Surfskate Pumping Tutorial: 5 Simple Steps to Start Surfskate Pumping

by | Dec 9, 2021 | Surfskating Basics, Surfskating Tips, Surfskating Tutorials

Are you a beginner wanting to learn surfskate pumping? Use this surfskate pumping tutorial to get started.

If you find this surfskate pumping tutorial helpful, then I invite you to check out my video course, “Surfskating for Non-Surfers.” It’s a great crash course for beginners and it covers foot placement, stance, posture, how to pump, how to turn, and how to stop.

Surfskate Pumping Tutorial Step #1: Foot Placement & Posture

The first thing you need to know when learning how to pump on a surfskate is posture. By posture, I mean how you’re oriented on your board and how you’re facing.

On a longboard or skateboard, your body typically faces perpendicular to the way you’re skating. But on a surfskate, just as with surfing, you want your body to be facing forward in the direction you’re skating. You do this by turning your knees and hips.

Consider these pictures of proper surf stance to see why it makes sense to face forward when surfskate pumping:

slide v3 surfskate truck
slide v3 surfskate truck

This forward-facing posture used by surfers gives you coordination, balance, and flexibility. If you face perpendicular to the way you’re surfskating, you have less flexibility because it’s harder to get low with knee bends.

But you can get lower knee bends simply by shifting your feet a little bit at an angle facing forward. Now you can point your knees, hips and shoulders in the direction you’re skating. This then allows you to get much lower on your board by bending your knees.

It’s the difference between this:

…and this:
The next thing you need to know about your feet is foot placement. To get your foot placement on a surfskate right, use these three principles:

The first principle is that you want your front foot to be right behind the front trucks.

On a surfskate truck, if your body is weighted directly on top of or in front of the front truck, you will jackknife and crash.
waterborne surf adapter
If you’re too far back, you won’t get as much propulsion or lean out of your surfskate pump, and you also might tip your board.
The second principle is that you don’t want your toes hanging off the board, like this:
You want your toes to be right on the edge of the board, like this:
This is important because if your foot is too far back, when you try to surfskate pump you will be heavily heel-sided, meaning you will pump harder on your heels and lighter on your toes.

When you pump on a surfskate, you want to be equally weighted on your toes and your heels. This means that you want your toes to be right on the edge of the board instead of hanging off the edge.

The third principle is that you want your feet at an angle because of the reason we just discussed, which is that it allows for increased flexibility with deeper knee bends.

If you’re a goofy-footed rider, this means you want your front foot to cover this bolt on the deck:

If you’re a regular-footed rider, you want your front foot to cover this bolt on the deck:
When it comes to back foot placement on a surfskate, there is some debate and a range of personal preference. It ranges anywhere from right on the back bolts to as far back on the kicktail as possible.

Personally, I prefer to have my foot further back on the kicktail because I find this allows for greater leverage in pushing through maneuvers. But you can play with this to find what you like best when you’re surfskate pumping.

Surfskate Pumping Tutorial Step #2: Use Your Ankles to Build Momentum

To start learning how to pump on a surfskate, the most basic step is to use your ankles to do heel-toe wiggles back and forth.

Jump on your surfskate with the proper foot positioning, stance, and posture. Eventually, once you’re really moving, you’ll want to shift your weight more to your back foot. But to get started, weight your body more heavily on your front foot.

Then, using your ankles, push the sides of your surfskate back and forth using your toes and heels. You don’t even have to move anything else on your body. Just isolate your ankles and wiggle your heels and toes and your surfskate will start moving.

A lot of beginners try to learn surfskate pumping by starting with upper body movements. What this usually means is that they move their upper body a lot, but their board doesn’t move much at all.

It’s much easier to learn surfskate pumping when your surfskate first has some forward momentum.

For more surfskate pumping tutorials, get my video course, “Surfskating for Non-Surfers.”

Surfskate Pumping Tutorial Step #3: Add Knee Bends

Once your surfskate is moving, then you can start bending your knees and integrating your knee bends with your ankle movements.

The principle I teach in my surfskate pumping tutorials is, “Heel Down, Toe Up.” What that means is, when your heels are pushing down, you want your knees to bend. When your toes are pushing down, you want to stand up. Heels push, knees bend. Toes push, stand up.

While you’re doing this, remember to stay oriented forwards on your board, which means to twist your knees, hips, and shoulders in the direction you’re skating.

Surfskate Pumping Tutorial Step #4: Integrate Hip Twists

Step four of learning surfskate pumping is to now integrate our hips into the motion. If you’re like me and you haven’t done a lot of board sports or surfing, a lot of these body movements are counterintuitive and they’re uncoordinated and you’re not sure how everything works together.

What I like to do is isolate parts of my body simply so that I can feel how that part is interacting with the board.

To integrate your hips, I recommend that you start by just isolating your hips so you can see how it feels.

So jump on your surfskate in the proper foot position get momentum with ankle wiggles and knee bends.

Once your surfskate is moving, then keep everything on your body static except for your hips. Using your hips only, twist your body from side to side and feel how that influences the board.

Once you feel that hip motion in isolation, it’s then feels natural to integrate hip twists with your ankle wiggles and knee bends.

When your heels push down and your knees bend, your hips will twist toward your back side. When your toes push down and your knees stand up, your hips will twist toward your front side.

Surfskate Pumping Tutorial Step #5: Integrate Shoulder Movements

The fifth and final step of learning surfskate pumping is to integrate shoulders into the motions.

When I’m talking to beginners, I use the same isolation principle we just used with the hips. Start by just isolating your shoulders. While moving forward on the board, hold everything else static on your body except for your shoulders. Then use your shoulders to twist the board side to side.

Once you feel how your shoulders influence your surfskate pump, then you can integrate all the motions together:

Heels push down, knees bend, hips twist toward your back side, your back shoulder lifts and reaches.

Toes push down, knees stand up, hips twist toward your front side, your back shoulder drops and pulls back.

“Fall Into the Flow” of Surfskate Pumping

Once you’ve got all of these integrated motions with your feet, ankles, knees, hips, and shoulders, you’ll find that you just naturally do what I call in my surfskate pumping tutorials “falling into the flow” of your surfskate.

There’s a natural way that surfskate trucks want to move, and if you’re not working against yourself, it will just naturally flow that way. So you might not have the greatest form, but your surfskate will be moving and you will start feeling the flow of how it should feel.

And there you have it – your surfskate pumping tutorial in five simple steps.

To get more surfskate pumping tutorials with live video instruction, check out my video course, “Surfskating for Non-Surfers.”