How To Duck Dive Surfing - Green Iguana Surf Camp

How To Duck Dive Surfing

When it comes to surfing there is lots of jargon that many people wouldn’t understand and it is basically the same with most hobbies and sports. They have their own language and today we are here to talk about how to duck dive on a surfboard.

How To Duck Dive Surfing?

There are many different techniques to carrying out certain skills in the water with your surfboard and it is definitely not as easy as some people make it look.

Hopefully this guide will give you some informative information on how to do this skill properly when tackling a wave.

It is all about paddling your way through the rough ties and getting past the waves but it can be very difficult and take a lot of endurance – especially for beginners.

What Is A Duck Dive? 

Most people want to know when is the best time to carry out a duck dive. The answer is when you are going to hit high impact waves that you need to get through.

You definitely do not want to be getting crushed by waves because in the water, it is very easy to get yourself in a panic and start to lose your confidence. This occurs when the waves are high and forceful.

Therefore, there is a way to avoid this and that is by duck diving so you avoid the immense pressure of the wave by going underneath it instead of directly through. 

This name obviously comes from this act imitating birds where they dip under the water and this is the same. A surfer wants to work as a team with the board to make the ride as smooth as possible when trying to get out from the shoreline.

As we know, the waves are usually much closer together and usually big white forces plowing towards you. This can be quite intimidating but when doing the duck dive you can avoid this fear.

This may take a bit of time for beginners to master but it will become crucial in your surfing journey and will come very naturally to you after a while.

It is always really important to remember that you need to mix both technique and good timing together when carrying this out else you might not be successful. 

When Might You Avoid Doing A Duck Dive?

There will definitely be times where you should opt to not carry out the duck dive because it wouldn’t be appropriate for the types of waves that are coming towards you.

For example, if you were to come into contact with falling lips or gentle-breaking rollers then this would not be the best way to go through.

If this were to happen then the best option would definitely be to bail on it because you could put yourself in a position that is not safe. 

How To Master The Duck Dive

It is all about practice, practice and more practice. You don’t want to go straight into the sea if you are a beginner and do this. It is definitely best to practice somewhere flat, for example, a pool.

How To Duck Dive Surfing?

You need to make sure that you are getting quite deep below the wave when it is coming. Another thing to look out for is your board’s buoyancy.

Therefore, you will be using both your knee and foot to keep the board stabilized to keep you below the wave until it passes through. 

Simple Steps: 

  1. You want to be paddling towards the wave to start. 
  2. You want to be waiting about 5 to 10 feet before the wave is actually right in front of you to start the technique. 
  3. You need to grab both sides of the surfboard in line with your chest so you are ready. 
  4. After this, you push yourself up off the board with your arms. 
  5. You need to make sure at this point that your body weight is moved forward slightly. 
  6. The nose of the board needs to be pushed with force downwards into the water following your head in the same direction. 
  7. You then will use your knee to push the board underneath the water. 
  8. If you are comfortable to open your eyes underwater you will know how long to stay there until the wave has passed. 
  9. When moving back up to the surface, you need to move your hands to the top of the surfboard and paddle forwards against the waves. 

Is This Different For Different Sized Waves?

When it comes to facing the really large waves, this will be the way to go but it really is all down to practise and your timing.

If you don’t have the right timing then you could get caught and either go too early where you rise at the wrong time or go too late and get stuck inside the wave. 

One thing you need to remember is to not wait for the wave to come to use, you need to be paddling towards it at full force to build that momentum that you need to power yourself underneath.

Moreover, this is also where the confidence with your board, your teammate. You need to know your board and know your ability and not trying to do too much too soon, it also comes with time and skill building. Once you have mastered certain waves then you move up to larger waves and your confidence will grow. 


Overall, you really do need to be careful when in the water and not to try and push yourself too much too soon. Lessons are also really handy to have a professional show you all of these tricks.

However, people do learn on their own and you can use this guide to help you with the duck dive in particular.

Always remember to not be afraid of the wave and build up your power because otherwise you won’t make it underneath the water with enough power.

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