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Goofy vs. Regular: How to Determine Your Snowboard Stance

Published on 05/12/2023 · 7 min readLearn the difference between a regular stance and a goofy one—and which one is right for you—with Snowboarding Expert Alex Dolan!
By Snowboarding Expert Alex Dolan

Photo by Mattias Olsson

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 okay. 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 that 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."

"Riding switch" refers to a person riding reverse in relation to their preferred stance. Any time you ride with your back foot in the front, you are switch riding. A trick that is landed or started in a switch stance gets more points in contests and is generally considered more difficult. Riding opposite of your default stance can also be referred to as a fakie stance.

Does Stance Translate to Other Board Sports?

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." Some skateboarders ride with a regular board stance, but they will kick with their front foot instead of their back foot; skaters call this a "mongo stance." 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.

How Do I Decide if I Am Goofy or Regular?

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.

Other tests that might give you a good indication of which foot you want forward include: seeing which foot you ride forward with on a skateboard and what foot would you put forward if you slide down a hallway in your socks like Tom Cruise. Regular riders tend to keep their left foot front. Goofy riders tend to keep their left foot front. Many people like to have their dominant leg (the one they kick a ball with) in the back while riding.

If you have never tried board sports, you may be able to determine a regular or goofy board stance by looking at the way you ride a bike. whichever foot feels best in the front while coasting on the pedals is likely your dominant leg. Your dominant leg typically is your back leg on a snowboard.

Maybe you've never ridden a bike or skateboard or even been outside, in which case there is one more test you can try. Put on a fresh pair of socks, find a smooth wood floor, get a running start, and pretend like you are about to drop into the halfpipe for the Big Air competition at the Beijing Winter Olympics, and slide! Whichever foot you put in front will likely be the same as when you are snowboarding.

Riding goofy. Photo by Emma Paillex

Another question you can ask yourself: what foot do I want to be strapped in when I'm getting off of the ski lift? You'll need one foot strapped on so it doesn’t fall off the lift, and one foot free to kick and slide your way around the flat parts of the mountain before you go down to the hill.

While these methods may offer insight into your subconscious tendencies, they are not guaranteed to reveal your snowboard stance preference. Right-handedness or left-handedness might seem like a good indicator if you ride goofy or regular, but in my experience, there isn't a very strong correlation.

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 since 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.

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. Others trace the term back to a 1960s surf film titled Surfing in Hawaii: a personal memoir” by Desmond Muirhead.

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 on the right. Photo by Pamela Saunders

Why do I need to know my stance?

If you are done with the bunny hill and ready to carve up the slopes, you'll want to know your stance. When you get off the chair lift, you'll have one binding strapped on and one foot free from the board. You'll want your front foot strapped into the front binding when you get off the chair lift. (Quick tip: flip the high back down on the rear binding when you are getting on and off the lift to keep it from getting snagged on the chair.)

Also, your back foot and front foot generally have different stance angles, especially when riding in powder when you'll want to have your stance setback. Most people like their front binding angle to be more angled than the back binding. Freestyle riders will often set their binding angles shoulder width at similar angles. Personal preference is a huge factor when determining snowboard binding angles or determining a wider stance or narrower stance.

Hopefully, this article gave you an idea of how to determine your own snowboard stance. If not, feel free to let us know. Share any questions, concerns, or confessions you have, and we'll have a response for you in no time! If you want free and personalized gear recommendations, feel free to hit up any of our Snowboarding Experts. Remember to have fun out there on the mountain, and ride safe!

Alex Dolan, Snowboarding Expert
Alex Dolan
Snowboarding Expert
I’ve worked as a rental technician at a small ski shop in NC and then migrated to bigger mountains from Colorado to B.C. I’m ready to get you the gear you need no matter your ability level..Message me any time and we'll get you out there shredding!
417 Reviews
13034 Customers helped
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Written by:
Alex Dolan, Snowboarding Expert
Alex Dolan
Snowboarding Expert
I’ve worked as a rental technician at a small ski shop in NC and then migrated to bigger mountains from Colorado to B.C. I’m ready to get you the gear you need no matter your ability level..Message me any time and we'll get you out there shredding!
417 Reviews
13034 Customers helped

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