Duckdive a Surfboard
If you ever want to actually call yourself a surfer you are going to have to learn how to duckdive. its an essential part of surfing, even if you jump off a boat and can paddle to the lineup with out getting your head wet or paddle out through a channel- eventually you will wind up on the inside with no where to go but underneath a wave!
What is Duckdiving
It is basically the act of getting yourself and your surfboard underneath an approaching wave.
What may seem like a pretty simple act can actually be a bit hard to master, at least at first.
The key to a good duckdive is timing,timing timing. Start your duckdive to soon and you may come up with the wave coming down on you, start to late and you wont have time to get all parts underneath the water.
How to Duckdive
Most everyone will tell you to paddle straight towards the oncoming wave or whitewater and start your duckdive about two to three feet before the water, and this is pretty much correct however there are some nuances and mitigating factors you will learn over time that will determine when to duckdive- crowd,wave height, how deep the water is etc etc. But for now, for the beginner surfer we will keep to the paddle straight and about three feet from wave/whitewater.
- Build up a little bit of paddling speed and heads straight towards the wave.
- Once you are close to the wave/whitewater put both hands on your rails (around the upper chest area) and sink the nose of your board.
- Use your knee or foot to then sink the tail end of your board, you and your body should now be underneath the water
- Make sure that the nose of your board is the first thing to re-surface(you want to be able to start paddling directly after a duckdive) The push downwards from your knee or foot helps to aid in this as well as the motion of the oncoming water. If your tail end is the first thing to surface then you haven’t done it correctly and you are out of position to keep paddling.
- The best tip on how to duckdive- practice it over and over, whether its a flat day on the ocean or in a bay, lake or pool. Practice the motion.The sooner you learn to duckdive the sooner you will be able to get out to the lineup without expending all your energy stuck on the inside.
- Watch other surfers and see when/how they do it.
- Try practicing ducking under waves without a surfboard so you can see how its supposed to feel ( if you are learning to surf you should be fairly competent in ocean swimming, so you might already know how this feels)
- Become a strong paddler, the better paddler you are the better at duckdiving you will become as well as surfing in general.
- Get to know your surfboard and its/your limitations A thick board + small person = hard to duckdive
- Never Ever,Ever ditch your board around other surfers, not only is it dangerous but its just a kook move and in surfing kook moves aren’t good.
If you ride a longboard you probably know you cant really duckdive these, there are a number of techniques that people use to get through to the outside when surfing a longboard- turtle rolls (turning yourself and the board upside down and hanging on) or take the wave square in the face and hang on. I’ve seen surfers do a sort of pushup and try to let the whitewater go between them and the longboard, but this is in small surf when its get bigger the longboard guys are a bit SOL, its gonna take some work for them to get out, especially if its a heavy beachbreak.