Learn how to do a duck dive surfing correctly. Step by Step.
The duck surfing It is the technique that surfers use to sink their surfboard underwater and thus be able to submerge under the waves with their surfboard.
It takes years of practice to develop great duck diving technique, so don’t get discouraged. The good news is that you can practice these steps in many settings: in a pool, on a lake, in the ocean, etc. Once you can do duck dives correctly, you’ll spend less energy trying to get through the surf and maintaining the power of your paddle and catching more waves.
First, is your board small enough?
First things first: Do you have a surfboard that you can sink correctly underwater? Surfboards with a lot of volume are very difficult to push underwater, sometimes impossible to duck with them because they float too much.
Duck diving is usually done with shortboards, hybrid boards or small “fish” type surfboards. It’s usually best to do a turtle roll trying to get through the foam with a bigger surfboard.
2 types of waves that you will find:
Depending on the type of wave you are diving in, there will be different energy and different currents of water under the wave.
A wave that has already broken (foam)
Diving into a wave that has already broken in front of you means that you are trying to ride under a wave of foam. These waves are sometimes difficult to penetrate because the energy is moving forward, towards you. Also, the foam extends below the surface. You want to try to get under all that wild water, but sometimes you go underwater through that foam.
A wave that has not yet broken.
The energy of a continuous wave moves in a circular motion. This vortex helps you get through the wave as you are “leaning” into the wave and “pushing” back.
1. Row hard to gain speed
It is impossible to dodge a strong wave of foam without the proper speed. You need forward momentum to be able to go all the way.
Bonus tip: Go into “attack mode”: don’t hesitate, go straight (perpendicular) to the wave at high speed.
2. Start 2 meters before reaching the wave
Just stop paddling and grab your surfboard by the edges under your pecs when you are one board away from the wave.
3. Push the front of the board down and forward.
After grabbing the rails, lean your torso under your pecs over the front of the board and use your shoulder strength to sink the nose or front of the board under the water. What you want is to get your board down and forward and take advantage of the speed it gained from paddling hard before you dive.
Bonus tip: Keep your arms straight to lower the board further under the water.
4. Press the tail down with your foot (or knee).
In this step, you want to bring the tail down to allow the entire surfboard to sink under the water. Once you’ve plunged the nose of the board deep into the water and forward, use your foot or knee to push the tail of the board down.
Pushing down on the grip of the board makes the surfboard parallel to the ground. This is especially important when the wave passes over you.
Keep the momentum going. The sinking of the tail occurs quickly after the sinking of the nose, and together they appear as one movement. Do this quickly to keep moving forward underwater.
Bonus tip: Raise the other leg like a scorpion: This will help you put more weight on the tail to sink it down.
5. Take your body to your board
Once your surfboard is low and parallel to the bottom, bend your arms and bring your body into the surfboard as the wave washes over it.
When you ride under a wave through the foam bubbles, you have to go parallel to the bottom. If the nose of the surfboard continues to point downward, the board could slip out of your hands when you hit the foam.
Be sure to bring your body closer to the surfboard, not your surfboard to your body. When you pull your surfboard against your body, you don’t sink deep enough to ride through powerful waves.
Only after the wave has passed can you point your nose towards the surface. The natural buoyancy of the board helps you get up and even gives you momentum to paddle backwards.
Be careful not to go back up too soon. If you didn’t get through the entire wave correctly, its power could push you back.
Bonus tip: You can kick the frog legs to get back up faster if necessary.
More tips: Timing is everything.
If you start diving too early, say 4 meters ahead of the wave, you won’t have the speed or momentum to go down and move below the wave. Due to the buoyancy of your surfboard, you come back up too soon and the wave hits it. If you start duck diving too late, your board won’t have time to go parallel to the bottom and the foam will blow it out of your hands. Remember to start your duck dive when you are within surfboard distance of the wave.
- Get the fastest rowing speed you can. Go into attack mode and go deep! You can’t have too much speed.
- Do not rush to the surface. Take your time to resurface or you will retire.
- Keep your eyes open underwater. This can sometimes help you avoid turbulence by finding the best way to get through the foam. Advanced surfers can avoid accidents in strong waves breaking on the bottom of a shallow reef by opening their eyes while diving.
- Step firmly on the grip: Really remember to get your board “low and parallel to the ground” as you keep going.
- Practice in a pool: Try to keep your balance underwater and sink. Nose with hands, then tail with foot while moving down and forward underwater.