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What Size Surfboard Can You Duck Dive?

Duck diving is a technique to dive underwater when a wave is passing by you. It saves you from losing your momentum and energy from a broken wave and is an essential skill for any surfer. However, most surfers stay confused about the size of the board that they can duck dive on.

You can duck dive on a board that is between the size of 2 feet and 7.6 feet. The board shouldn’t be too large with a lot of volumes. Too much volume would be impossible to push underwater for some people. Small boards with less volume are ideal for duck diving.

There are a lot of factors that make a surfboard ideal for duck diving. A proficient surfer should know the techniques to duck dive and all the tips and tricks as well. So, let’s learn everything about duck diving and the sizes of the board for duck diving!

Surfer duck diving a wave

Size of the Board

Board TypeSize of Board for Duck Diving
Foam Board5-7 Feet
Shortboard5.6-6.6 Feet
Hybrid Board6-7 Feet
Fish Board5 Feet
LongboardsOnly turtle rolling technique possible for every longboard size

Duck diving helps a surfer to pass through breaking waves. Diving underwater using a surfboard is challenging if the size is big and the volume of the board is too much. The size of the board that you can efficiently duck dive depends upon:

  • Your weight
  • Your strength
  • Your technique

Duck diving requires a lot of technique but if the size of the board is incorrect, even efficient techniques can’t help. Surfboards with immense volume can sometimes be impossible to dive underwater. They are designed to float fully on the water therefore pushing them underwater can be hard.

The ideal size of a surfboard differs for people but a surfboard more than 2 feet and less than 7.6 feet can be used for a duck dive. However, the smaller the surfboard, the easier it will be to duck dive.

If you are a bulky person with a lot of experience strength, you can duck dive a large surfboard around 7 feet as well.

There are different types of surfboards in a variety of sizes. You can’t duck dive with all these surfboards. So, let’s see if you can duck dive with some famous types of boards or not!

Duck Diving a Longboard

A longboard is too heavy and large to duck dive. Pushing such a board underwater would be impossible for a normal person unless you are built like a tall bodybuilder. Therefore, it is better to stick with a small board.

Longboards not only have a lot of volumes but they are also super long. So, only a tall enough person with a lot of strength can try to duck dive with a longboard.

Different techniques such as the turtle roll and clubby method are used to duck dive a longboard. You can learn to turtle roll a longboard in this video.

Duck Diving a Foam Board

You can duck dive on a foam board that’s between the size of 5 feet and 7 feet. If the size is more, it can be quite hard to duck dive it.

The purpose of a foam board is to provide more balance to beginner surfers. It enables them to go through the ways easily as buoyancy prevents them from sinking underwater.

If a beginner learns to duck dive on a foam board, it will be easier for them to switch to other boards. In the beginning, duck diving on a foam board will seem hard but the right technique and a lot of practice will get you there.

Duck Diving a Fish Surfboard

Duck diving on a fish surfboard is possible for anyone who has passed the beginner stage. To duck dive a fish board, the best technique is to push on the sideways of the fish using all the strength of your hands and upper body.

How to Duck Dive: Step-by-Step Guide

Learning how to duck dive is important if you want to be a competent surfer. If you take care of some essential tips and tricks while duck diving and practice a lot, you will be able to do it. Duck diving helps you to catch more and more waves. It is a skill that every surfer must learn to keep themselves safe. So, let’s learn how to duck dive!

Step #1: Go Towards the Wave

The first step is to paddle towards an upcoming wave. You have to be as fast as possible in this stage.

Step #2: Hand Placement

You have to place your hands on the rails of your surfboard when the wave is 1.5-3 meters away from you. Raise your elbows in the air while holding the rails. Keep your arms as extended as possible. This will allow you to put your whole arm strength on the board.

Step #3: Pushing the Surfboard Underwater

Dip your body (including your head and shoulder) downward underwater. Lie on the surfboard in a prone cobra pose to push the nose of the board underwater.

Step #4: Leg Placement

Push the back of the surfboard using your knee or foot. Keep your leg forward and keep pushing your body until the wave has passed.

Step #5: Rise Back

When you feel that the wave has gone, relax your body and you will come back to the surface automatically. Wait for the next suitable wave to duck dive again.

How to Duck Dive Under Different Ways?

Two types of ways are common for duck diving. These are:

  • White Water (broken waves)
  • Green Water (unbroken waves)

You have to learn some techniques to successfully duck dive in both these ways. So, let’s get started!

Duck Diving in White Water

The technique to duck dive remains the same but there are some tips you should follow when you duck dive in white water. The tips are:

  • Paddle towards the white water vigorously with maximum forward momentum.
  • Go as deep in the water as possible so that you are safe from the energy of white water.
  • If the broken wave is gnarly and challenging, use your foot to push the tail of the surfboard. Using your knee in this wave can cause difficulties while duck diving.
  • Your attack on the white water should be perpendicular to its direction of travel. Otherwise, it will drag you off tumbling.
  • Don’t be hesitant to use “attack mode” in white water and use a lot of speed.
  • Keep your arms straight when you dive underwater. This will help to put more strength and dive underwater efficiently.

Duck Diving in Green Water

Duck diving in green water (unbroken waves) is easier than in white water. Unbroken waves have less energy so attack mode isn’t required for them. Use the tips below to duck dive in green water:

  • Use your knee to push the tail of the surfboard. Knee strength would be better to tackle the circular motion of green water.
  • Go under the green water and don’t go through them. The timing of your duck dive matters a lot here.
  • Don’t rush to the surface immediately. Make sure that the wave has gone past you.

Additional Tips for Duck Diving

Make sure that you avoid the mistakes that people are most likely to make while duck diving. Some tips for a perfect duck dive are:

  • Don’t rush to duck dive. Timing is everything and if you duck dive too early, you might come back to the surface before the wave has gone over you.
  • Duck diving too late will tumble you around and smash you.
  • Use an appropriate size of the board. A board too large is not ideal for duck diving unless you have the appropriate strength for it. Use the turtle rolling technique if you lack the strength.
  • Your paddling speed should be high to create enough forward momentum.
  • Open your eyes before resurfacing to make sure the wave has passed by.
  • For a quick resurface, the frog kick technique using your legs is recommended.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Biggest Size of Board You Can Duck Dive?

The biggest size of board you can duck dive practically is 3.5-4 lbs/L. People that are built heavily with a lot of strength might be able to duck dive on a board larger than the size mentioned.

Is it Possible to Duck Dive a 6’6 Shortboard?

Duck diving on a 6’6 shortboard is possible. It will be easy to duck dive on this board with proper techniques. The best way is to keep the board flat underwater and stay at least 10 cm deep in the water.

Can You Duck Dive Under a Big Wave?

Duck diving under a big wave is challenging especially if the wave is broken. Stay perpendicular to such a wave and keep yourself as deep underwater as possible. Keep your arms in front to prevent any damage to your neck by the energy of the waves. Use your feet to push the back of the board and keep them wide apart.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know what size of board you can duck dive, you can choose the correct size for yourself. Duck diving is an essential skill and requires a lot of practice to be competent at it. You should practice at home before you go in actual waves.

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