How To Duck Dive – Simple Tips For Beginners

How To Duck Dive1
Read Time:6 Minute, 38 Second

Don’t give up because it takes years of practice to master the perfect duck dive technique. The good news is that you can practice these moves in a variety of settings, including a pool, a lake, the ocean, etc. When you can perform proper duck dives, you can pass the break with less energy loss and use your remaining paddle power to catch more waves.

What Is Duck Dive

The duck dive is one of the most basic skills any and every surfer must learn. Although it has nothing to do with riding down a wave’s face, it is essential to your safety and positioning so that you can catch all those waves.

Many surfers have the luxury of diving underwater like ducks while using a shortboard, allowing the wave to pass right over them. Alas, the name “duck dive.” (You should use the turtle roll if your board is too large for a duck dive.

Similar to any movement, duck diving appears effortless when done correctly, but if any part is done incorrectly, the waves will thrash you. The most typical error is not diving deep enough under the wave or starting to surface too soon. You’ll find yourself being dragged back toward the beach in either situation.

Is Duck Diving Hard?

Unfortunately, I must say that duck diving is somewhat difficult. Even though it isn’t as challenging as a cutback or floater, it still has its own set of difficulties. The good news is that you’ll conserve energy and spend a lot more time doing what you love once you’ve mastered this skill…actually surfing waves. Timing and speed are the two key factors in successful duck diving.

Is Your Board Small Enough?

First things first: can you properly sink your surfboard under water? Large surfboards are very challenging to push underwater, and they can occasionally float too much to use for duck diving.

The duck dive is usually done with shortboards, hybrid boards or small “fish” type surfboards. When trying to pass the break with a larger surfboard, a turtle roll is typically preferable.

How To Practice The Duck Dive At Home:

You can perform this easy exercise at home to help you internalize this.

1. The standard paddling position should be adopted.

2. Place your hands right below your lower ribs in the “chicken wings” position.

3. To get into the cobra position, start to push yourself up.

Your right leg should be raised in the air if you are a regular foot. You can gain momentum to push down as a result of doing this. Do the mirrored version of this for goofballs.

4. In order to push the board down further in a few seconds, extend your arms and assume the cobra position.

5. Start raising your butt.

Try to exert more pressure on your shoulders and palms (this pose is known as the downward dog in yoga).

Put your right foot up as high as you can while extending your back feet. You will push downward from this top position.

6. Lower yourself towards the ground

In the same way that you would perform a narrow push-up, squeeze your elbows close to your ribs. Back at the beginning position, arch your back and thrust your body forward in the space between your palms.

Now that both of your legs are on the board, you will be underwater. In order to maintain more depth, bring your body up against the board. Remain calm and allow yourself to stand back up.

To commit this to muscle memory, repeat it ten times. If the drill is too difficult for you to complete with the back leg straight, place your knee instead of your feet on the ground.

Timing When To Duck-Dive

When it comes to timing your duck dive, having a solid understanding of how waves break will be very helpful. To time a duck-dive effectively you must allow enough time to push your board under the water before the wave breaks hits you.

Avoid getting off your board too soon because you’ll lose momentum, fail to get all the way under the water, and possibly wobble before the wave even hits.

And not too late, or you risk getting splashed in the face with whitewater or, worse yet, having a lip land on your head. Funny to watch, granted, but not so funny if the one being watched is you

The best time to begin your duck dive is about one to two meters before the wave hits, though this depends on the size of the wave because larger waves take longer to penetrate deeper underwater. Duck dives are best performed in one fluid motion. Similar to everything else, trial and error is the best way to determine the timing, but for now, the aforementioned approximations should be helpful.

How To Duck Dive2

Is It Better To Duck Dive With My Knee Or Foot?

How to perform the duck dive is one of the most frequently asked questions, along with whether to use your foot or knee. Personal preference is everything, but some people—including myself—use both methods in various situations.

Since it doesn’t require as much energy and I don’t have to go as deep into the water, I duck dive in small waves using my knee. I’ll also use my foot to dig as deep as I can in bigger waves. It really doesn’t matter whether you duck-dive with your foot or your knee; just give them both a shot and pick the one that suits you best.

How To Duck-dive White Water

Once a wave has broken, the wave turns into what’s called “white water”. When approaching a white water wave to duck dive, keep in mind that its energy is moving forward towards the beach.

To prevent getting pushed back too far, you should first make sure you are paddling with enough forward momentum as you approach the white water.

Second, to absorb the energy of the broken wave, you’ll need to penetrate the water as deeply as you can.

I suggest using your knee if you’re paddling through gentle whitewater. To get as deep as possible when duck diving, it is advised to use your foot as opposed to your knee if you are paddling through large, gnarly white water. Oh, and keep in mind that it’s imperative to approach the whitewater in question perpendicular to the way it’s moving; otherwise, you’ll always get dragged off your board and rag-dolled.

Knee Pushing As Opposed To Pushing With The Foot

Although some surfers push their boards under the water with their feet and others with their knees, it’s not always about style. It’s possible for a novice to assume that the knee push a pro uses is the proper technique, but there isn’t just one right way to do it. It depends on the size of the wave whether you push your board with your feet or your knees.

Pushing the board deep with your back foot is preferable if the wave you’re going to duck dive into is strong. By doing it that way, you’ll be diving deeper because you’ll be exerting more force. You don’t have to dive very deep if the wave isn’t particularly strong. So you can enter the foam and emerge with just a knee push. You can save energy by staying above the depth limit.


You must be able to duck dive if you want to surf green waves, which, let’s face it, everyone does.

The duck dive may take some practice, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll save a ton of energy that will enable you to stay in the water longer and catch a lot more waves.

Someone who can duck dive well will be able to surf in more conditions and for longer than someone who can’t, which is a skill that is underappreciated and definitely flies under the radar.

Average Rating

5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Posts

11. What Should Divers Do For Their Own Safety1
Diving for Beginners

What Should Divers Do For Their Own Safety – 10 Essential Safety Tips

Scuba diving is a very safe activity. Learning and practicing safely is not difficult. Accidents can still occur, though. The majority of diving-related accidents are caused by negligence and diver error. Therefore, our attention should be directed toward stopping issues before they start. We should also learn how to deal with issues when they arise. […]

Read More
children scuba diving
Diving for Beginners Diving Knowledge Scuba Diving

How Old Do You Have To Be To Scuba Dive?

How old do you have to be to scuba dive? I’ve noticed that there are many responses to this question. You will adore this post if you’re looking for all the pertinent information regarding when kids can begin scuba diving. The quick answer is that you can start scuba diving at age eight. This article […]

Read More
8. NAUI vs. PADI1
Diving for Beginners Diving Knowledge

NAUI vs. PADI – What You Need to Know In 2022

If you’re interested in learning how to SCUBA dive properly, take a closer look at NAUI vs. PADI below. The first non-profit organization in the US to offer scuba certification is NAUI. Since 1960, NAUI has operated out of Florida and promotes safe diving by providing extensive diving courses for novices and experts alike. Similar […]

Read More