What is “regular” and what is “goofy”? These terms refer to the orientation of a snowboarders body in relation to their direction of travel – it’s part of your stance. You stand sideways on a snowboard – so you’re moving with either your left foot forward, or your right foot forward.
- Regular = left foot forward
- Goofy = right foot forward
How do you know which one you are?
It’s a common question for beginners – after all, without having snowboarded before, how would you know which foot to lead with?
Have you skateboarded or surfed before? If you’ve tried other board sports, including wakeboarding, freeboarding, etc, you’ll almost certainly use the same stance with snowboarding. Even if you haven’t, something like skateboarding is fairly accessible and very revealing in terms of which “way forward” feels natural.
The “push in the back” test. One method that is often suggested is the simple “push in the back”. Have a friend push you in the back – and whichever foot you naturally step forward with, is the foot that you should lead with on your snowboard.
The “run and slide” test. The most effective test is to run and “slide” – on something like ice, or perhaps a wooden floor, if you’re just wearing socks. When you go into a slide like this you’ll have one foot forward; it’s typical for one direction to feel natural. The foot that you lead with when sliding is likely to be the foot that you lead with when snowboarding.
They key point here is that one direction is going to feel more “natural” than the other. Admittedly, if snowboarding and similar types of board-sports are completely new to you, it can be hard to figure it out; to be sure. Especially in the very beginning because it’s difficult to actually snowboard!
How much does it matter?
The question is, what happens if you get it wrong? Some people will say that it’s important to get this right! Personally, I think it isn’t such a big issue. Here’s why I don’t think it matters too much.
If you’re not getting a clear feeling for which is the “right” way, just pick one and try it. You’re probably not yet comfortable enough on your snowboard to be able to tell, to feel it.
Stick with it until you’re linking your turns riding that way. Don’t swap and change from one direction to the other – you’ll end up confusing matters and spending more time worrying about your stance than snowboarding, feeling like you’re not getting anywhere. Once you’re linking turns, if you’re still not sure, try the other way…
Learn to ride “switch” early! A common goal for many snowboarders is to learn to ride switch – and for good reason. It’s a positive challenge and there are always moments on the mountain when being able to ride in both directions is helpful. If freestyle snowboarding is something you’re interested in, or might be interested in, riding switch is almost essential.
In this way, it’s not really possible to pick the “wrong way” to learn. At some point, you’re going to try the other way too. If it turns out that you prefer the other direction it’s no big deal – you definitely didn’t waste your time learning the “wrong” way. Look at it like this: you’ve got a head start with your switch riding.
You might benefit from a symmetrical stance. This isn’t a recommendation for every snowboarder to use a centred, duck stance. “Stance” here is referring to the angle and position of your bindings – not the direction you ride in. The stance you end up with should be what feels good, for you…
However, if you’re not sure whether you’re goofy or regular, and/or you know that switch-riding is going to be on the cards, there’s no harm in starting out with something close to symmetrical. Something like +15/-15, +18/-12, +18/-9… Such a setup gives you a stance that is more receptive to riding in both directions.
Once you’re linking turns, if you still want to experiment with regular vs. goofy, you won’t be playing around with your bindings all day long.