Duck diving is a neat and extremely helpful trick that all shortboarders need to learn.
This trick helps you paddle out into the lineup more efficiently by diving with your board, underneath the waves.
This is also very helpful when the waves are bigger or the paddle out is longer because it helps save a lot of your energy.
You also never should ditch your surfboard and swim underneath a wave, for safety reasons, so this is a great way to get out of the impact zone (where the waves are breaking) with your board still underneath you.
How to Duck Dive: A 5 Step Process
Step 1: Setting Up
When you are paddling out into the lineup and you need to duck dive, you should make sure that you are set up correctly.
To have a better chance at success, you need to paddle quickly to gain momentum to propel yourself better underneath the wave.
Yes, you can duck dive while you aren’t paddling, but the paddle really helps you get through the wave better.
You don’t want to duck dive too early, but you don’t want to duck dive too late.
You should make sure you are about your board’s distance away from the wave 5-6ft and then you follow through with the duck dive.
Starting your duck dive before the wave gets to you is important to keep your momentum and also start these next steps to get your board under the water.
Step 2: Push Down the Front
You are going to use the momentum you have gained and direct it underneath the wave by pushing the front of your board under first.
You can do this by grabbing the rails of your board and pushing your arms and the front of your board down.
Step 3: Push Down the Back
Next, you are going to need to get the rest of the board underneath the water as well.
To get the back side of your board down you will push down with your foot or your knee on the back end of the board. This is only done with one side of your foot or knee, the other leg you should lift back for more weight directed on the board.
Step 4: Under the Wave
Now that you are successfully underneath the wave, you need to become one with your board to continue the momentum pushing you through the wave.
Continue to grab those rails and bring your body close to your board as if you are laying on your board, but underneath the water.
Step 5: Finishing the Duck Dive
After you have cleared the wave, you need to get back to the surface.
Don’t worry though, naturally your board is going to float you to the surface.
You can help by angling your board up towards the surface and kicking your feet if you want to get up faster.
Please be sure not to come up too soon because if you haven’t cleared the wave yet, the wave’s power can pull you back and undo the work you have done to duck dive.
Duck Dive: FAQS
Q: How big of a wave can you duck dive?
Every person has different strengths and skills and so this answer will be different for individuals.
The summarized answer though would be to duck dive as big of a wave as you feel comfortable with.
Some people can duck dive up to 15 foot waves whereas other people can duck dive up to 6 or 7 foot waves. It really all depends on your experience, strength, and skill.
Q: How deep can you duck dive?
Every person is going to duck dive to different depths. Some people are able to duck dive and frog-kick their way deeper under the wave to really ensure the wave has passed or when the wave is so big they really need to go deep, whereas others will just do a normal duck dive to get under the wave efficiently and fast.
Q: When should you not duck dive?
There are times when you shouldn’t duck dive and don’t really need to.
When you are first starting to paddle out and the waves look more like little white water bumps, you don’t need to duck dive underneath every one of those because you can just paddle through them.
You don’t want to wear yourself out by doing more work than you need to.
You should use your best judgment when paddling out which waves you should duck dive and which waves you can make it over in time.
How to Duck Dive
Duck diving is possibly one of the most important tricks you can learn when surfing. It is important to be able to paddle out effectively and while keeping yourself and others safe. Once you learn how to duck dive, you can paddle out better and try surfing bigger waves!
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