How to Duck Dive on a Bodyboard

surfer preparing to bodyboard duck dive

Duck diving is the most fundamental practice in bodyboarding. You want to get good at duck diving before you reach the big waves. Once you master the most fundamental technique in bodyboarding then you will be confident to take on bigger waves. Let’s go over what a bodyboard duck dive is. We’ll show you the steps and the best times to practice this technique.

What is a Duck Dive?

Duck dive is a swimming technique that surfers use to submerge underwater so they can dive under waves with their boards. To get good at it, surfers practice this technique for countless of hours and days. Sometimes it takes years until you master the art of duck diving.

Oftentimes, the surfer has a hard time with keeping the board balanced. As a result, the surfer gets pulled backward by the wave because the positioning and timing are not ideal.

The best way to learn is by paddling to the deep end of the ocean without your board first. You want to practice submerging underwater as the wave is coming at you. This practice will help you with your detection and timing. First, you want to identify or detect the wave height.

Bigger waves travel at a higher speed so you want to duck dive earlier and deeper when you are in front of a big wave. Once you get the hang of swimming and diving under the waves, the next step would be to take your bodyboard into practice.

Everything comes with practice. Here are the required steps to learning the fundamental technique of a duck dive with a bodyboard:

Step 1: Get Wet

Get into the shallow water and start paddling towards the deep end. However, you don’t want to go too deep as waves travel at a higher speed when you are deeper into the ocean (farther away from shore). Identify the wave patterns and get yourself comfortable inside the deep water.

Step 2: Lay Down

Bigger waves travel at great speed so you want to prepare to submerge yourself at the right time. Lay down on the bodyboard and keep your weight forward at a two-meter distance from the wave.

Step 3: Tight Grip

Your hands should be positioned on top of bodyboard (about one foot down from the nose). You want to hold the rails tight.

Beginners often let go of the rails and it causes them to lose the board as they submerge towards the bottom. Make sure you have a tight grip on your bodyboard!

Step 4: Push Down

Push the nose of the bodyboard down and put one knee on the tail of the board to get weight on it. All the force and weight will help you with the duck dive.

Step 5: Submerge Underwater

Paddle your feet and submerge underwater as deep as possible. For bigger waves, you should duck dive early and swim deeper into the ocean. In comparison, you can plunge under with a lower duck dive when you face smaller waves.

Step 6: Stabilize

Once you are submerged, you will have to lay flat on your board with your knee facing the tail of the board. You will have to extend your leg out.  This will stabilize you once you’re underwater and keep you from being pulled backward by the wave.

Step 7: Paddle Feet

Once the wave passes you over, you will have to slant your board upwards and look at the direction you want to go. During the whole duck dive, you should be paddling with your feet to avoid getting pulled back into the deep water. Rise up to the surface! Keep your balance and stay flat on the board as you paddle to the surface.

When’s a Good Time to Practice?

Anytime is a good time. However, you want to practice duck diving when the waves are much smaller. Start with small waves until you become better at your craft and then you can move up to bigger waves.

large wave

Holding your breath underwater for too long can be overwhelming and that’s why smaller waves are a good start. With smaller waves, you will be able to submerge slightly under the water and it won’t take you long to rise to the surface.

Areas for Improvement

When I first started, my technique was faulty. I could submerge and push down the bodyboard but I couldn’t stabilize the board.

For a skinny surfer, I had a really hard time with stability. I improved over the years with lots of practice and weight training.

To get a better understanding of your weaknesses in the ocean, you will have to take note of what you are doing wrong. Bring a friend to watch you duck dive so he or she can identify areas for improvement.

Understanding the areas that you need to work on will make your training that much easier. Watch some good videos on YouTube and follow surfers that are experts in the surfing world. Nonetheless, everyone can improve with practice and training. Go out there and hit the waves!

Find the Right Bodyboard

Altogether, you should have the right size board to execute a flawless bodyboard duck dive. Everything is smooth when you get a bodyboard that is ideal for your height and weight. You should buy a board that is not too heavy for you to push down underwater.

As you develop your bodyboarding skills, you will possibly move up to a bigger size board. Take a look at some bodyboards to find the right size and style that will be ideal for your skill.

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