Have you started surfing a shorter board and are struggling to get out to the lineup? It's all about the duck dive. Team Sensi surfer and snowboarder Alexa Hohenberg (and the woman behind StillStoked.com) offers her tips to get you duck diving like a pro! After spending a solid amount of time learning to pop up in the white wash, the next step is to get out to the green waves! The key to getting ‘out back’ is to duck your surfboard under the breaking wave and the top turbulent water. This is called a duck dive and it is the number one essential thing to learn when progressing your surfing. A good duck dive technique will save you time, energy and sanity. Nothing is worse than getting dragged back into the white water when you want to be out back catching waves.
Here are my top five tips to duck diving like a pro.
#1 Timing Timing is everything when it comes to duck diving. Watch the waves and see when they are breaking. Just as the waves sucks up, that flat bit just before it peaks and comes down on your head is when you want to dive under. Too early and you will pop up in front of the breaking wave, too late and it will break on your head. Good timing comes with practice and reading the waves. Don’t worry, you’ll get it.
#2 Technique There are two ways that you can force the tail of your board under water: with your knee or with your foot. Whichever you use, make sure you position it in the centre of the board and not on the side, or you will knock the board down at an angle, potentially ripping it out of your hands. Personally, I use my foot. I find I can push the board down much deeper under the wave using my whole body. It also prevents getting knee dents in my board.
#3 Don’t forget to sink the nose Think about how you want to scoop your board under the wave. You start by pushing the nose down under the water first and then kick the tail down after. If you kick the tail first all the power of the wave will catch your board on the underside of the nose. Use your upper body strength to push and scoop the nose under. It’s an amazing feeling when you get it right as the power of the wave spits you out the other side, often after giving you a nice back massage as the wave rolls over your back.
#4 Look where you are going Whatever you do, don’t shut your eyes under water when you duck dive. You want to see things coming and maneuver underwater if you have to, for example the fins of the person in front of you or someone else coming along the wave. As a wave breaks it produces these little white circular streams of concentrated energy. With you eyes open your can navigate your board in between these streams (avoiding them), making the duck dive much smoother and easier.
#5 Wear a good quality bikini bottom I tell you now, you will lose your bikini bottoms at some point in the surf! A loose bikini bottom will end up around your ankles after ducking a powerful wave. Do yourself a favor and invest in a bikini bottom that stays put. Adjusting you bikini bottoms after every duck dive means you aren’t paddling so are losing position and momentum. You don’t want to be wasting time on your bottoms if there are waves to be caught. Sensi Bikinis bottoms to the rescue!
This is the best video on how to duck dive – well worth a watch Remember practice makes perfect and reading the waves is half the battle when it comes to surfing. Don’t give up and keep at it. Doing a regular yoga class with lots of planks and vinyasas is a great way to get the upper body strength needed for duck diving. Trust me when I say there aren’t many things more rewarding then getting a duck dive so perfect it pops you out the back with all the strength of the ocean. It’s a feeling only a surfer knows. Good luck - Alexa