How To Duck Dive In Surfing

Knowing how to duck dive in surfing is one of the skills you need to become a competent surfer. If you surf in crowds and constantly bail off your surfboard instead of duck diving, people will smell a kook and avoid you. After all, an epoxy surfboard smacked by a wave has tremendous velocity and can easily dent a skull. So become a good citizen and learn this vital skill. It will help you improve your surfing ability because it opens up a whole new world. You will fight the ocean less, surf more and grow more in tune with nature, brah.

To duck dive in surfing, you will need:

  • Practice


  1. The basics. Duck diving is a skill you can practice on any given day. And you should. From merging onto freeways to hiding the evidence, practice makes perfect. You don’t even need a surfboard to understand the basics. When you swim towards an oncoming set, dive beneath the wave right before it smacks you. This allows you to get beneath the force. You will miraculously pop up on the backside of the wave in good position because the energy has passed. If you dove too late, were in bad position or froze, the wave will slap you back. Waves are pure energy. If it is a big day, you may get drilled to the bottom and held down in the kill zone. This will put the fear of Kanaloa in you. So duck diving is definitely a skill you must master if you want to improve your surfing skills.
  2. Technique. Most new surfers make the same mistake when it comes to duck diving. They dive too soon. That huge mass of energy bearing down on you is not so massive if you can get beneath it. But you need forward momentum to do this. So paddle like your ass is on fire towards the wave and wait until the very last moment before you even attempt the duck dive. Even if you mess up, your forward momentum will carry you farther than the guy who dove too early. You only need enough time to slip the nose beneath the surface which takes…yeah, you got it, practice. As the whitewater approaches you, grab your rails near the nose and dunk your board. Some surfers use a foot, knee or simply upper body strength to shove the back of the surfboard under. In one smooth motion, you will shove your body and surfboard beneath the wave. As it passes overhead, you will let the forward momentum carry you behind the wave. As you become more confident and learn how your board performs during duck dives, you will figure out how to dive deeper. This allows you to use the forward momentum to explode back onto the surface and get farther into the set.  
  3. Considerations. Some surfboards, like ridiculously tall longboards are notoriously hard to duck dive. You may have to turtle. This means you flip the board over, hold on for your dear life and use the board as a shield as the wave crushes you. Some people think they are too small to duck dive. But tiny guys and wee gals riding huge surfboards are out there too. Good surfers are wave savvy. They can read the sets better than you and know how to avoid getting caught on the inside with their big ass boards. Even if you are learning to surf on a longboard, it is still a good idea to learn the duck dive. If all you manage is the push up move, you are still doing better than the kook who leaps off his board to avoid a two footer.
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