How To Duck Dive A Surfboard Correctly
How to duck dive a surfboard properly is a question we get all the time with new surfers. Many have tried battling out and have not been able to do it correctly. It will take practice and time to pick up the duck dive technique. Just like anything in life, when you fail, do not give up and keep pushing forward. Don’t ever give up! If you have access to a swimming pool, this would be the first place I would start training on how to duck dive a surfboard properly. If the waves are flat at your local beach, that is also a pretty good place to start. By training this move and getting it down smoothly, it will help you conserve your energy as you go under the waves when surfing. Duck diving your board will also keep your forward momentum going and help you get out to the line up faster.
The duck dive is utilized by every surfer and everyone had to learn how to duck dive a surfboard properly or else they will get mauled by the wave and they will be thrown around just like our clothing in the washing machine.
You need to have the forward paddling drive and at the right time, grab close to the nose of your surfboard and put downward pressure on the nose to submerge it under water. Soon after your back foot will push down on the tail so the rest of the board goes under as well as the passes over you.
How To Duck Dive A Shortboard
This is crucial to understand right when you start surfing. As I mentioned before, new surfers have told us that they could not duck dive their board, and we will always ask….How big is your surfboard? That is correct, it might just be your surfboard is too big to duck dive. First things first: do you have a surfboard that you can properly sink underwater? Surfboards with a lot of volumes are very difficult to push underwater because the more volume, the more your board will float and it will be very hard to learn how to duck dive a surfboard.
The duck dive is usually done with shortboards, such as a small FISH surfboard or hybrid boards. If your board is 8’0 and up you are better off doing a turtle roll. Again, the longboards and fun shape boards have much more volume than the shortboard; making it difficult to sink underwater.
2 Types Of Waves You Will Duck Dive
Waves can break differently varying from beach to beach. Each one of these beaches has a wave that no matter if it is different from another break in another country, the wave you duck dive will be almost breaking, or broken already.
These 2 waves have their own personal energy and different water flow underneath the wave.
This is an amazing feeling to have, especially when you are surfing in a sweet surf spot with a great background, this unbroken wave flows towards you and you duck dive your surfboard underneath, the waves circular action spits you out of the back with forward momentum towards the lineup.
When a wave is already broken in front of you, it just means that your goal is to go under and pass the whitewater of the wave. Those types of waves can be difficult to get through since the energy and flow of the wave are going towards you and not aiming to go over you. Also, the whitewater extends beneath the surface. You want to try to go under the entire amount of white water, but sometimes you go get caught in the thick whitewater underneath the wave.
Develop Good Paddling Speed
You began paddling out to the lineup and some waves are rolling in that you are going to have to duck dive. Choices will have to be made: Will you A) Hold on for dear life as you get thrown around from side to side B) Keep on reading this how to duck dive a surfboard tutorial C) Freak out and head back to the beach to shore and live to fight another day D) “Neither here nor there” mentality will probably get you pummeled by the wave.
I hope you know that “A” Is the right answer….no just kidding, its “B”! Developing good paddling speed is important to train in your out of the water training sessions because this is the only thing that is going to get you through that thick whitewater. Speed will help you sink underwater deeper and faster as you get pulled through the backs of the wave. As you paddle towards the wave, make sure you turn it up and go. Do not mess around and get pounded by the lip of the wave.
Know When To Start Your Duck Dive
With you paddling speed you will only stop paddling 4-6 feet away from the wave, depending on the wave before you grab your surfboard to duck dive. You can grab the board on the side also called rails from your chest up to a fist length higher to assist you with submerging the nose of the board.
Sinking Surfboards Nose Under Water
To make the task of sinking the surfboards nose under water you want to move your bodyweight forward as if you wanted to do a forward roll but without all that power or else that is exactly what will happen. With your chest, back, shoulder muscle, stretch your arm forward almost locking your arm straight to use more skeletal strength rather than muscle strength and forward and downward motion your surfboard will go as the rest of the board follows.
Push on Tail with your Foot (or Knee)
In this phase of how to duck dive, you want to push the back (Tail) of the surfboard completely underwater so it can follow the nose. It is important to know that when pushing the tail of the board under water, you can use your knee or your foot. When you use your foot, the board will sink much deeper. You would use the knee on a smaller wave that is broken or when you did not have enough time to bring your foot to the traction pad.
As you push down on the traction pad you are looking to make the tail line up with the nose of the surfboard for a split second. This should be at the same time that the entire wave is going straight over your body. This motion really happens in one fluid motion. It is the same motion as doing a dive in the swimming pool. Your hands go in first, followed by your head and torso, then the legs go next.
Make sure that you have that speed to keep going straight forward. Lift your free leg, the one that is not stepping on the traction pad up to the sky so it can give you more weight and help push the tail under water.
Keep Your Body Close To The Surfboard
Keep your body tight and close to the surfboard as the wave passes over your entire body. Keep your warms bend and holding on to the board parallel to the ocean floor. Make sure that the whitewater does not catch your nose and send you tumbling around with the wave. Understand at this point that it is your body that moves towards the surfboard and not the other way around. You need the surfboard staying down as the wave passes you and not moving up.
Be sure to bring your body to the surfboard, not your surfboard to your body. If you pull your surfboard up to your body, you won’t be sinking deep enough to go through powerful waves and you might get caught by the whitewater and air bubbles.
Coming Up To The Surface
Once the wave passes over your body you will want to guide the nose of the surfboard back up to the surface. As you hold on tight to the board, the boards’ floatation will bring you to the surface and shoot you out of the back of the wave. This motion will keep you forward momentum going so you can resurface and keep that paddling speed towards the lineup. As we have mentioned before, you need to wait for the wave to go past you. Timing this wrong can send you in that not so fun rollercoaster ride under water. So surfers, as they are resurfacing, will kick as you are doing the freestyle stroke in a swimming pool and some will you the kicks from a breaststroke in swimming. This will assist you in generating speed when coming out of the water.
Recap On How To Duck Dive Correctly:
You have learned so much on how to duck dive a surfboard, If you start your duck dive too late, your board won’t have the time to get parallel to the bottom and the white water will push your board out of your hands. Remember; start the motion of duck diving when you are at least 4-6 feet away from the wave.
- Develop paddling speed: Make sure you do not mess around and go with speed and power towards the wave. The faster you go, the faster you will come out the back on your resurface. Do not start your duck dive too early, so you do not lose speed as the wave is passing you and your board starts to come up too soon and gets caught by the whitewater.
- Dig that nose: Push that nose down with your arms and upper body weight. Use your skeletal strength to do this. Opening your eyes underwater can assist in knowing where you want to go. This can help you to prevent hitting the reef, sand, or coming up too soon.
- Push down on the traction (stomp) pad: Try to push down with your foot or knee on the traction pad to keep your board parallels underwater as the wave moves over your body. All of this will be done while maintaining a forward movement.
- Take your time while resurfacing: Do not rush this part as you will pay for it if you come up too soon. The wave will have enough power to suck you in if you do not take your time and make sure the wave has gone by completely.
- Practice in a flat beach day, pool or lake: Repeat all these steps that you have learned on a calm flat place. Your goal is to have your entire surfboard and body underwater at the same time. Make sure the nose goes first and then the rest of the board follows.
So that’s pretty much it for how to duck dive a surfboard, and it will take a lot of time in the water practicing this to get it down correctly, smoothly and safely. With time you will notice the difference between a bad and a good duck dive. When you perform the duck dive correctly, you will feel the wave go over you smoothly. When you get it wrong, you will be sucked back and enjoy a nice whitewater ride tumbling through the ocean.
The proper surf etiquette is to never let go of your board when faced with breaking waves; it may injure other surfers and potentially yourself. Also, remember that you have to stay away from surfers who are riding on the waves. This means you will have to paddle towards the whitewater instead of paddling towards the face of the wave.