Board Duck Diving by Ed Picket ((C)) 2003.........
Learn to Duck Dive under a wave in order to get out. When the waves
are big, you need to learn to duck dive in order to get out. A correctly
executed duck dive will, at the very least, lose no ground or position
from the shore. At best, you can gain speed and momentum by perfect
duck diving. We can teach you and practice with coaching is the
POSITIONING: ..Actually a Dive-Duck-Glide, the
first priority is position. ALWAYS PERPENDICULAR to the line of
the white water or force of the breaking wave, never turn away broadside,
(unless you have rocks or something behind you and angling away
is your only escape.) Angling away will allow the force of the wave
to turn you even more broadside and then the wave will carry you
toward the beach.
TIMING:...Time your move to dive so that the whitewater
sliding across the green water will not hit you. You want to wait
as long as you can to be as deep as you can at the moment the whitewater
crosses your spot. Remember, we float and if you are too early,
you will float to the top when the whitewater hits...bad timing.
DIVE:...PUSH...Placing your hands on the rails
under your shoulders, your knee in the center of the tail, (or both
feet on the tail) RISE UP in the "push-up" starting position
and Sink the nose of the board underwater as deep as you quickly
can, nose down. Too deep and you will end up with your tail in the
air, your head underwater and you cannot execute the DUCK part of
the move. Penetrate the wave or the green water underneath the whitewater
(here the forces are not pushing you toward the beach.)
DUCK:...Using the sunken nose of your board like
an anchor, PULL your head under the green water driving your board
forward with your knee (or feet) and change the angle of the board
to nose upwards, which becomes the GLIDE part of the move.
GLIDE:...With your board angled up at about 45
degrees, more or less, the natural buoyancy of you and your board
will make you rise. with luck and good timing, the lip of the breaking
wave or the whitewater will have missed you completely or hit you
in the legs driving the tail of your board down. This creates momentum
which coupled with the angled positioning causes you to glide upward
like a whale rising to breathe.
STROKE:...You had better be ready to stroke as
soon as you surface because there will likely be another wave behind
it. Sometimes it is two strokes, duck dive, two strokes duckdive,...etc.
At these times it is important to remember that 1) the set will
likely be over soon and you are just holding your position, 2) this
is a much better and more fun workout than a smelly gym, 3) sometimes
it is so shallow that you can stand up, 4) there is no shame in
turning tail and running for the beach, waiting until the sets allow
you to get out and look for the rip.
RIP TIDES:...Rip tides or rip currents are our
friend. A surfer or bodyboarder with a "floatation device attached"
can use the outward flowing currents of a rip to help them get out
past where the waves are breaking. Then we ride the wave to the
rip and catch a ride back out again. The surfer's "lift ticket,"
rips form when waves break over a sandbar or reef filling up the
trough or deeper valley in between the beach and the sand bar. This
causes an excess build up of water inside that must get out. The
water "seeks" a deeper spot in the sand bar or a break
in the incoming waves and pushes out like the exhaust from a high
performance engine. The rip at Pipeline is serious business, and
it can be deadly anywhere. If a swimmer gets caught in a rip, and
it is real strong because lots of water is being forced out over
a shallow sand bar and constricted by breaking waves on either side,
you cannot swim against it. just relax, face the ocean calmly and
tread water gently. When you see a breaking wave coming over on
your head, dive under it going further out to sea, or try to ride
it back to the shallow section of the sand bar. Often a rip that
forms in a slightly deeper section of the sandbar on either side
of a peak where waves are breaking will catch the wader off guard.
Where it was once shallow enough to walk with waves pushing you
toward shore suddenly becomes too deep to walk and a rip current
carrying you out to sea. Some rips move down the beach with the
longshore current that is formed from a side-shore wind or a local
tide change. These moving rips often sweep down the beach with sets
on either side, and can form underneath you in response to breaking
waves that happened blocks away and minutes ago. The water moves
down the trough to find the path of least resistance and return
the water to the sea. If you are a swimmer, relax and look for a
surfer. They can save you, because this is where we play.
MORE:... Subtle details. For serious waves, learn
to turn your board on edge and "scoop" the board deeper,
more quickly. Open your eyes under water and look for the "boils"
coming down out of the whitewater overhead. Swim your board deeper
to avoid these turbulent boils. On some late duck dives you will
execute perfectly but when you pop out at the back of the wave it
tries to suck you back down. Use the "T-Bone" move quickly
releasing your board from underneath your body and let it pop out
and lay flat on top of the water perpendicular to your body holding
it across the top like when you carry it on the beach. This will
make it harder for the sucking wave to pull you down and at the
right moment you pull it back to paddling position and bolt for
WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS: ... Bail out, tossing your
board sideways along the tube section and dive, dive dive, bend
your knees to take up the slack of your leash and when you feel
it tug, immediately straighten your leg and then pull in again.
This often has the effect of changing the angle of your board to
present an edge on profile to the force of the breaking wave allowing
you board to pull free gently. If it is still pulling real hard,
swim toward your board to give it slack. You don't want the leash
to tear a big hole in your board and leave you stranded. Always
Follow Common Sense Rules.