One of the first things you must know when you start snowboarding is what stance you are. There are a couple simple ways to find out.
Snowboarding stance means which foot you will be riding with in front at the nose of your board. There are two different kinds of stances, regular stance and goofy stance.
The difference between goofy stance and regular stance is which direction you will be facing. Simply put, regular stance is riding with your left foot in front and goofy stance is with your right foot in front.
It’s important to find out your natural stance right away. You will pick up snowboarding much faster if you do. Many riders have started out with the wrong stance and realized later on that the control they need of their board comes more naturally facing the other way.
The aim is for your dominant foot to be in back. When snowboarding your dominant back foot will do most of the power steering, while your less dominant front foot will be for balance and direction.
How to Find Your Stance
Finding your natural stance is easier than one might believe. First and foremost, regardless of what anyone else’s suggestion (even from Shaun White), whatever feels more comfortable is the stance for you. Here are helpful tips for finding your best foot stance …
- Place a soccer ball (or any other type of ball) in front of you. Go ahead and kick it. Whichever foot you kicked it with will likely be your back foot. The foot still on the ground will be your balancing foot.
- Walk up a few steps. Whichever foot you stepped with first will be your back foot.
- Another fun way to find out is to put on your socks and find a super slippery polished floor. Take a running start into a slide (think Tom Cruise style in Risky Business). Whichever foot you put out first to control the slide and your balance is your front foot.
- Here is another fun one: Stand with two feet together, your weight equally balanced, and your eyes closed. Ask a very nice friend to gently push you from behind. Whichever foot you stepped forward with is likely your back foot.
House Tip: Try not to anticipate the push from behind too much. You want to find out which foot is the most instinctual for your body. Everyone is different, so just because you and your buddy do everything together and he rides regular (left foot forward) doesn’t mean you will too.
Origin and Myth of Goofy Foot
The most common assumption is that most boardsport participants rode with their left foot forward. Hence, ‘regular’ became the stance of choice. Nowadays, it is believed that the split is even between goofy and regular riders.
There are rumors that ‘goofy’ stemmed from Walt Disney’s character, Goofy, who surfed with his right foot forward in the early film “Hawaiian Holiday.” The film released in 1937.
What Does it mean to Ride Switch?
There are a few other terms related to foot stance and footedness that we should mention now too. The term ‘switch’ or ‘fakie’ is used when one is riding with their non-dominant foot forward. Over time, strive to become equally comfortable with either foot forward. This will make you a far better rider, possibly right up there with the pros. You might think this is too soon to mention riding switch now, but it’s something you need to keep in mind. Most snowboards stick with their most comfortable side for years before venturing to switch riding, if it’s done at all. Take it from us, start early with switch riding so you get comfortable switching it up.
Learning to ride switch on a snowboard is a basic skill that you’ll need to master before taking on snowboard tricks or freestyle riding at the park. It’ll also prepare you for when your group of homies devotes the next run to riding switch the whole way down. Some will ride regular, while others will ride goofy – either way, it must be their non-dominant side.
It takes some practice. But it’s best to start riding switch early. First, find your natural foot stance and get comfortable riding that way first. But then it’s time to get out of your comfort zone and switch. Find a nice easy slope. Remember the basics. Square up your stance. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Now that you know you’re regular or goofy it’s time to set up that board and ride! Here is an article to get you started setting up your snowboard.
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