Everyone has a preference as to which way is more comfortable to ride down the mountain. Even those who ride fluidly in both directions would have started out with, and probably still have, a direction which feels more natural to them.
But if you’ve never been snowboarding before, or you’re still not sure, how can you tell if you should snowboard goofy or regular?
What is Goofy and What is Regular?
Before I get into the best techniques for telling which one you are I thought it would be a good idea to explain the two for anyone who isn’t sure.
Goofy essentially means that you ride with your right foot as your front foot.
Regular essentially means that you ride with your left foot as your front foot.
Later as you develop your snowboarding you will probably start riding in both directions (the opposite side to your natural side is called riding “switch”) but you’ll probably still always feel slightly more comfortable in your natural stance.
Where Did the Term Goofy Come From?
The terms come from surfing. There are a few theories going around as to why the term goofy got it’s name.
One theory is that it came from a Disney movie where the character Goofy is surfing and is surfing right foot forward. However, he surfs in both directions in that movie apparently.
Another theory is that; because the left-foot-forward stance is more common, that it looks “goofy” for most riders to see someone go right-foot-forward.
Why is Regular more Common?
Regular riders definitely outweigh goofy riders and one theory behind this is that if you are right-handed then you are more likely to ride regular and if you are left-handed you are more likely to ride goofy.
And since being right-handed is way more common, then you would naturally get more regular riders/surfers/skaters.
This theory doesn’t always hold true though – case in point, me!
I am right-handed and right-footed and I ride goofy. And I’m not some kind of rarity, there are others like this too.
Why do I point this out? Because you shouldn’t just assume your stance based on your right-handedness or left-handedness. Because it doesn’t always hold true. So you should use the techniques below.
Regular vs Goofy Technique #1: The Push
This is probably one of the most common techniques out there.
For this one simply have someone push you lightly in the back (enough that you overbalance but not so hard that you take a tumble!) when you’re not expecting it.
Whichever foot you put forward to steady yourself with determines your stance preference.
- If you steadied yourself with your left foot you are regular.
- If you steadied yourself with your right foot you are goofy.
Try to think about something else when this is happening so that you aren’t consciously focused on which foot you are going to use.
Regular vs Goofy Technique #2: The Visualization
For this technique simply imagine yourself hurtling down a steep slope on a single piece of wood!
Whichever direction you see yourself feeling more comfortable in will determine your stance.
Some people are better at visualization than others so this technique may not work for everyone.
Regular vs Goofy Technique #3: Based on History
If you are a skater or surfer or wakeboarder or have done any of these regularly in the past then the direction you perform any of those activities in should be the same for snowboarding.
This isn’t the case 100% of the time. There are some people who surf and snowboard in one direction and skate in the other. But usually this should be a pretty good indicator.
Regular vs Goofy Technique #4: The Slide
This one is my personal favourite.
If you can, find a nice polished wooden floor and put on your slipperiest socks.
Take a good run up and do a big slide – whichever foot you lead with will determine your snowboarding stance.
- If you lead with your left foot you are regular.
- If you lead with your right foot you are goofy.
This is definitely the most fun one!
Regular vs Goofy Technique #5: The Stair
If you don’t have anyone to push you in the back, don’t have access to a smooth floor, can’t visualize well and have never skated, surfed, or wake-boarded, then you can try this one.
Note: Always do this on the very bottom stair of any set of stairs! Very important, for obvious reasons.
Stand on the bottom step, or a something small to get you a little bit off the ground, and slowly lean forward without bending your knees. You could also do this on level ground if you want.
At some point you will put out one foot to stop yourself from falling over. Whichever foot that is will determine your stance.
This one is similar to the push in the back one but requires you to do it yourself so it makes it easier to consciously think about which foot you will use. Try counting down from 5 or something to distract yourself.
This is my least favourite but is a good back up if there aren’t any other options.
Over to You
Of course you can combine some or all of these to be sure. For me I initially figured I would be goofy from skateboarding and then I used visualization which confirmed it for me – I felt more in control hurtling down the slope right-foot forward.
After I had been riding for a while, I re-confirmed it with the slide-test. I was just sliding around on the floor one day just for fun and then thought about the fact that I always lead with my right foot. I thought I had come up with a great new way to determine whether you are goofy or regular – and then when I did a search I found out that others already used this! Damn!
Thanks for reading, I hope you now know your snowboarding stance direction. In no time at all you’ll be riding both ways down the mountain and really tearing it up in your natural stance!
Absolutely great ideas and will be doing the slide w my son when he gets up!
Thank u so much for this guidence!
Being new to snowboarding, my board was set up regular but people commented that I look like I should be goofy. Readjusted my bindings to goofy and it feels better. I did the slippery floor slide test and the bottom stair test and my right foot always led. I’m going to keep riding goofy.
Now, what stance is there that will help me not fall when I get off the chair lift?
Thank you for sharing your tips!!
Thanks for your message.
Glad you’ve found your more natural direction.
In terms of not falling off the chair lift, I think it will help now that you’ll be getting off in your more natural stance. The other thing I would suggest is practice skating (one foot on board) in an easy environment – like on the flat or a very slight downhill- and build confidence – once you are confident skating with the board, you should fine getting off the lift more easy. Also check this article out for more.
Simon Barrett says
Having read this I thought I was goofy, lead with the right foot seems natural; ( tho’ I’ve never skateboarded, snowboarded or surfed!) I had it down to left or right handed, but; I write, throw, kick right handed, yet I bat at cricket, baseball left handed, which means right foot forward. I guess just go with which feels natural.
Thanks for your message.
Yeah, definitely, if one way or the other just feels natural to you, then you’re sorted. The other things are all secondary. There are people who don’t have a feeling either way and really aren’t sure – so some of these tricks are helpful. I’m like you – I just knew that right foot forward felt more natural for me. It wasn’t a hard choice – but for some they have a hard time deciding. I’m right handed for everything – hitting, kicking, writing – and quite right hand dominant, but still goofy. But I know a lot of people who are mixed depending on what they’re doing – one of my brothers for example, is the opposite to you – he hits right handed but kicks left left footed.
I’m like you, right handed and right foot dominant, but I’m goofy. My right foot definitely feels more stable when it’s forward. I think being goofy, but right footed might make things difficult if I ever want to do tricks because the back foot is the power behind tricks right?
Thanks for your message.
I think it really depends on the trick. You’re using both for tricks. Certainly for something like a manual or an ollie your back foot plays a big part, but having your slightly weaker foot there doesn’t really affect things too much I wouldn’t think. You just train your muscle as you learn. And, IMO, tricks are usually more about finesse and confidence than power, unless you’re doing more extreme stuff.
Timmy Tomoo says
These methods of determining stance recommend board choice? That’s binding stance or rather surface control; camber complexes?? Riding switch comfortably is ambidexity & from me, applauded. I am right handed. Without thought or inhibition,I lead with my right when shooting pool, snowboarding, and throwing a ball.
Riding goofy was pointed out by my brother. Comfortably in either stance, off the lift, is above average.
This is such a tough one! I ended up going regular for most of my initial beginner period and now I’ve ended up sticking to it. I’m still a beginner, but sometimes I’ll just ride switch (or “goofy”) and it feels more comfortable. It could be that I’m not really comfortable riding regular yet (ha!).
Anyway, thanks to your recommendation I’ve got a board which I should generally be more comfortable on and this should hopefully help me decide.
Yeah for some it’s obvious and for others it’s hard to figure out. And sometimes tests like these can’t tell the full story. I’ve heard from people who will be one way according to one test and another way according to another test (e.g. stopping themselves with their left foot when being pushed but then sliding in socks with their right foot forward).
But either way it’s good to be able to ride in both directions and if you can develop that, it’s a good skill to have