Duck diving in bodyboarding: learn how to sink the board to get under breaking waves | Photo: Jarvis Gray/Shutterstock

Duck diving is one of the most basic techniques in bodyboarding. You need to master the art of sinking the board and getting through the waves.

You can't catch a wave if you're not in the lineup. Quite often, anywhere in the world, the interval between waves - swell period - doesn't allow you to paddle out the back without being confronted by an oncoming roller.

A few times, the wave breaks before you reach it; in other cases, you'll face an unbroken wall of water.

What should you do, especially when you're holding a bodyboard and wearing swim fins?

The easiest and rarest situation is when you're able to go over the top of the whitewater.

In this case, and when you're about to be hit by the wave, you just need to lift the nose of the board slightly and let it flow underneath you.

Never stop paddling and gaining forward momentum. Otherwise, the wave's energy will drag you back towards the shore.

Duck dives are particularly relevant on beach breaks, where you really have to cross the "enemy" line formed by the powerful white water force.

In reef breaks and point breaks, you can often find channels and currents that drive you out the back without having to duck dive waves.

Duck Diving 101

So, how do you perform an efficient duck dive on a bodyboard?

  1. Paddle towards the wave at speed;
  2. Slide your weight forward at a two-meter (6.5 feet) distance from the wave;
  3. Move your hands 30 centimeters (one foot) down from the nose;
  4. Hold the rails tight;
  5. Push the nose of the board underwater;
  6. Put one knee on the tail and push the board underwater as deep as possible;
  7. Paddle underwater as fast as you can;
  8. Let the wave break overhead;
  9. Lay flat against the bodyboard;
  10. Look up and back to the surface;

Never stop kicking your swim fins. Remember that the wave might have passed by, but its energy is still moving towards the beach.

You'll get any waves you want when you master the art of avoiding the impact zone.

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