I have been surfing for a long time, and am still not very good. Actually, I'm OK at the surfing part, but I still am an intermediate in the popup category.
When popping up I can NOT bring my knees up inside my arms and place my feet in proper position unless I really "jump" up with my hands coming completely off the board. Because of this, I typically do a very explosive dynamic popup coming completely off the board and landing in the right position. Sometimes I get it right.
But a lot of the times I don't. It's fine on a longboard, but the shorter the board, the more problems I have with landing on so far out of position that I can't recover. It's getting worse, as I am getting older, and in worse shape (especially with the baby).
I watch videos of the professionals (and other good shortboard surfers) and it doesn't look like they take their hands off the board at all. It looks like they just do a push up and then pull their knees up under them and their feet too.
I can not come close to doing this on dryland (or in the ocean). My knees/feet can not get under me. Even when I put a 2 or 3 inch book under my hands, my feet still hit the floor.
I've got pretty long legs, and am not the most flexible guy. This situation has puzzled me for years. Are my arms too short? Legs too long? Not flexible enough? Missing the point?
A lot of popup instructional videos show the dynamic/flying popup, and maybe that is the only way to go. But given my long history of not getting this right, and my decaying ability to explode up, it would surely be nice to be able to use a more controlled, static, hands-on approach that I see so many others use to make popups look so smooth and easy.