How do we know our surf stance? Surfing beginners have been asking this question for decades and the answer is always the same. If someone pushed you from behind which foot would you put in front? If "right" is the answer, then you're welcome into the extraordinary world of goofy-footers.
Nature creates more regular-foot surfers than goofy-footers. In competition mode, several theories have been developed about the advantage of one over the other. Is it harder to trace the optimal surf line in Teahupoo, if you're surfing with your back towards the face of the wave? Surfers say it depends.
In the history of surfing championships, there have been more right-hand waves on offer than left-handers. The world's most famous surf spots - from California to the Gold Coast - are known and seen as frontside challenges for regular-footers.
Fortunately, that doesn't mean goofy-footers have been away from the world surfing titles. Since 1964, there have been eight goofy surfers clinching planetary trophies: Rolf Aurness, Jim Blears, Tom Carroll, Damien Hardman, Barton Lynch, Derek Ho, Mark Occhilupo and CJ Hobgood.
Natural-foot surfers being crowned world surfing champions include Midget Farrelly, Felipe Pomar, Nat Young, Fred Hemmings, Peter Townend, Shaun Tomson, Wayne Bartholomew, Mark Richards, Tom Curren, Martin Potter, Kelly Slater, Sunny Garcia, Andy Irons and Mick Fanning.
The overall result is quite impressive for the goofy-footer's club: eight vs. fourteen. CJ Hobgood was the last goofy surfer to win an ASP World Tour title, back in 2001.
Nick Carrol has supported an interesting theory for the evolution of surf stance. "Many of California's and Australia's best longboard-style waves, for instance, were (and are) rights - and since the longboard doesn't place the body under the same kind of raw instinctive performance pressure as a twitchy shortboard - it may simply have been easier for most surfers to stand up regular, even if in fact they were goofy at heart".
The truth is that the list of the best goofy-footers of all time gathers a remarkable roster of unforgettable surf legends. From the classic longboard era to the modern shortboard heroes, it's impossible to pick the one and only goofy-footer of the history of surfing.
Last, but not least? Why are these surfers called "goofy"? The answer is curious. In 1937, Walt Disney released an animated cartoon titled "Hawaiian Holiday", in which Goofy goes surfing with his right leg in front of the surfboard. Watch how Goofy rode waves in a beautiful cartoon, here.
The best goofy-footers of all time are: