How to duck dive: sink that tail!

Written by on 5th July 2012
Published in Surfing
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It’s a sight we all face sooner or later: you’re on your board, paddling out back and a massive wall of white water is bearing down on you and the only way past is to go under it. But do you know the common mistake people make when trying to duck dive?

An underwater photo of a girl in a bikini duck diving the breaking surf

Sinking the tail, as well as the nose of the board is vital for a good duck dive.

The key to a good duck dive is getting as deep as possible, but too many people make the mistake of pushing the nose down first, and then trying to push the tail down with their knee or shin. This is not ideal as it leaves the tail of the board up high where it can get caught by the steamrolling white water and you will at best lose ground, at worst get quite a thrashing.

So try the tail sink method. Paddle confidently towards the white water, grab the rails level with the centre of your chest, and then rather than pushing the nose down first, focus on sinking the tail of the board by pushing down on it with the ball of your dominant foot. Automatically your body will go into the press-up position as you come up off the board and at this point you can use your upper body weight to sink the nose. Throw your other leg into a frog kick behind you for extra leverage, and follow the trajectory of the board under water. If it’s clear, keep your eyes open and aim to pop up in an area of less turbulence.

Here’s a quick recap:

  1. Paddle with steady confident strokes towards the breaking wave
  2. Grab the rails level with your chest
  3. Lift your dominant leg and sink the tail of the board with your foot
  4. Now push the nose down, kick your other leg out behind you for leverage
  5. Follow the board’s trajectory underwater, and rejoice as you pop up the other side!

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