Learning how to duckdive properly is one of the most important parts of your bodyboarding toolkit. Getting your bodyboard duckdive as deep and far as possible will save you copping a beating time and time again, and during yourpaddle out it will help you to get out the back quicker than the rest of your mates so that you can be surfing while they are still struggling to get through the whitewash.
Duck diving is the necessary element of bodyboarding to get into the lineup. In essence, a duckdive is a modified push-up that pushes your board and body beneath the water and an oncoming wave.
The duckdiving technique is as follows:
- First, paddle strongly towards the wave. This will give you more forward project and depth in your duck dive. This is actually where a lot of bodyboarders come unstuck, even those who have been riding for years, because they hesitate when a large wave approaches them rather than paddling as quickly as possible towards it ( human instinct works in mysterious ways sometimes!)
- When the wave is approximately one or two metres from you, slide forward on your board, grip your rails about 20cm ahead of your shoulders, press up, and push the nose of your board down at a 30-degree angle. While in the pushup position, dig your knee (just one knee) into the tail section of your board and with all of your wait dive under the wave. Your other leg you protrude out of the water as you dive down – this will provide you with stability, and will also help to push you deeper.
- As the wave moves over you, transfer your weight back towards your knees to lift the nose of your board to angle out of the back of the wave. Use your buoyancy to push you back to the surface.
A handy duckdiving tip: Try to time your duckdive to coincide with when the explosion of the wave is bouncing upwards (rather than when it is bearing downwards). If you time it right, the explosion of the wave will ‘bounce’ right over you instead of pushing you straight the bottom.
Remember, if you are quite light and your board is pretty buoyant you will need to persevere to get your duckdiving skills sorted, but believe me, it’s worth it and a skill that you’ll use every bodyboarding session of your life….heck it could even save your life!