Every Skateboarder in the 2021 Olympics Stands on Their Board Differently — Here's Why

Watching the skateboarders debut at their first-ever Olympics has been so exciting and entertaining. Aside from seeing all their impressive tricks like slides, grabs, and 360 ollies, you may have noticed the announcers say an athlete was "goofy." And no, it doesn't refer to their wacky or unbelievable tricks! It has to do with how they stand on their boards, either goofy or regular, and the difference is pretty simple.

What Is Goofy Stance in Skateboarding?

When a person is skateboarding, a goofy stance means their left foot is in the back and their right foot is in the front. Typically, this means their dominant foot is in the back, so goofy stance allows the rider to push and have control with their left foot. But note that not all goofy riders have a dominant left hand, and not all regular riders have a dominant right hand. Above, you can see Team USA's Nyjah Huston riding goofy (and so does legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk).

Japan's Momiji Nishiya during the Women's Street Final at the Ariake Urban Sports Park on the third day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. Picture date: Monday July 26, 2021. (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)
Getty | Mike Egerton

The opposite of goofy stance in skateboarding is called regular stance. It means the rider's right foot is on the back of the board and their left foot is in the front. Riding regular means you push your board with your right foot. Above, you can see Momiji Nishiya of Japan (who won an Olympic gold medal at age 13!) riding regular stance.

Even though a skateboarder will prefer to ride goofy or regular, you'll notice they're not doing it all the time. They'll often spin and face both directions, which adds to the challenge and excitement.

What Is Goofy Stance in Snowboarding?

Goofy stance on a snowboard is the same, with the left foot in the back and the right foot in the front. One difference though is that because the rider's feet are strapped into the board, they don't use their back foot to push off. That is unless they are not riding and need to get somewhere on flat ground like over to the ski lift. Regular stance in snowboarding is right foot in the back.

What Is Goofy Stance in Surfing?

As with both skateboarding and snowboarding, goofy stance in surfing means the same thing, your left foot is in the back and your right foot is forward. And like snowboarding, the person keeps both feet on the surfboard and doesn't push off with their back foot, or else the waves would pull them off their board. Regular stance in surfing is right foot in the back.

If a person is riding goofy stance, their chest and toes will face a wave (called frontside) that's breaking on their left. If the wave is breaking on their right, their back and heels will face the wave (called backside). The opposite is true for regular stance.

Whatever you're riding, no stance is better than another; it all depends on what stance feels the most comfortable to the skater, boarder, or surfer.

Although Olympic surfing events are over (note that gold-medal-winner Carissa Moore surfs regular), the next time you see Olympic skateboarders in action on Aug. 4 for women's park and on Aug. 5 for men's park, check out whether they're riding goofy or regular.