Duck dives can be a real issue for women surfers… We all have those moments of panic when a big wave is approaching! How in God’s green earth will I get under this thing? Before you chuck your board onto your fellow surfer, take a deep breath and read these duck dive tips!
To Improve Your Duck Dive:
1. Go for Swim:
Swim under some waves and take notice of what you do. Watch as your arms, shoulders and head guide the way. First, you go deep. Then, you let the white water pass over you. Once the foam has passed, you shoot upward to the surface. The same thing applies when you are with your board.
2. Gain Momentum:
Get speed as you start your duck dive paddling hard until the very moment when you need to get under the wave. Don’t stop way before going under a wave! Attack the wave by paddling quickly towards it, that way you won’t be standing still when the wave explodes…
3. Execute Upon Wave Detonation:
Paddle to gain some momentum towards the wave. Right before it breaks on you, hold the rails about 2 ft from the nose and push it down, underwater. Use whatever knee (or foot in bigger conditions) comes naturally to push down on the deck of the board and get the tail under. When the wave passes, tilt your upper body back and allow the nose to pop out of the water. Resurface and breathe out!
4. Know Your Board:
Get used to your equipment by surfing on smaller, more manageable days. Understand how buoyant your board is – that is how hard is it to hold it under waves when you duck dive. Try out different ways to get it under water faster and deeper. Don’t expect to easily duck dive a longboard or thick fish! With volume comes increased difficulty duck diving.
5. Control Your Panic:
We all know the feeling: “ahhhhh sh@$ look at this wave, I’m going to get worked.” Fixating on the looming lip only freaks you out more. Try to ease your gaze and not look anywhere in particular or even make the wave slightly blurry. Tell yourself, this will be fine. Take a low, deep breath and put your technique to work. I swear by shifting your gaze and remembering how many times waves that looked scary let you through easily.
As with nearly everything, practice makes perfect. Go surf (yay!) and enjoy those duck dives (pretend yay!)