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How to Duck Dive a Surfboard

how to duck dive a surfboard

The Duck Dive is when a surfer pushes their surfboard underwater to avoid the approaching lip or white wash of a large wave.

Knowing how to duck dive a surfboard is important in order to avoid getting hit on the head by the crashing wave.

The Duck Dive is when a surfer pushes the nose of the surfboard into the water and goes under the breaking wave. The best way to think of the duck dive is like swimming under a wave in the ocean. You duck your head and shoulders in first just before the white wash crashes on you, glide parallel with the bottom under the wave with your whole body and then arch your head and shoulders toward the surface as the wave passes over you. The only difference is you have a surfboard under you.

In order to duck dive a surfboard, make sure that you have a lot of forward momentum by paddling as hard as you can toward the approaching wave. The more speed you have, the better chance you will make it out the other side and not get sucked back over the falls. When pushing your nose under the water, timing is very important. If you push the noes under the water to early you will not make it through the other side of the wave. Wait until the last possible moment when the white wash is about to crash on you, grab the rails of your surfboard with both hands at your side and push the noes into the water.

duck dive a surfboard to get under the wave

The Duck Dive is a lot like swimming under a wave, only with a surfboard.

Here is where it gets a little tricky. As the wave crashes over you, place your knee (left or right) on the back of the board and push the tail down into the water so you and your surfboard are parallel to the bottom as the wave rolls over you. Remember to hold on tight to your surfboard while you do this.

Now it’s time to surface nose first on the other side of the wave. Arch your back and pull up on the rails of your surfboard with your knee still pressing down on the back of the board. If done correctly, the buoyancy of the surfboard will bring you to the surface and you can continue paddling out without missing a beat.

Being able to duck dive a surfboard has a lot to do with the size of board you are riding. Surfboards with more foam like a long board or fun board will be more buoyant and harder to submerge unless you are a really heavy person. If you are having trouble getting the surfboard to sink under the wave, you might want to try the turtle roll, paddling around the wave using a channel or simply waiting until there is a lull (pause) in the waves and paddle out then. When surfing here at Kahalu’u Bay in Kona, Hawaii, most surfers will use the channel to the south side of the bay to paddle back out without ever getting their hair wet!

If you have any tips or tricks on how to duck dive a surfboard, please feel free to share them with us by commenting below.


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