Basic Surfing Tips – What Is Duck Diving?

September 21, 2016

Dedicated surfers can spend hours on end in the ocean, enjoying the thrill of riding the waves, but it can get tiring.  With surfing, a lot of energy is expended over a day long surf session, particularly with all of the paddling a surfer does, to catch wave after glorious wave.  When paddling out, it is much easier to go under than over the waves, and this is called “duck diving”.

Here is a video showing how a basic duck dive is done in surfing.

Become The Duck!

The video explains duck diving very well, but let’s recap.

As you are paddling out, the waves will keep coming at you.  When a wave is just about to break, you want to push your surfboard down, extending your arms, and trying to lock them to submerge the board as far down as possible.


Then, you need to push down with your foot onto the tail end of the board to make it go horizontal. 


As the wave is breaking above you, you are diving down to meet the board.


All of this happens in just seconds.  You then want to quickly aim your surfboard’s nose at the surface, and follow it up where you should pop up on the other side of the wave.


The key is to not let the tail come up first.  If this happens, you’ll be pushed backwards and lose progress.  With the board aimed properly, plus your momentum from paddling, your duck dive will be a success!  Once you have cleared the “impact zone” of the wave, paddle like crazy and don’t lose momentum.

Practice Duck Diving

Duck diving can be practiced anywhere there is deep water where you can try the technique for yourself.  You don’t need a wave to practice duck diving, so that means you can do it in a pool, or in the sea on a calm day.  This essential surfing skill will allow you to conserve valuable energy, and that means you can surf a lot longer.  

You’d better start working on that weight training, and focus on your shoulders, biceps,and triceps, so you’ll have strength enough to push the board down.  Also develop strong glutes (bum muscles), and leg muscles for kicking.  If you wait too long before you duck dive, the wave will pick you up, and toss you back towards the beach.  That won’t impress the spectators or other surfers!

Check out this video which shows a classic duck diving FAIL… 🙂

Beach Baby Bob

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Beach Baby Bob