Skip to main content

Snowboarder slander or cartoon nonsense? What is goofy foot stance?

What is goofy foot snowboarding, and why does it matter?

One of the first things you’ll learn when snowboarding is your preferred snowboard stance – either right or left foot forward. While left-foot-forward snowboarders get the reassurance of being called “regular,” anyone who prefers to ride right foot forward is referred to as being goofy.

Goofy foot snowboard riding has roots deep in skate and surfer culture, and your preference is often linked to your dominant foot and hand. How does this work, and where does the term “goofy foot” even come from? There are a few possibilities and attributions, and in a culture of terminology that includes phrases like “dude,” “steez,” and “gnarly,” it can be hard to pin down exact origins. These words have just become part of our culture, dude.

Snowboarder with a goofy foot stance

Before we get into the origin of “goofy foot,” let’s look at snowboard stances. First, and perhaps most importantly, your stance does not really matter. Okay, it’s a bit important for your snowboard learning progression, but that’s about it. There was a period of time, albeit more in skateboarding than in snowboarding, where new riders were trying to ride goofy to go against the grain, even if it was unnatural to them, and why not? In a sport built on rebellion, internal rebellion was always going to happen.

However, all that does is make things more challenging. When snowboarding, you tend to want your dominant foot at the rear of the board. True, your front foot can be used for turn initiation and is far more than the counterweight many treat it as, but your back foot is the key to nailing those turns. You may already know which is your dominant foot, but if not, here’s a hint — it’s usually related to your dominant hand. If you write with your left hand, you’re more likely to be left-foot dominant and ride goofy-footed on a snowboard.

As around 10% of the world’s population is left-handed, it follows that goofy-foot snowboarders would account for 10% of all snowboarders. However, studies have shown that it’s more like 30%, so this rule is perhaps not as scientific as it first appears. The most common way to test your preference is to have a friend stand behind you and give you a gentle push in the back when you’re not expecting it. Whichever foot you put out to break your fall is usually your forward foot for snowboarding.

But where does it come from? Well, you might have already guessed it. The word “goofy” sounds familiar, right? Well, that loveable Disney character might just be the reason behind the term. A Disney film from the 1930s called Hawaiian Holiday shows Goofy surfing with his right foot forward — more than a little unusual at the time. There are two issues with this, though. Firstly, he’s shown riding regular too, and secondly, the movie also shows all the other characters doing the same. Riding left foot forward could just as easily be called Mickey riding.

The rise of the term “goofy foot” occurred in the ’60s surf scene. Most likely, this was used just as often as words like “kooks” and “odd,” but the “goofy” term stuck. It just means different, because so few riders rode right-foot forward at the time. While this is more likely, we’re sticking with the Disney theory.

Editors' Recommendations

Tom Kilpatrick
A London-born outdoor enthusiast, Tom took the first ticket out of suburban life. What followed was a twelve-year career as…
Smith Nexus snowboard helmet review: a great lightweight helmet with one big drawback
Is the Smith Nexus snowboard helmet right for you?
smith nexus helmet review snowboarding hero

Years ago, when I was a young man learning to snowboard, helmets were not something we thought about. Nobody I knew had a snowboarding helmet, and there was never a discussion about them. Things have changed, though — not wearing a helmet is seen as foolish these days.

And that’s the correct stance to have. Moreover, if you’re doing anything more than putting turns together on the beginner’s hill, a helmet with MIPS or Wavecel technology is best. The Smith Nexus helmet has MIPS, but should it be your go-to helmet for day-to-day use? We gave it a full test to find out.

Read more
Our simple guide tells you which ski and snowboard wax to use for any conditions
There's a simple trick for knowing which ski or snowboard wax to use, and we have it
Snowboard ready to wax

All indications are pointing to the ski season continuing into summer. Instead of the usual springtime storage wax, this year, you will need to keep your snowboard gliding into July. Waxing your skis or snowboard is one of the fundamental skills that every rider should learn as part of tuning their setup. Sure, you can drop your gear at the store to have it tuned — it's good to support local businesses, and getting a pro tune once a season is no bad thing — but if you're riding regularly, the price starts to ramp up.
By the time you've paid for a few waxes, you could have got yourself a tuning kit and gone for the DIY approach to ski care. That means ironing on the ski wax, letting it cool, and scraping off the excess. While your iron and scraper will do the job for every waxing session, your wax won't. Snowboard wax is temperature dependent, and getting it wrong can affect your riding, so here's our guide on how to pick the right wax for your ride.

Why you need to wax skis and snowboards
In short, waxing your snowboard keeps you riding smoothly, fast, and in control. An unwaxed snowboard will grip the snow rather than glide. This might sound like it will just slow you down, but dry patches on your skis or snowboard affect more than just your top speed. Whether initiating your turn and changing your edge or just trying to cruise along, you'll find that these grip points can grab and make your ride feel twitchy or out of control.

Read more
Burton Loback Step-On snowboard bindings review: Is it time to reconsider your entire snowboarding setup?
This is what we really think of Burton's Loback Step-On snowboard bindings
burton loback step on binding review hero

When people talk about snowboarding, they tend to focus on the board itself. How flexible it is, its shape, and length. The purpose of the snowboard. How many snowboards are in their quiver, and the specific scenarios and conditions for each board. They tend to focus a lot of energy on whether the board is letting them down when they don’t have a great day on the mountain.

It’s a fair line of thinking. Sometimes, you’re on the wrong board. Most of the time, this isn’t the case. Most snowboarders have a traditional camber board, likely purchased because they like the graphics — and camber boards are great for most riding scenarios.

Read more