Regularly Snowboarding Goofily: How to Determine Your Snowboard Stance

Learn the difference between a regular stance and a goofy one - and which one is right for you - with snowboard expert Alex Dolan!

Photo by Mattias Olsson
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If you are new to snowboarding, you probably don't know if you have a goofy stance or a regular stance, and that is totally OK. In fact, there is no definite way to determine a rider's stance. It has everything to do with the preference of the rider. Just like the nature of snowboarding itself, the way you ride your board is an expression which you are free to explore however you want. There is and never will be a right or wrong way to snowboard. Remember, the best snowboarder on the mountain is the one who is having the most fun. Why else do we do it? Anyway, before we start thinking about snowboarding existentially, let's stop and define a few key terms.

Know Your Terms

A person who is most comfortable riding with their left foot in front is called a "regular footer" or "regular footed." A person who is most comfortable riding with their right leg in front is known as a "goofy footer" or "goofy footed."

Graphic by Alex Dolan

"Riding switch" refers to a person riding "backwards" in relation to their preferred stance. Any time you ride with your back foot in the front, you are switch riding.

Person gliding through snow on a snowboard during the day
Riding regular. Photo by Johannes Waibel

While these terms are used to describe stance in all board sports, it is worth noting that they don't always directly translate. For example, I know a few people who have a goofy surfing stance and a regular snowboarding stance. It may not make any sense to me, but to them "it just feels right." There are even a few special individuals out there who don't have a preference - their front foot is whichever one happens to be there. If you are one of these lucky few, stick with snowboarding, you'll probably pick it up easily.

A snowboarder executes a turn during the day
Riding goofy. Photo by Emma Paillex

How to Decide

The best way to determine your dominant foot is to try both and see which one feels more natural. You can set up your bindings so that both feet have the same angle. Some rental shops may try to guess your stance using tests like a push from behind to see which foot you step with or asking you which foot you kick a soccer ball with. While these methods may offer insight into your subconscious tendencies, they are not guaranteed to reveal your snowboard stance preference.

When setting up rental boards, I set both bindings at 12-degree angles with the rider's toes pointed outward (this is very similar to the way most people naturally stand). Some world champion snowboarders use this same stance as it allows them to comfortably ride switch or regular interchangeably.

You probably won't know for sure if you prefer your left or right foot forward until you develop a skill known as "linking turns," which is a fancy way of describing a rider who transitions from toe edge to heel edge as they navigate down the mountain. Many beginner riders must first master a technique known as the "falling leaf" which allows the rider to stay on their heel edge as they transition between a left leg forward and a right leg forward stance. This is a safe way to start to understand the mechanics of the board. Once you have fallen on your butt enough times, you can begin to branch out from the falling leaf and start linking your turns. Eventually, you'll distinguish the front of the board from the back of the board and which foot you like to be there.

If you are riding regular you may want to set yourself up to sit on the left side of the lift. Goofy footers usually prefer to sit in the right. Photo by Pamela Saunders

Commonly Asked Questions

Is goofy or regular more common? In general, a regular stance is more common. I have noticed, however, goofy stances are more common than left handedness.

Are goofy footers left handed? No. Handedness does not always translate to stance preference.

Is it bad to snowboard goofy? Of course not! While it may sound like an insult to some, goofy just means not common. In fact, in a counterculture like snowboarding, being uncommon kinda makes you cool.

Why is it called Goofy Foot? This is up for debate, and as I stated above “goofy” is really just another word for uncommon. But many cite the term as a reference to the Disney character, Goofy, who was depicted surfing with his right foot forward. Check out The Goofy Movie if you don’t believe it.

If you made it all the way to the end of this article, thanks for reading! Hopefully it gave you an idea of how to determine your own snowboard stance. If not, feel free to let me know. You can click on the link to my profile below to live chat with me personally. Share any questions, concerns or confession you have, and I’ll have a response for you in no time! Remember to have fun out there on the mountain, and ride safe!

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Written By
I have been working in the outdoor recreation industry since 2011, and I spend my summers as a river guide and safety kayaker. ​ During the winter, I shred as much POW as possible, and working at ski shops across the counrtry (in Colorado, North Carolina, and Washington) has given me great snowboard...

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