Why does it matter which foot is forward in your surf stance? Many surf breaks have waves that break in a predictable pattern. The waves at point breaks for example will consistently break in the same direction wave after wave. Your surf stance will have you surfing front side or backside to those waves, depending on your surf stance
Your surf stance is crucial in maintaining your balance on your surfboard. Getting to your feet quickly in the manner that feels most natural to you will set you up for the rest of your ride and you will catch more waves.
The term, goofy foot is in reference to a surfer who surfs with his or her right foot forward on the surfboard. A regular or natural stance on the surfboard is a surfer who puts their left foot forward on the surfboard. Some people learning to surf question whether the term goofy foot is derogatory. It is not, it is simply a surfing term identifying which foot a surfer has forward on the surfboard.
At a point break where the waves are breaking to the surfer’s left we refer to this as a “left”. From the perspective of people watching from the shore this is somewhat confusing because from shore, the wave is breaking to the right. However, the term evolved from the water, and out in the line-up, the wave is breaking to your left as you are paddling to catch the wave.
If you can imagine yourself in a regular stance, with your left foot forward on the surfboard, catching a wave breaking to your left, you will notice that your back will be to the wave. This is what is referred to as surfing backside. Therefore if you are goofy footed and surfing at a left point break you will be surfing waves front side Surfing a wave front side, is surfing with the front of your body facing the wave. It is easier to surf a wave front side, and therefore a surfer who is goofy footed will prefer lefts and a regular stance surfer will prefer to ride rights.