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San Diego Surfing Home > Surfing School > Surfing - Duck Diving
Surf Lessons

Surfing School - Surfing - Duck Diving

Duck-diving is the process of going underneath the breaking wave with your board as you are paddling out so you are not pushed back.

A few things most helpful in duck-diving:

  1. Try to have some forward momentum before you give up paddling to begin pressing your board down. This provides some counter to the force of the wave in the direction of shore. Even if it is just a couple of strokes before the angry whiteness consumes you, you will come out further than a couple of strokes ahead of where you would have it you had not gotten going forward.

  2. Push your board as deeply under as possible. The more of your body that you get above water quickly will result in getting the board deeper under. Sometimes, even tilt your board to the side in the water so that there is less resistance to it going down. Some people use only their arms and their knee(s) to push the board down. We like using the ball of one of our feet instead and to raise the other one high to provide more weight on the board.

  3. Immediately before the surf subsumes you, pull yourself down to the board and angle the board slightly up to the perceived other side of the break. Too much angle and the nose of the board will catch the break and push you backwards. Not enough and the back of the board will be caught in the suction of the wave as it rushes by you and it won't help pull you through. If you have the right upward angle, and your hands are toward the front of the board, probably about where you press up from, you can thrust the board to the other side of the wave and it will help pull you through.

  4. A key is not to stay under for as long as possible, just to start deep and shoot up as far on the other side of the turbulence as possible. The sooner you get back up the surface and balanced on your board, the sooner you are able to start paddling again... and that's the only way you really get outside anyway.


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