FREE Standard Shipping on Orders Over $75

Racks and Accessories to Organize, Store, and Display Your Boards & Gear

Sunday, January 5, 2014

How to Duck Dive | 5 Tips for Learning How to Duck Dive

Once you’ve upped your surf game to the point where you are comfortable taking on some larger waves, the difficult skill of duck diving becomes a necessity. Learning to properly execute a duck dive makes it easier to get outside on larger days, allowing you to test your skills in some bigger surf. While a certain amount of strength is necessary in order to duck dive, especially if you have a larger or thicker board, the most important part of successful duck dive is proper technique. Here we will discuss the basics of proper duck diving technique.
Photo Credit: Costa Rica Surf Institute

1. Focus on Speed and Timing
A good duck dive starts with built-up momentum and proper timing. As a wave or wall of whitewater approaches, paddle fast and hard straight towards it to gain speed. When you are a few feet in front of the whitewater, begin your duck dive. Starting your duck dive too soon or too late will get you caught up in the breaking wave and send you tumbling back to shore.

2. Hand and Arm Placement
To initiate a proper duck dive, place your hands on the rails of your surfboard at about chest-level. Extend your arms in front of you and push the nose of your board down as far as you can manage. As the board dips under the water, follow the motion with your head, allowing your upper body to mimic the dipping motion of the board.
3. Use Your Knee or Foot
At this point, you and your surfboard should be point at a downward angle, with your legs and rear end sticking out of the water. In order to start the process of straighten out your board and allowing the oncoming wave to break cleanly over you, press down on the tail of your surfboard using your knee or foot.

4. Arch and Pull
When your board is more or less at a 180° angle underwater, arch your head and neck back while simultaneously pulling up on the nose of your board. This movement should get your surfboard pointed back up towards the surface, with its buoyancy helping to pull you up and away from the wave that just broke over you.

5. Practice
After getting a good feel for proper duck diving technique, continue to practice the motion every chance you get. Remember to focus on building up momentum and timing your duck dive just right. Even in smaller surf where you could probably just paddle over an oncoming wave, take the opportunity to practice duck diving. It will serve you well when the swell picks up again.

Don't Ditch Your Board!
No matter what happens, NEVER toss your board aside and dive under the wave. Not only will this teach you bad habits and do nothing for your duck-diving ability, but it can also put other surfers around you in danger. The various stages of your duck dive should resemble the diagram above, and you can check out the multitude of
duck-diving videos online to better visualize the movement.