The most important element of ANYTHING that you do on a surfboard is this:
You don’t run with every muscle in your body tense and firing. If you did, you would look stiff as a board and you would run really slow. Efficient movement doesn’t work that way. The same is true for popping up. The more tense and activated you are, the harder it’s going to be to get your feet under you and on the deck.
How to stand up on a surfboard and ride a wave.
I remember watching surfing as a kid and every time I watched someone pop up, it looked like magic. All of a sudden they would go from their belly to standing, moving and flowing like the wave they were ripping into. The best part about my experience learning to surf was that I found that the pop up was not magic; in fact, it was relatively easy once I got some practice in.
Popping up is a skill and it takes practice. Keep practicing this action on dry land and it will feel second nature once you are paddling into a wave. One final note, don’t practice popping up on your board in flat water, the surface tension of the wave is what allows you to push off a hard surface into the pop up and make the drop.