Short Board Duck Diving by Ed Picket ((C)) 2003......... Contact Us

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 best teacher.

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 the outside.

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.