between stance and hand dominance, or even necessarily foot dominance.
What are the exceptions?
There are some exceptions to all this though. Seen in some talented individuals who can skate goofy on a skateboard but then ride a snowboard regular. It is hard to wrap your head around if you are an always-goofy, or always-regular rider.
You may also find what you might call ‘two-legged’ people, who can position themselves on a board however they want. To these types of people it doesn’t matter, goofy, or regular, they can do either as they want. We are a little jealous.
You can also find these types of people in sports such as soccer, and it can confuse their opponents and be quite an advantage during games. If you are a ‘two-legged’ individual then you will probably progress to being able to do things that perhaps others can’t, or may be able to build upon your tricks and moves even more than a continually goofy, or a continually regular rider may.
What is your stance?
Goofy vs regular stance is a universal thing in any board sports. If you are seeking to start up a board sport and don’t yet know your stance, then skateboarding can be a great place to start.
If you want to start up snowboarding or longboarding, you can get a cheap skateboard to learn your stance on. We suggest this as a skateboard is the easiest board type to learn on.
It can save you valuable time, rather than attempting to figure out your stance on the beach, or in the snow and having to remove your bindings and so on.
Looking at longboards?
Longboarding has the same basic principles as skateboarding, despite all the differences in the actual sport. It may be easier to find your preferred stance on a longboard rather than on a skateboard, simply due to the sturdiness of a longboard outdoing the sturdiness of a skateboard.
You also will not have to compensate as much to keep your balance and you can focus much more on finding your preferred stance.
It is also easier to maintain speed on a longboard so you will have plenty of time to find out what feels more natural to you and you won’t need to worry about things like you would on a skateboard.
Stance with snowboards?
Snowboarding is a sport that you want to ensure that you know if you are regular or goofy. You won’t have the same luxuries you have with a longboard or skateboard when you can just hop off and try a different stance.
Standing on the top of a mountain and discovering you attached your bindings the wrong way is not something you want to go through. So make sure you know your stance before you get into the sport and start snowboarding properly.
If you were to go on a snowboarding trip and found learning difficult, you may find that you are riding with the wrong foot in the dominant position. If this is the case, you may want to swap your bindings, this could result in easier riding.
However, we do suggest that you try to find out your stance before getting on a snowboard. Finding out when you are already snowboarding is the hard way to learn and so it is beneficial to grab a cheap skateboard and practice a bit, it should help you discover how you stand with your board. Avoiding any difficulties in the snow.
Standing with surfing
Surfing, or kitesurfing, is again similar to snowboarding. By this we mean, you want to grab a cheap skateboard and figure it out first. It will save you time on the beach and complications in the water. This way you get in the water faster and already know your stance.
However, it is different, as surfing will often require you to be able to ride in different directions and/or styles. But it never hurt to find out what your primary stance is before you hit the waves.
Figuring it out
While we have already mentioned numerous times about simply trying out a board to see what feels and fits right for you, there are some other ways to figure out your preferred stance.
Don’t think about it too hard though, because once you do it will become harder. There are numerous methods to try and some will work better for some than others, so give them all a go.
You may have already looked online for a few tips and found that some either don’t make sense or just don’t seem to work, plain and simple. An example of one of these would be the stairs method, which is to stand at the base of a staircase and see which foot you put on the first step.
This method is one that many are skeptical about, mainly because at least half the time it is wrong. It may also depend on if you approach the stairs walking if you are standing still, and so on.
You do not necessarily always start a stairs accent with your dominant foot either. So this is one method we will put aside, although you can always try it if you want to give every method a go.
As for the rest of the methods, we will look into them in more detail so that you can both make up your mind and give them a good try. However you may not even need to carry out the action, simply thinking of it you may instinctively feel what you would do if you were to complete the action.
Now, before you immediately jump into the action, do not just fall forward and face-plant the ground. You can do this in your house and it is doable on your own.
Simply fall forwards until you need to correct yourself so that you don’t end up with your face meeting your floor. This might work for you, so long as you don’t think about what foot you are using, try to keep a clear head and do not focus on why you are doing this.
This is based on the idea that whatever you use to correct yourself is your back foot on a board.
Sliding with socks
This technique is probably the most accurate of them all and the most fun. Take off your shoes, so you are earing your socks and find a surface that will let you slide, laminate flooring works well.
Sprint and jump landing sideways on your legs and face the sliding direction. Give it a few goes to see what feels better for you. If you find it better with your left foot in front then you are in a regular stance, if your right foot is in front then you are goofy.
It works best to try it both ways, as it will give you a decent answer as to what your preferred stance is, again you can probably imagine that in your mind.
This is an approach that may work, but will not always work. With your eyes closed, have someone push you from behind.
You could also ask that someone do it when you least expect it so that you aren’t preoccupied with thinking about your stance, this is always best as you aren’t overthinking it and getting inaccurate results.
Similar to the falling technique, the foot you use to catch yourself is usually the back foot (the dominant foot).
As we know your dominant foot is often your back foot, although not always the case. However, this technique can still help you figure things out for the most part.
It is quite as simple as kicking a ball. Obviously, not something that should be done indoors. The result is that the foot that you stand on will be your front foot, while the foot that you kick the ball with will be your back foot.
If you kick with your right you are regular. If you kick with your left you are goofy. Or at least most of the time this will be true.
What is Switch?
Once you have surpassed being a beginner, you can progress on to doing other stances, things such as switch and fakie, which are considered more to be tricks. Be sure to only do these once you have learned how to maneuver and feel comfortable on your board.
Switch is the act of moving to stand the other way. If you are a regular stance rider then this would mean standing with your left foot back and your right foot front, for goofy it is vice versa. To do this you simply stand on your board and turn 180 in a jump, landing the other way. This is switch position.
Bear in mind that riding switch is a lot like learning to ride all over again. If you are struggling to process your riding, you might be riding switch.
What is Fakie?
Riding fakie means to ride backward, with your back foot near your tail facing forwards while you use your front foot to push. It can be confused with riding switch but there are differences.
Riding fakie is like going the opposite way. In snowboarding, it is the same but it can be used as an interchangeable term with riding switch.
What is Mongo?
Mongo stance is a stance in which you push your skateboard with your front foot as soon as you put your back foot on the board, and you and slide your back foot to the kicktail as your other foot follows in front. This is a skateboarding and longboarding issue, snowboarders do not have this.
This stance is frowned upon by many people in the skateboarding community. However, the real issue with this stance is that it takes you more time to get properly balanced before performing a trick.
Step-by-Step: Figuring it out
For the beginners out there who have their skateboard at the ready and want to figure out their stance, we have a quick step by step guide to help you figure out how to discover if you are regular or goofy right now.
- The first step is understanding the difference between regular and goofy. [right foot forward, left foot back = goofy, left foot forward, right foot back = regular]
- The second step is to know your dominant foot, your dominant foot will go in the back as it is stronger and does most of the pushing or turning. [Right foot dominance is goofy, left foot dominance is regular].
- Try out some tests, do the run and slide on the slippery floor wearing socks, do the kicking a ball test, the test of falling. This will help you determine which foot is dominant for you. Whichever foot falls first or is most comfortable is your dominant foot.
- Get a friend or family member to help. Stand naturally with your feet even and close together on your board and have the other person gently push you from behind. If you are not used to skateboarding this can be a bit unnerving but you have someone there to help just in case. Doing this can help you figure out what feels right to you. Do this several times in both stances to help you figure it out.
- Once you think you have it figured, give it a test, ensure you have all the safety equipment, and find a nice open space to practice. Mount your board carefully and put your dominant foot at the back of the board and use it to push you forward slowly and cautiously. Roll and stop, give it another go, and proceed. See how it feels, is it natural or weird? If it doesn’t feel right, try it out the other way.
- Stick with it. Once you have figure out your stance, stick to it! Avoid any switching until you are accustomed to skateboarding. Making it your official stance will help you learn and progress faster, if it doesn’t feel right you might be riding switch and you may have to start all over again. So be sure before you confirm your stance. Knowing your stance will make everything easier for you and will help you easier learn other board sports.