How to Duck Dive

Learning to make your way out the back

The duck dive is a tricky one to master but without it you’ll be stuck in the foam battling white water. With a bit of practice and a few useful tips, you’ll be cruising through the line up in no time at all.

The duck dive is the method used to dive under the waves and make your way out to the back of the waves. The smaller the board the easier this becomes so keep practicing and as your surfing improves so will your duck diving!

A step-by-step guide

01.  Lay on your surfboard. When you see a wave approaching, keep paddling at speed towards the wave.

02.  When the wave is a couple of metres in front of you, use the momentum from your speed to help you dive. Grip the rails of your surfboard underneath your shoulders and push down straightening your arms.

03.  Use your knee or foot of your strongest leg to push down the back of the surfboard, levelling your surfboard flat underneath the wave. Keep your other leg straight and raised for balance.

04.  The nose of your surfboard should push under water in a scooping motion with your head and body following it. Pull your body towards the surfboard allowing the wave to pass over both you and your surfboard.

05.  As the wave passes over you, the surfboard should be level in the water. The leg not being used to push down the board should be up in the air to help provide balance. The wave will push on this raised leg as it moves over you, helping bring the surfboard up towards the surface of the water.

06.  Once the wave has passed over you look towards the surface. Your surfboard will automatically lift you back to the surface of the water safely behind the wave. Ensure you are now in the correct position for paddling and continue this until you are safely out in the line-up where you can relax.

Star Surf Camps' Top Tip for Duck Diving

It is always good to practice duck dives in still water. If it’s a flat day, why not grab your surfboard and go for a paddle and just practice the motion of duck diving. Or if you have a swimming pool handy, jump in and have a go. Duck diving and paddling can be hard work. Time your paddle-out well in between sets if possible. Never stop for a rest half way out to the line-up in the impact zone, only rest on the beach or in the line-up.