When you first learn how to ride a board you start with determining your stance. This goes for snowboarding, skateboarding, longboarding, and many sports that involve a board. There isn’t an exact way to measure which foot should be in front, but there are a couple of tricks to find out if you are a goofy or regular.
For many people, it clicks right away but there are some that find it challenging (which is completely normal). You’re not comfortable riding a board yet and it’s already hard to stay balanced. This makes it harder to find out what your preference is.
In order to find out if you’re goofy or regular, you need to determine which foot should be in front. Practice both ways for an hour and find out which feels more natural. Try a few turns, jump on and off your board, ride down a mellow slope (if applicable) and see what ‘clicks’.
There are some misconceptions, your dominant foot or hand doesn’t always determine your stance, it really depends on how stable your ride feels and what ‘clicks’. It’s very possible that you ‘re doing it wrong and you can’t force a stance. Your body and brain determine if you prefer regular or goofy.
Regular and Goofy Stance Explained (footedness)
Regular and goofy stance has to do with footedness. Footedness is about which foot you prefer in the leading position (front) of your board or any activity and purpose that demands a certain stance. This could mean kicking a ball, balancing on one leg or your preferred foot you use to jump.
In sports such as skateboarding, longboarding, and snowboarding, beginners should be aware of which foot you prefer in front. But the funny thing is, this can be different depending on the activity.
A small majority of people ride regular, meaning your left foot in front and your right foot back. This goes for many sports involving a board like surfing, wakeboarding, kitesurfing, etc. Both left-handed and right-handed people ride boards in a regular stance.
Just because more people ride boards regular than goofy, doesn’t mean it’s better. It doesn’t’ affect your style or make you go faster, there is no difference at all.
The term Goofy comes from a Disney cartoon that shows the Goofy character riding a surfboard. At least that’s what the internet will tell you. Goofy means your right foot in front and your left foot back. Again, this doesn’t always have to do with your dominant hand or foot. In fact, some people have no issues riding both ways which give you mad respect from your peers.
My son rides goofy (image above) and I ride regular, but both of us are right-handed. It often helps to give him a little push when we ride together and I can look him in the eyes while doing so, it makes him feel more comfortable.
Should You Ride Regular or Goofy?
Regular or goofy is not a choice. You don’t get to choose footedness and force which foot goes on the back and which goes in the front of your board. Your body has a preference and you need to find out which one it is. This can be done by having someone pushing you gently forward and you trying to turn a little. Practice both feet and see what feels most comfortable, that’s about the best tip I can give.
If you don’t have anyone to push you, try a mellow slope. Don’t start at the top as riding is probably still a bit hard as a beginner but it should work even better as you don’t have someone bringing you out of balance because you’re not being pushed from behind.
Left or Right-handed, Does it Matter?
There’s not really a direct link to being left- or right-handed, your dominant foot, and standing goofy or regular. Looking at other sports like, for example, hockey you see many right-handed players use left swung sticks. In archery, left-handed bows are often used by right-handed and archers.
There aren’t any cold hard facts but there are a few small studies that show some data. Take it with a grain of salt because the studies are small and seem more like anecdotal evidence.
Does Your Dominant Foot Determine Your Stance?
In many cases, it helps to figure out your preferred stance but not always. If you don’t have a clue of what’s your preferred way of standing on a board start out with your dominant or action foot on the back of your board. This goes for every sport that involves a board (snowboarding, skateboarding, surfing, wakeboarding, etc). There are exceptions though so make sure you also try it the other way around. If it already feels natural to you, you probably found your preferred stance.
When looking at River dancing, which requires you to stand on your left foot and kick with your right, at some point your action foot could become the opposite. Give it enough time and at some point, you prefer to kick a football with your other leg, strange how that works but our bodies have a way of adapting. People who lost both of their arms learn to paint with their feet for example.
How Many Ride Regular and How Many Ride Goofy
According to the Tampa Skatebpark Database, about 44 percent of over 4000 skateboarders ride goofy and 56 percent prefer the regular stance. This is a huge contrast if you look at the left to right-hand ratio. 1 out of nine people are left-handed so you could argue your dominant hand has nothing to do with your preferred stance. This might also be the case for surfers.
Another study showed that 3 in 10 snowboarders prefer to stand goofy so we can’t really find out the exact numbers.
Exceptions to the Rules – Two-legged Freaks
Now there are some weirdos out there that skate goofy on a skateboard but ride a snowboard in regular stance. I personally know a guy that does it and I can’t wrap my head around it. Some skaters like Leandre Sander skates the street in regular stance but rides a bowl in goofy stance.
Fortunately, there aren’t many of them but you also have two-legged people. To them, it doesn’t really matter if they stand goofy or regular on a board.
Some soccer players are two-legged and it confuses the hell out of their opponents. Good thing riding boards is rather individual. If this is you, you probably can do some sick stuff once you progress!
Determining Your Stance on Any Board
Since this is a skateboarding blog I’ll focus more on this discipline, but goofy vs regular stance is quite universal. In my opinion, a skateboard is a great wat to find out your preferred stance so if you can borrow one, do it. It will save you a lot of time finding out your stance on the beach or in the snow and having to remove your bindings. Even a crappy penny board will do!
Longboarding: Regular or Goofy
The same principles for skateboarding apply to longboard despite all the differences. It might even be a easier to find out your preferred stance because longboards are way more stable than skateboards. You won’t have to compensate as much to keep your balance and can focus more on the stance you prefer. It’s easier to maintain speed on a longboard you have plenty of time to find out what feels the most natural.
Snowboarding: Regular or Goofy
If there’s one sport you really want to make sure you’re regular or goofy it’s snowboarding. You don’t have the luxury of jumping off a skateboard and stepping back on again in a different stance. Standing on top of a mountain and finding out you attached your bindings the wrong way just sucks.
I remember bringing my former girlfriend on a snowboarding trip and it turned out that she was riding her board with the wrong foot in front. She had a really hard time learning until I suggested to switch the bindings. After that she finally could ride properly, too bad we discovered this on the last day.
I’d suggest to find out your stance before you jump in a ski lift and find out the hard way. Grab a skateboard and practice a bit, this will answer the question which stance you prefer. If you don’t have one check out my tips.
Surfing, kitesurfing: Regular or Goofy
In order to determine if you’re regular or goofy when riding a surfboard for the first time just try both ways and figure out what you prefer. You could borrow a skateboard first and figure it out, this will save you some time on the beach. The sooner you are in the water the better.
It’s different though, surfing often requires to be able to ride in both directions, still doesn’t hurt to find out what your favorite stance is.
Tips to Help You Find out Your Stance
I already mentioned that you should just ride a board and see what feels natural to you. There are some ways to figure out what your preferred stance is but once you start thinking about it, it becomes harder. Some methods work better than others and results vary from person to person.
I did a bit of research to see what others say and a couple of tips are just plain wrong. The stairs method, for example, tells you to stand in front of stairs and step on the first stair to determine your dominant foot. I tested it and it was the complete opposite. Sure, this is personal but I bet this is just some random tip that doesn’t really work, I remain skeptical.
Anyway, let’s go through them in more detail so you can finally make up your mind. Sometimes you don’t even have to physically engage in these activities, you can sort of feel what you would do.
A person like me however only gets confused, but that mainly has to do with my chaotic ADD brain. I tested all of the methods and couldn’t come to a conclusion, it probably is because I’ve been riding board for over 20 years and can ride both ways.
1. Sliding on a Slippery Floor With Socks
Out of all the tips, this is the only one that really works for me so let’s start here. it requires you to slide on a floor on your socks. So take off your shoes and find a floor that allows you to slide (carpet will not work). Sprint and jump landing sideways on your legs and face the sliding direction.
Do this a couple of times to see what your body prefers. If your left foot is in front, you’re a regular stance rider. If your right foot is in front you just found out you prefer to stand goofy.
Repeat this a couple of times and also try it both ways. This will give you a decent answer to what your preferred stance really is.
You can even do this inside your head. Imagine walking on a frozen lake or running to a patch of ice on the street and slide. Picture this in your head, it should give you an idea. If not, get off the couch and do it live.
2. Fall Forward
This one can be done inside your house and is pretty easy. It requires you to fall forwards until you need to correct yourself before you plant your face on your floor. It didn’t work for me but might work for you, also don’t think about it when you let yourself fall over. I guess it’s too late now because you’re already thinking. Just don’t think about the pink elephant.
The theory is that the first leg you use to catch yourself to prevent you from hitting the floor is your back foot.
3. Kick a Ball
This one works for me, my dominant foot is my back foot but as we learned, this isn’t always the proper way to determine your stance. In many cases it is so I decided to add it. I guess I don’t really have to explain how to kick a ball and that you shouldn’t do this inside, right? Go out there and try or picture it in your head.
The result is that the foot that you stand on will be your front foot and the one you kick will be your back foot. If your kick foot is right, you’re regular. If your kick foot is left, you could be goofy.
4. Have Someone Push You
A really old trick that sometimes does the job, I remember doing this over 20 years ago. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. The best approach is to close your eyes and asked someone to gently push you. You could also ask someone to push you when you don’t expect it but under safe conditions.
The thing is it works better when you don’t expect it. If you do, you will start overthinking and the results may not answer the question. Again, the foot you use to step forward to prevent you from smacking your face on the floor is you dominant and usually back foot.
Once your past the level of a beginner and want to progress you could look into other stances. It’s not just goofy or regular, to impress your peers you could try to do tricks fakie and switch. This opens a huge range of possibilities for people who like a challenge.
I recently watched someone ride a bowl in switch stance like it was nothing and it was just so impressive. That takes some rewiring of that grey mss in your head to come to that level.
Switch stance means you swap your stance. So for regular riders, this means your left foot at the back and your right foot in front. For Goofy riders, it’s the other way around, left foot in front and your right foot at the back of your board. Stand on your board and do a 180 jump (leave the board) and you’ll be in switch position.
Riding switch is like learning to ride again, it’s like trying to write with your left hand if you’re right-handed. If you are having trouble progressing you might want to reconsider your stance. It could be that you are riding switch!
Riding fakie means you ride backward with your back foot near your tail facing forward while using your front foot to push. It’s often confused with riding switch but there’s a difference. In skateboarding, you could say that riding fakie means going in the opposite way.
In snowboarding, it’s the same actually, but it’s a bit more confusing and often the terms switch and fakie are used interchangeably.
Mongo pushing means you push your skateboard with your front foot and as soon as you put your foot back on your board you hop/slide your back foot near the kicktail and your other foot in the front. Snowboarders or surfers don’t have this problem, but longboarders should also avoid pushing mongo.
Mongo stance is frowned upon by some people in the skateboarding community, though they can suck it IMO. If you hate on stuff like this, you really need to get your priorities straight.
Sure longboarders usually have more time to get back into a proper position on the board but riding the proper way will give you a much comfortable ride.
One can argue it is aesthetically unpleasing to watch but the big issue is that it takes you more time to get into a proper balanced position before performing a trick. I’ll let you in on a secret, I learned skateboarding by pushing mongo style and didn’t even realize this was problematic, it’s just what my body thought was the most natural thing to do.
It didn’t really bother me because I skated mini ramp most of the time which doesn’t require you to push. Riding the streets often was confronting as I needed more time and distance to perform a trick. I learned to push my board the proper way eventually, but it took me a long time and to this day I can still ride faster when pushing mongo.
I do feel the difference though, pushing mongo isn’t very stable and I have more issues controlling my board. The plus side is that I can ride fakie and switch like a boss, it doesn’t really matter to me because I can use both feet to push. Is this you? Check out these tips to stop pushing mongo.
There are many ways that can help you to determine if you are a goofy or regular skateboarder, snowboarder, longboarder or anything that involves a board. Even though some tricks might help, the best way to find out is to just ride, try, and test until it feels natural.
Whether your a regular or a goofy rider, it doesn’t matter which stance your prefer. Goofy is not better than regular and vice versa. Right-handed people aren’t better than left-handed people. During my research, I came across a video that claimed that regular stance is more stylish than goofy which is just nonsense.
Good luck on your riding experience, you’re probably just starting out and the only advice I can give you is to take it slow, don’t let people pressure you into things you aren’t ready for, and wear protective gear.