One of the best ways to understand a duck dive is to understand how waves move underwater. Observing the waves circular energy will help you to understand why a duck dive works.
This amazing underwater shot from Ben Thouard shows the circular underwater energy of a wave. This circular motion gives surfers the perfect opportunity to dive deep to avoid being affected by the wave's motion. Watch his short documentary SURFACE to see more.[/caption]
OUR 6 TIPS TO HELP YOU DUCK DIVE LIKE A PRO
Former pro Holly Beck from Surf Amigas breaks down a proper duck dive
1. YOU NEED SPEED
In order to duck dive well, you need forward momentum — which means paddling until the very last moment. You must have speed. Do not stop paddling too early or you will lose the momentum needed to get under the wave.
2. GET THE TIMING RIGHT
Start the duck dive before the wave hits you. If the wave is breaking clean you can paddle longer and dive closer to the wave. But if the wave has white-water, make sure you start before the white water hits you.
3. KNOW YOUR BOARD
Know your board. Big boards with more volume are harder to push under. Sometime you need to tilt a bigger board and use your back foot to get it to scoop under the wave.
4. TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND PUSH DOWN
Push ALL of the board underwater with the nose down and a driving forward force. Push the board under with both hands on the rail (about two feet back from the nose), and one knee (whichever knee you favor) helping to push down on the deck to help get the tail under. Keep your arms straight and lean forward to help get more of the board under the water.
5. KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN
If conditions allow, keep your eyes open to observe the underside of the wave. Then, ss the wave passes overhead, move your upper body weight towards the back of the board. This lets the nose rise.
6. START PADDLING
As you come back to the surface, use some paddling momentum to move forward towards the line-up. The quicker you can resume paddling out, the less energy you'll expend getting into the surf zone.
PRACTICE MAKES BETTER
Duck diving takes some practice to get right. Jump in a pool and give it a try. You will feel the difference between a good and a bad duck dive. When you get it right, you'll pass smoothly under the wave. But, when you get it wrong any you'll be pulled back towards the beach, you might lose your board, and will have to do it all over again until you get it right. Once you perfect your duck dive, you will be able to conserve your energy, paddle out faster, and enjoy more waves.
Remember to NEVER let go of your board. Hold onto it tightly to avoid extra swimming and potentially injuring someone. Also, be aware of your surroundings, remember to keep clear of others surfers who are riding in on waves and practice good surfing etiquette.
Want to learn more? Check out our tips on riding your first wave.