Duck diving is a technique to help surfers get past sets of waves in order to reach the break. This technique is extremely helpful and can be valuable when surfing larger waves. However, without the right technique and timing it can be useless. Here’s some pointers on how apply a new technique if you’re having difficulty getting past white water.
Ducking and dodging haters all day
Things to consider before learning to duck dive
- How long is your surfboard?
- Longer surfboards will be harder to duck dive with. Some are impossible Only short surfboards between 6’3″ and below.
- Do you know your surfboard?
- Be one with your surfboard. I know it sounds corny, but it’s so true. Your surfboard is part of you, like your leg or arm. If you don’t know how to control your surfboard in or out of the water, how do you expect it to help you?
- Do you have access to a swimming pool?
- It’s much easier to learn the basics of balance, paddling and maneuverability while in calm water. If you have the luxury of a swimming pool, you will learn much quicker.
- Master balancing on your surfboard such as sitting down in the water. This will help with positioning and timing.
- Learn how much buoyancy your surfboard has and how much strength it takes to push your surfboard down below the white water.
- How well can you paddle? Have you mastered paddling?
- Once you’re popping out from the dive you need to paddle quickly and powerfully. We will cover paddling techniques in another post.
Where do you position yourself on your surfboard? Where is your chest? Where are your knees?
- You will need to use your entire body in order to dive under the wave by pushing down as hard as you can.
- Timing is everything
- Before duck diving under the wave, you need to time your dive at the exact moment the wave passes over you. If you get this wrong, you will be drilled and pushed back to shore losing critical energy while paddling out.
- Count the number of waves that come in until there is a break. This is called a “set”.
- Count the time in between each set
- Once you figure out how many waves are in each set, this will give you an expectation of how many duck dives you need to make and how much time you have to paddle as hard as you can to the line up until the next set comes in. Yes, it’s like playing Frogs on Atari but in real life and in the water. Don’t get drilled.
- How far is the lineup?
- How deep is the bottom?
- What are the conditions you’re surfing in? What are the wave heights? Is there onshore or offshore wind?
- How long can you hold your breath?
It’s like playing Frogs on Atari, but in real life and in the water. Don’t get drilled.