Skateboarding was heavily popularized in the 1990s and early 2000s, but it’s been around for much longer, providing everything from basic skating enjoyment to serious shredding and trick medals for those who go to the skating extreme. When it comes to stances, though, everyone’s got their own.
When you’re first learning to ride any kind of board, whether it’s a skateboard, surfboard, or snowboard, the first thing you have to do is figure out your stance and find your comfortable “resting” position on the board. For years, there have been debates that the goofy stance isn’t technically solid or that it signifies lazy skaters, but is that really the case? In this guide, we’ll cover everything from basic stances to the debate over which is “best” and even how to determine your own stance or change it if you’d like.
To get started, let’s talk about finding your stance and how to hop on any board comfortably, no matter how you feel about your feet at this point. Then, we’ll get into the discussion about whether goofy skating is actually bad and which styles are most common among today’s board riders.
Table of Contents
Goofy or Regular? Find Your Stance on Any Type of Board
A lot of people are curious to figure out how to determine what type of stance they have. After all, it seems simple enough to hop on a board and assume the appropriate position. Your stance on a board, however, is about a lot more than just being on it. You have to make sure that your foot placement is accurate and that you can balance your weight appropriately.
For some people, it just happens. They hop on a board and their feet fall into place, and their stance is determined. For others, it may take some practice and testing the waters. After all, when you’re new to the board and still struggling to balance, let alone make moves, worrying about your exact stance is probably the furthest thing from your mind. As long as you’re still standing, you take the win.
For others, it’s a process of figuring out how to stand comfortably, which ride feels best, and so forth. It’s a matter of footedness, really, and your body and brain will tell you what feels best.
How Do I Know if I’m Regular or Goofy?
The best way to learn whether you have a regular or goofy style is to get on the board naturally, without thinking about it. Just hop on and see how your feet land comfortably. Then, try to ride like this. See what you can do. If it feels weird or isn’t working, try switching your stance. It’s about changing the lead foot and how you push, so you might have to try a few different ways.
It’s also challenging for beginners to figure out, let alone even understand sometimes because while they are told they should pick one or the other, they’re also then told that some tricks require one stance or the other—without limiting themselves in what they can do, that ultimately means that every boarder needs to know both styles, right?
No wonder newbies are confused. Take a step back. Take a breath. Here’s what you need to do:
- Hop on the board. Look at your feet. “Feel” your stance. How does it feel? Push a little, ride around, and see if it works.
- If you’re struggling, or if it just feels off, try switching your feet. Check the pictures in this guide or watch others when they’re riding to see how their feet sit.
- Don’t get hung up on being “right” or “wrong”. Just make sure that you can balance and control the board. The rest will come with time.
- Learn about the kind of tricks you want to do. Figure out which stance they require. That way, you’ll know which one to focus on. Most people use goofy as an alternative, but some lead with it.
- Remember that it’s really all about personal preference. There may still be a few technical jerks who pick on you for riding goofy, but if it works for you, it works.
Is Goofy or Regular More Common?
It’s hard to say which style is more common across all board sports since there are so many different riders and possibilities. However, given the way that boarders generally get picked on for riding goofy, you’re safe to assume that a regular stance is at least more technically acceptable, even if it’s not the more common choice. It used to be frowned upon when riders couldn’t ride in the regular stance, and many of the “goofy” skaters that are now famous today were made fun of for their weird style.
Today, however, there’s plenty of proof that this stance not only has a place but that many board tricks can’t be performed without it. Therefore, while the regular stance of the left foot in front is going to be the most common, regardless of your dominant hand, the “goofy” stance where your right foot leads is still out there, still useful, and still has its place in the boarding world.
Is it Bad to Skate Goofy?
The community sometimes gives people flak for skating goofy, as we’ve discussed. However, if the footing works for you, it’s not inherently “bad” by any means. In fact, it’s now becoming a thing in the boarding community for those who can do both to be even more respected by their peers and competition within the sport. After all, what better way to tell people how good you are on a board than to be able to do it every way possible?
The problem continues to be that so many people are focusing on this like it’s a choice. Ultimately, you might not be able to decide how your feet ride best or which foot leads. Your body is going to have a default preference or a certain level of coordination that makes it prefer one style over another. That’s just the way that it goes. It’s best to figure it out by having someone push you so that you have the best chance of getting the feel for the stance, but you can do it alone if need be, too.
Are Goofy Skaters Left-Handed?
A lot of people are under the misleading impression that board footing has something to do with handedness. This isn’t the case at all. Everyone’s body has a different level of coordination and preference, as mentioned above, and that will be there regardless of which is their dominant hand. Some left-handed skaters are the best technical skaters in the regular stance. Some boarders ride goofy and do everything else analytically, in traditional right-handed nature.
Your dominant hand or foot doesn’t determine your stance. At least, not for everyone. Some people’s bodies may be trained to “follow suit” and have the dominant foot lead because it feels most natural. However, that’s not a requirement or a guaranteed way to figure out what kind of stance you have.
Riders By the Numbers
Studies have shown that about 44% of the people surveyed ride goofy, while about 56% prefer to use regular stance. This was a survey done of about 4,000 skateboarders, but the numbers are going to be a little different for each type of board sport. One study of snowboarding showed a rate of about three out of 10 riders using the goofy stance, so there’s some variation from one sport to the next.
Of course, it’s also not an exact science because these sports aren’t very well tracked or measured for things like rider stance and other preferences. Still, it’s interesting to note that more people ride goofy than you may have initially thought or expected.
The exception to these numbers, of course, is that select group of boarders, across all sports, that can use either foot or stance. Like those who are ambidextrous with their hands, this is stunning to a lot of riders and some people will just never be able to pull it off. These people don’t care which way they stand and their bodies can compensate to give them a good ride, regardless.
Some soccer players are two-legged, too, giving them a unique upper hand in their sport. The great thing is that you can do some really cool tricks if you can master this skill, but you’ll want to master one stance at a time if you’re not comfortable with using whichever foot lands first.
Tips for Finding Your Stance (Without a Board)
The best way to practice is before you even get on a board. This can help keep your head clear and make sure that you’re not overthinking it. some methods work better than others for some people, while others might not have luck with any of these. However, they can be useful ways to figure out how you ride a board when you want to make sure that you really get the right answer.
- Sock Slide: This is a fun way to test your feet. Take off your shoes and find a hard surface where you can slide, such as a tile floor. Then, take off at a run and jump a little, sliding with your feet. See which foot leads when you land. Do this a few times and see if you get the same result. Whichever foot lands in front most often is the one that’s dominant and will determine your stance. If you want, you can just visualize this in your head, but it’s more fun to get up and try.
- Fall Forward: Another fun way to test your footedness is to just let yourself fall forward. Find a safe area where you can allow yourself to simply fall forward. Eventually, your body will respond by reaching out a foot to catch yourself. That foot shows you which one is dominant on the board, but not how you think. The theory is that the foot that you catch yourself with is actually the back foot.
- Kickball: While you don’t have to play a full-on game of kickball, kicking a ball is a great way to figure out which foot leads. When you stand and kick a ball, naturally, you’ll pick up one leg to swing and kick. It should happen as a reflex. Go outside and try it a few times and see what comes naturally. This will tell you what foot you’re going to want to ride with, or which stance you’ll be best at.
- Ask for a Push: This can be fun for your friends and family, too! Again, choose a soft spot or somewhere safe so that no one gets hurt. Then, just close your eyes and ask someone to give you a gentle shove. It works best when you aren’t expecting it, and when it’s just enough to make you reach out to keep yourself from falling. When they push, see which foot you stick forward to catch yourself. That’s usually going to be your dominant, or back foot.
These are just a few ways to test out your style and figure out what kind of stance you will have once you hop on a board. It can also be a great way to work on retraining your feet and giving yourself the chance to board both ways or any way that you’d like. It can take some practice, but it’s well worth it if you have the time and commitment.
Other Common Stances
Beyond regular and goofy, there are plenty of stances and styles of riding out there to consider. Some are used for specific tricks. Others are just for showing off. Still more might be bad habits developed over time, or people trying to create their own unique way of doing things.
Riding switch refers to switching the position of your stance. For example, if your right foot usually leads, you’ll ride with your left foot leading. Basically, you can stand on your board, jump 180 degrees, and stand where you land. This is the switch position. Make sure you leave the board on the ground when you jump, or you’re just doing a 180 on the board. That’s not helpful.
Fakie is another stance that some riders use as part of a trick or just to show off, again. It means you ride totally backward, with your back foot near the tail and your front foot now in the “back”, doing the pushing. This could be considered going the “opposite way”. It can be confusing for snowboarders, where the terms fakie and switch are often used interchangeably.
Pushing mongo is one of the stances that people do frown upon, for several reasons. It doesn’t have a lot of major issues, except that it makes things more complicated for your feet. Ultimately, mongo means that you’re pushing with your front foot instead of your back foot. Some people argue about it while others say everyone has their own style, but it can be difficult to get your feet back into position after tricks when you ride this way.
So Does it Really Matter Whether You Ride Goofy or Regular?
Ok, so what’s the bottom line? So many people are still wondering whether it matters whether they ride one way or another. The ultimate answer is that it’s up to you. While there are pros and cons to each, along with other stances to consider, you really have to think about what works best for you. Most importantly, once you find it, don’t let anyone tell you that you’re doing it “wrong”.
Board sports are supposed to be individual. They’re supposed to be “fun”. How can you have a good time when you’re so worried about whether you’re standing the right way on your board? Take the time to get a feel for what feels good and go with it—beyond that, nothing else matters. You’ll probably want to read up on different stances and how they’ll impact your ability to learn tricks or which types of tricks are best for certain stances, but this is all a matter of learning over time.
For now, just take the time to get comfortable on the board. Whether that’s in the goofy stance or the regular stance, it’s going to make it much easier for you to learn to ride when you let your body do what feels right. In time, you can make the effort to retrain yourself if you want, but you really should just go with what feels good when you’re first starting out. Take a tip from all those who have come before you and ignore the peer pressure because this is your sport, and it’s yours to enjoy, no matter which stance you choose.